Sunday, April 28, 2013


I feel bad. It's been 10 days since my last update. I feel like everything has been going so fast, uncontrollably fast. Things will slow down soon. I predict in...3 days. After Wednesday, I'll be able to appreciate life again. I turned my senior paper in last Thursday (25 pages of glorious feminist critique), and am currently pounding away at the keyboard to get my last term paper done. The weather is beautiful and I'm itching to get outside. No, literally itching. My pops got a new cat that likes to rub his dander all over me, causing my entire body to itch and my eyes to swell up. Ugh. I will have updates soon, but in the meantime, here are some recent photos of my life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

inner outer

Well, I took these photos yesterday afternoon before class, dressed completely wrong for the weather and trying to combat the wind while wearing a short skirt. (And while having long hair -what a nuisance!) There haven't been many mild weather days lately, so I thought I should grab my chance while there was one, and wear a skirt. When I say mild, I actually mean about 34°F but hey, you take what you can get. Today it started off raining, then quickly turned to hale, and now we have a few inches of snow on the ground. The hale was the worst, though. I was walking across campus and having these sharp little pieces of ice cutting my cheeks up. It stung so badly. Spring! You evil, evil creature, you...
So anyways, yesterday. I had forgotten about this skirt I found in the kid's section of Zara, so I decided to whip it out again. The Star Wars tee seemed like a must and the rest sort of fell into place after that. I was warm and cozy on top, at the very least. When I got to campus, my geology lab had this awful activity where we had to stomp around campus examining the outside of buildings. It was horrid and I felt like a little college kid icicle by the time we finished. An icicle clad in fuzzy sweater and saddle shoes, that is.
I found this tee shirt last summer in the $5 rack of the little boy's section at Target. It was a few days before I was going to Guatemala so I was on the hunt for cheap clothes that I could bang up. I had just (stupidly) rid my closet of cheap tees, so I decided to go for it. It's sooo cool though, huh? Every time I wear it, I want to have a Star Wars marathon. I have not seen those movies since early high school. Shhhhhhh.
In fact, the leopard print sweater, yummy turquoise socks, and stockings are also from Target. I am just reppin' Target with this outfit, obviously.
Sorry for all the repetitive photos. I took a gazillion because I was absolutely convinced that none of them were coming out thanks to the awful weather and perpetual scowl on my face. As it turns out, every single one of them turned out fine (or as fine as my face can get - ha!). I was also trying out a new hair style since my hair has been real flat lately. I switched up the part and went to bed, and when I woke up it looked like this rat's nest you see here. I'm also attempting to grow out the bangs so, yeah, that's another thing I now have to contend with.
Anyways, since I'm super egotistical this entire post had ended up being about me. Oh, and the weather, I guess. Which is ridiculous, and pretty boring. I feel like the American news has been so devastating lately, I just need to be not serious about things for a bit. Not to mention the horrid weather and impending finals. I got into some stupid debate (on Facebook, dammit!) about why Obama shouldn't have to prove he's American-born and why the entire outrage over his birthplace is clearly linked to his race, and now I'm in a rotten mood over it. Politics doesn't usually put me in a bad place, but I hate when opponents of Obama say that his race has nothing to do with why they think he's uneducated and unfit to run this country. Pleeeaaase. A post-racial America is an ignorant America. Okay, now I'm soapboxing and scaring everyone away. Let's just keep talking about me.
So, for some reason I finally got around to making the blog as Twitter account. Follow here! I have no idea how Twitter works, or what the purpose of it even is, but I was long overdue on jumping on the bandwagon. We'll see how this goes!
Okay, well I'm off to be a student and do student-y stuff. Keep warm and keep hoping for springtime, friends! xx

Monday, April 15, 2013

something untitled

Today I put in my two weeks notice at my job. I've been at the same place for more than three years, working the same department with the same people for more than two and a half. It's such a bittersweet thing. I feel like I've gone through a lot in the past few years, and my workplace (and coworkers) have helped me grow up. I have my little work family, and it makes me so sad to think about leaving them. It'll be weird not going in there anymore, putting on my name tag, punching in, and walking into work with all the same people, all the same faces.
I don't have another job set up, or anything in mind, even. It seems silly, but it's time to cut that umbilical cord. My job is so convenient, I'm so comfortable there. It's easy and safe, I know everything and I know everyone. I spent a lot of time in church during lent reflecting on my life and why I'm so unhappy lately. It's because I feel stuck, but I'm too afraid to make any changes. I mostly just sit around wishing that my workplace would blow up and I would be offered some amazing new job. Psh. So, instead, I'm going to take a leap and do what feels scary and wrong. I only have one more semester of school left and so I need to take chances and do what inspires me most (whatever that ends up being). So as of May 10th, my final day at work, I will be going forth and trying something new, meeting new people, learning new things. I'm half excited, half scared out of my mind.
I don't remember the last time I took a major chance - probably when I first started at my job. More than three years ago when I signed on for that new job, I remember being scared out of my mind. I was in a really bad place, with a really bad person, and I didn't know anything about the world. My job introduced me to a new self and helped me get outside this creepy little bubble I'd been stuck in for years. It's difficult for me to not think about the little girl who went in there, and to reflect on who I am now - and to feel proud. And in part, in debt to everyone who works there. I'm trying to remember that and not be scared about what comes next. Because if being introduced to "the real world" changed me so much from age 16 to 19, I can only imagine what my next opportunity will teach me. And that's pretty exciting. I'm just trying to keep my head up about it and remember that I have Paris ahead of me, I have a summer class ahead of me, I have a terrific boyfriend, I have a weirdo cat and great parents - and everything will be alright no matter if I have my old job (and work family) or not.
More than anything, I want to move out from my parents' house and be more independent. I want to intern at a "battered women's shelter" (I really hate that term) and start doing what inspires and empowers me, instead of having lofty dreams about it. My job has distracted me from actually applying myself to what I want to do. It's time for no more of that. I've dreamt of making a change for too long, and now it's time to start making changes. Hopefully not only in my own life, but in the lives of others.
I started my communications major not really sure what I wanted to do. Fashion public relations, I thought. Then fashion seemed too impractical in Minnesota, so I decided just simply public relations. But I wanted to do public relations for something that mattered. I want to help women like me and who have been in experiences similar to mine. I want to educate the public about rape, sex, and consent. I want to talk with politicians about funding for shelters, better public awareness, and better sex ed in our schools. I feel like this is really what I was called to do, and it's time to start doing it before I get sucked into something corporate like I've been doing for three years.
I was reading an article (at work) the other day about how to create fulfilling work experiences for employees. One of the recommendations was to give value to their work - not monetary value, but value as if what you're doing has an impact bigger than yourself. My job has started to have little positive impact on myself, and I'm still not convinced that it's ever had much positive impact on the public aside from making the day of a family or two here and there. It's difficult to do unfulfilling work for three plus years. It's no wonder I'm snarky and self destructive these days.
So now, I go forth keeping my head high and a smile on my face. I'm hopeful and I'm starting to have one of those "the world is my oyster" moments once again. It feels weird...I haven't felt like that in a long long time.

Friday, April 12, 2013

winter rain

So, remember not all that long ago when I was crying my little eyes out over not having any snow? Yeah? Okay, well, it can go now. Just a few days ago, I was walking down the street, thinking to myself how lovely it was to have the sidewalks clean of ice and snow, and only a few snow banks here and there. And now, snow everywhere. It's been snowing for a few days now and doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. Rats!
But, since I had a couple hours free today, I decided to go outside for some photos. This is actually the outfit that I wore for Easter (when it was warm and sunny out), but I liked it well enough to make a point of blogging it. It's been eons since a good old outfit post, hasn't it been?
I didn't know what to wear for Easter because I have worn every dress and skirt I own to church at least three or four times each. Admittedly, I wore this skirt for Easter a couple of years ago but oh well - who would even remember that? It's not like God smote me upon entering church in an already-Easter-worn skirt. I bought this a few years ago at Go Vintage as a sale piece, intending to hem it. Then I got lazy and decided that a midi skirt wasn't so bad after all. Even though I am only 5 foot tall.
Since I'm not much for pretty flowers and shit, I decided to wear this tee shirt courtesy of GUESS. I thought the grunge-y skull would juxtapose nicely, plus the shirt is super soft and silky, so it hangs beautifully. When my boyfriend and I walked in, my mum looked at him and said, "Oh my! Don't you look nice!" and then she looked at me and didn't say anything. When I provoked her into commenting, all she could say was, "Well you're going to church wearing a skull on your tee shirt." I don't think God is afraid of a few skulls and bones, mum, but whatever. I didn't change.
Why have skulls gotten such bad rap anyways? We're all made of bones and we're all gonna die and be nothing but bones. It's nature. Wearing a shirt with a skull on it is barely different than wearing a shirt with a tree on it. Plus, the skull on my tee shirt is composed of little flowers and leaves, so it is especially beautiful. I think it says something nice about the circle of life. (I doubt that GUESS expected little girls to be reading so much into their shirts.)
And here's a nice shot of me testing the focus, holding my camera bag moodily.
I'm sorry about the recent delay in blogging. School has been non stop hectic, but I think I'm finally catching a bit of a break. I have most of my senior paper written, and I chose the topic of my other major term paper. Everything is starting to slow down and I've actually been able to stop and breathe for a bit. I called out of work today because I wasn't quite feeling myself. Time to snuggle down and watch Cary Grant movies!
Thanks to all who've stuck with me the past few months. I appreciate the kind words which I have received...2013 has been rough on me so far, especially with losing Moses, and it's been tough to keep moving, much less write a blog. I think that summer (and studying in Paris for a month) will rejuvenate me some, and I'll be back to blogging consistently. But for now, I just wanted to say thank you - to everyone.
Also, stop by the blog's Facebook page to see an outtake from today's shoot. xx

Monday, April 8, 2013

some things

Things have been too busy lately. Everything is cold, chaotic, empty. Mid-semester slump is in full swing and I find myself living too much in the future or too much in the past. I'll be back soon, but in the meantime, here are some things from my life lately.

Monday, April 1, 2013

In response to media & rape culture

Thank you to everyone who replied respectfully and thoughtfully to the last post, "Let's have a chat about rape culture and our media". I was nervous when posting that because, well, not only is it a touchy subject and I generally find my views to be quite extreme, but I was also very concerned that I would have a slew of anonymous comments bashing me and celebrating rape culture. None of this happened and I was extremely appreciative of everyone's supportive comments, as well as those who maybe questioned how I approach things. I'm always trying to be more aware of how I address certain issues (I'm really brash about 98% of the time, which I'm trying to work on), so I appreciate comments that provoked me to think again about how I take up certain issues.

I wanted to take some time to address some of the questions asked and maybe expand into the topic a bit more. And yes, I will be posting my final essay about Twin Peaks after I've received my grade back.

First, I try to be more and more careful about how I address gender in regards to rape or rape culture. Victims are not all female, and rapists are not all male. To suggest anything else would be ignorant.

Meli brought up the interesting point which I've seen circulating about the tactic that is commonly used (I used it) about addressing victims in relation to someone else (e.g. it could be your mother, your sister, your brother, etc.). A new wave is pointing out how counterintuitive this is. While the feminist movement promotes women as being independent and more than a wife or daughter, when addressing the issue of rape, relational connections are mentioned more than not. Generally this tactic is used in hopes of empathy. But when you really think about it, that's silly. No one should have to be relational. They're human and that makes them equal to everyone else, regardless of whose son, daughter, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc. they are.

Lexi also brought up a good point about the photo I shared in the original post. I was a bit nervous about using that photo because it is quite direct and says something huge - "Don't tell your daughter not to go out, tell your son to behave properly". This sign was in protest of the recent gang rape (and death) of a young university student in India and the law enforcement who said that it was the victim's fault. A dominant ideology of rape culture is that if a woman (or man, though rape culture scarcely recognizes that) is raped, it is their fault. This sign was clearly in response to this victim blaming that is so prevalent in rape culture (that a man rapes, a girl is raped, and it's her own fault). If anything, I'd believe that these girls are protesting the utter stupidity of how rape is viewed in our global culture. The above signs also protest how awful rape culture is. (For more photos of the protest, try checking out The Guardian or Oregon Live)

If we want to have an honest discussion of rape (not rape culture), we have to understand that not only women get raped, not only men do the raping, and no fault lies with the victim. It is absolutely true that we live in a society that (predominantly) teaches women not to get raped. If I am told one more time to take a women's self defense class, I will lose it. Teaching respect and fighting against rape is not a gender issue. Men and women should be taught the same thing and this inequality is the root of gender oppression and, thus, of rape and assault. Currently, men are taught differently from women, and women differently from men. And a lot of this 'teaching' lies within our media.

I also appreciated the photo that Lexi sent a link to. I've seen this, or something similar to this, circulated throughout my Facebook. Obviously quite thought provoking and, I think, one of the many ideologies of rape culture, though maybe one that many people are blind to. As a girl, I've never looked at it that way, but all men (who are not rape celebrationists) should absolutely be offended by that ideology. I think that largely goes hand in hand with the speech by Andrea Dworkin which I shared an excerpt from, I want a 24-hour truce in which there is no rape. Protesting rape is not a gender issue (as we've seen in India), teaching against rape is not a gender issue. Rape largely exists because of gender oppression, but that doesn't mean that protesting or teaching should be left to the oppressed gender(s).

Abby asked if I still liked pin up girls. Yes. As a general rule, there is nothing wrong with expressing your sexuality. Women are sexual beings. Men are sexual beings. Sex is part of nature and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, sexuality is quite beautiful. However, the damaging part of women in media being presented as sexual is that this is the only representation. Men are presented as multi-dimensional and their sexuality is scarcely an issue, as long as their getting some. However, with women, even when presented in power positions, nothing else really matters as long as they're sexual. And it's made even more confusing for women because they're supposed to be very sexual, but also very virginal. That paradigm really does not exist for men as it does for women. But, I still love pin ups, and I've done pin up modeling before. It's fun and it's freeing, so I like that. My 2013 planner is all Gil Elvgren pin ups. I like them because they're pretty ridiculous half the time, but they're also these really beautiful women who don't fit into beauty standards of today (necessarily). However, I wish that these pin ups existed along with media representations of women as powerful, strong, in control, and not primarily sexual.

Abby also asked me about my response to Fifty Shades of Grey, BDSM, and porn. I honestly have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and I know little about it, except that it does contain BDSM. As far as my opinions of BDSM go, kink is okay. There's nothing wrong with being aroused by kink or wishing to participate in it. I personally wouldn't because of a prior history of abuse, but if both partners are willing and comfortable, what someone does in the privacy of their own bedroom is not my business. I think that mainstreaming BDSM in media can be extremely damaging. Moving beyond just pornography, BDSM is apparent in music videos, television shows, movies, etc. and this presents a norm of what is erotic, and that can be dangerous. Trying to present something as a 'norm' can be dangerous in general, but especially when it comes to sex. BDSM presents sex as violent and most media representations don't talk about, or even imply, consent. When consent is absent in the context of sex, that's when things become dangerous.

As far as pornography goes, I'm extremely wary of it. I'm wary of porn becoming mainstream - of pornification - and I'm wary of porn becoming more and more violent. Whenever sexuality is present as violent (or violence as sexy), I am concerned because that has huge implications.

I know that there was some hostility towards my comment about media reflecting reality. It is simply my opinion, and the opinion of many scholars, but I absolutely do believe that we accept our media as a reflection of reality, or a reality that we should strive to achieve. I know I posted a trailer for Dreamworlds 3, all about music videos and how we reflect those back into ourselves and our actions. If you didn't watch it, I absolutely advise you to check it out. It is shocking, and I should let you know that it could be a trigger.

I also wanted to share this quote by Jean Kilbourne about media and violence in her piece Can't buy my love: How advertising changes the way we think and feel: "Adverts don't directly cause violence ... but the violent images contribute to the state of terror. Turning a human being into a thing, an object, is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person...This step is already taken with women. The violence, the abuse, is partly the chilling but logical result of the objectification."

(p.s. watching her most recent movie, Killing Us Softly 4, can provide loads of enlightenment on media and its effects - I've seen it a few times I am still blown away.)

Our media does well to objectify women and present them as sexual objects, first and foremost. Or, even, in touching on the topic that Keit brought up, countries which ban pornography but still have a high rate of violence, there may be something in their media which contributes to this even without being explicit. It could also have to do with religion or other ideologies which are well rooted in their culture. I will not make the claim that media is the only contributor to violence or gender oppression - it's not. However, do you remember when women were completely edited out of Ikea catalogues in Saudi Arabia? Even simply making women (or any other 'minority' group) absent from media representations is damaging.

I'm not here to promote censorship. That is absolutely bad. But we have a media oligopoly of 6 companies (Comcast, NewsCorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, & CBS) in charge of 90% of our media. Can't that be seen as censorship? The ideologies of those 6 companies is 90% of what we consume. I'm not saying that they are responsible for rape, but the media that these companies put forth are absolutely responsible for the culture of rape which we live in, and that culture fosters rape or ideas of rape in each and every individual.

I hope that I got to every question in one way or another. Again, I am so thankful for the outpouring of love, support, encouragement, and even questioning which I received. I'm sure that this will come up in the blog time and time again, and I hope that I can become more educated and less brash with every post. I'm not here to dictate to you or act like I'm on my high horse. I'm just extremely concerned and want to facilitate safe conversation about such an important topic. I'm still learning and I hope that everyone helps me to learn. We learn from each other as much as from our media, right?