Mixed Salad of Thoughts

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Provocative T-shirts

Interesting article on the T-shirts many of the young folk are wearing these days.
Here are a couple excerpts:

Call it rude, call it crude, call it the latest sign of civilization’s decline — there is no escaping message Ts.
Some are harmless. JCPenney sells T-shirts that say “Be happy” and “Looking for my prince.” Some are ironic: “You couldn’t afford my expensive taste” is the message on a $12.99 shirt at Charlotte Russe.

Then there are the baddies of the T-shirt world — the sexy girls smokin’ in the bathroom. “Stop staring, they don’t talk.” “Yes, but not with you.” “Are you a good boy?’’

In a society soaked with sexual imagery, such messages are being worn by girls barely old enough to drive, or in some cases, stay home without a sitter.

But when does playful cross the line to trashy? And how should educators deal with sexual messages in the classroom?

At International Plaza’s Abercrombie store, 16-year-old Rebekah Stellick of Clearwater purchased a shirt that read:

“I may not be perfect, but parts of me are pretty awesome.”

Ariel Levy , author of the book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, says provocative shirts are a symptom of a culture obsessed with sexual showmanship.

“Even if you have a dress code that says you can’t wear that to school, it doesn’t change the fact that the entire culture is set up in a way where that is appropriate,” Levy said. She said it trickles down to youngsters from women who confuse sexual explicitness with feminist liberation.

Personally I rarely wear anything that says something at all, if I do it is usually either humorous or advertising for something I believe in. I object to even the "Princess" and "Boy crazy" t-shirts I've seen young girls wearing today because I really feel that the labeling makes girls WANT to fit the words and become some stereotype more than they might already have become. ICK! Why are women creating an ever-heightening sexual atmosphere and hierarchy for OURSELVES? Why do we take over where men leave off and push it even further?


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Rich caught a photo of me dancing with Adeoye at Green Dolphin Wednesday. Sure you can't see my face, but I still think it's a great shot!

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Thursday, October 12, 2006


Hey look, some people agree with me:
I was well-prepared for a career as a journalist, but I was sadly ill-prepared for a career as a strong, solid woman, with all the gifts and capacities that that word once implied. The character traits I should have been cultivating were neglected in favor of ever-stronger intellectual skills, and as a result I've spent the past few years playing catch-up.

While there is value in higher education, it doesn't teach the most important life tools—how to be a nurturing, kind, patient individual. It doesn't teach you how to be a mensch when you're sleep deprived or running a fever. It doesn't teach you how to be loving or lovable. These days, my ambitions are to acquire and internalize these qualities, and to strengthen myself as a woman, internally—not vis-a-vis what I look like through the eyes of a man, or how "successful" I am by society's standards. And the more I cultivate these inner qualities, the deeper and richer my life and my relationships become.

In addition to my ambitions as journalist, I had spent years striving for the perfect body, the perfect clothes, the perfect apartment—in short, all the external trappings of what I thought would make me look and feel good about myself. Needless to say, none of it ever worked for long.
~Andrea Kahn
Kind of hits on what I was discussing a few posts ago about how society today is ill-prepared for creating meaningful marriages and families. Our core attributes are sadly malnourished and the values that are most prized in society--ambition, independence, and a keen fashion sense ;) do little to prepare you for life as a spouse and parent.

I also on the same website I read an article by someone who agrees with my long-held interpretation of "Grease":
As readers here probably know, the story of Grease is about a girl and boy who meet one romantic summer and believe that they have fallen in love. The girl arrives unexpectedly as a student in the boy's school in September, and they are both shocked. She is taken aback by his cold and crass behavior, and he by the realization that he would lose his friends and his macho identity if he dates her as he had that summer, showing her love and respect without approaching her sexually. The tension in the film grows out of the inevitable choices that must be made: either the boy will have to give up his entire social community or she must--to put it bluntly--have sex with him. We all know what happens.
Now I never read it so literally as "she had to have sex with him", but I did read it as--she had to abandon herself, and all of her ideals and moral ways (Sandy went from being "lousy with virginity" to a smoking, drinking, high heeled, leather clad dominatrix of sorts) in order to fit in with HIS society, and THEN she could choose her keeper and "tell" him what to do ("you'd better shape up...because I need a man").

I still cringe every time I flip past that movie on TV and wonder how so many women could love it so much.

Outside of the catchy tunes it's a blatant smack in the face of feminism. It disguises the objectification of women as sexual liberation. Sure, Sandy is free to do what she wants and be with who she wants, but she'll only really be happy if she abandons her moral ways to "become" exactly what a man wants.

It's the sexual freedom of choice women have waited so long for--so long as that choice isn't virginity.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Prayers for the Departed

My cousin Aaron died about a month ago, and my Great Uncle Stu died last night. I haven't had any other friends or family die since July 4th a year ago when my grandfather died. Having two people die in such close proximity to each other has had me saying prayers for death and healing a lot more frequently than usual, and really thinking more about the importance of friends, family, and community.

In Africa I was told by several Baha'is in remote villages that even though they believed in the Baha'i Faith they did not want to become Baha'is and leave their churches because there were not enough other Baha'is close by, and when they died there would be no one to sing at their funerals.

I'm not sure I ever really understood the reasoning behind that until lately.

I've heard so often that the friends and family that bring food after a funeral are really a godsend, because the family is too stricken, stressed, or depressed to think about cooking and eating. And I've recently heard how the Baha'i community opened their homes to allow my family to stay with them in the days before my cousin's funeral. I heard how the Baha'is helped with the funeral and one member sang a song during the services. Even from a distance these things are really touching for me. It fills me with a lot of wistful happiness to know that people who are strangers to me could show such love, hospitality and warmth towards those I love and have loved. It helps me believe that the world is a little less cold and distant than it often feels.

I understand now that to a person in an African village, who sees death far more often than I do, who sees the women dressed in white every week, singing funerary songs, the prospect of dying and having no community available to sing songs at one's funeral and help their family to cope with the loss could be a much bigger deterrent than I had ever imagined.

I won't be able to attend my Uncle Stu's funeral this Wednesday, nor will many of those who loved him... But perhaps I will sing anyways.

O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions!

Verily, I beseech thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.

O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.


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