Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Poll

My modesty post garnered more discussion (and angry anonymous comments, and head-scratching Google search suggestions) than I'd anticipated. I set up this poll purely out of curiosity as a result of some of that discussion.

This is an outfit:

You couldn't wear either component of this outfit with garments - the top is a boatneck, and the shorts are several inches above the knee. I'm interested to see the general consensus on whether or not this outfit is appropriate for a 16 year old LDS teen to wear. 

I reference For the Strength of Youth ('FTSOY') in most of the choices, so for your convenience, here's what the 2012 pamphlet says on dress standards:

"Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance. Young men and young women should be neat and clean and avoid being extreme or inappropriately casual in clothing, hairstyle, and behavior."

So without further ado, The Poll:

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Back when Jon was in Dallas for a review course and I was unemployed, I spent a shload of time playing around in Photoshop trying to simultaneously battle boredom and improve a marketable skill. Now all these neglected printables -inspirational quotes, nursery art, capybara art, etc- are just sitting in a folder on my harddrive, weeping. You may have them.

These link to Mediafire where you can download the high resolution JPEG file. I've indicated the size for each of them. I can imagine I'll be adding more so check back every once in a while, if you're into this sort of thing. 

I'm sure it goes without saying that these are for personal use only. 

Download (10x8)

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Download (5x7)

Download (5x7)

Download (8x10)

Download (8x10)

Download (8x10)

Download (5x7)

Download (8x10)

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Download (8x8)

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This one looks cute with the addition of a name. Just ask.

Download (8x10)
(Attn: before you print that one off for your entire Young Women's class, read it very carefully...)

Download (8x10)

Download (5x7)

Download (8x10)

Download (5x7)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"How's Hedwig?": A Family Story Told in a Single Run-on Sentence

My grandma, Sweetie, loaned her entire Harry Potter series to a family in her neighborhood, and one of the sons in the family looks exactly like Harry Potter, and a few weeks later he showed up on her doorstep (glasses and all) holding a heavy-laden paper shopping bag, and Sweetie assumed he was returning the books so she clapped her hands and delightedly exclaimed, “Ohhh, Harry Potter! Thank you so much!”, as in, "Ohhh, my Harry Potter books are back!", and he left confused, and after she closed the door behind him she realized that the bag was full of baked goods, not books, and that he must have thought she was mockingly calling him Harry Potter since he looks exactly like him :(

Friday, May 04, 2012


I have strong feelings on the subject of Mormons’ misguided love affair with the concept of “modesty” but I thought I’d just keep them to myself. I did a good job of it, too, until something was said in Relief Society that nearly set me seizing with silent rage. The discussion was about how and why to protect our children from the evils of the world, and one woman, a high school teacher, asserted that when her female students aren't dressed "modestly"  (ugh, that WORD) it “always reflects the fact that her parents are vulgar and promiscuous.” Her exact words.

I was seething. I should have spoken up, but I was honestly so stunned by what had been said that I just sat there under a black cloud in angry rumination. This touches on almost every single thing that I take issue with in church culture. The harsh, ignorant judgment of people who don’t share our religious ideals. The assumption that others –non-members!- should somehow comply to our standards (and if they don't they aren't good people). The fact that the discussion then lingered on what women should wear in order to reduce the lust they incite in men. Wrong, wrong, wrong. (Did you know that in areas where women wear the burqa, men sexualize their eyes?) And the use of UGH, THAT WORD “modesty.” Look it up in a dictionary – it has a whole lot more meaning than the definition the LDS culture exclusively attaches to it.

I can’t voice my thoughts on this subject as intelligently or eloquently as others have (see here especially, and don’t miss the comments; I love the emphasis on the other meanings of modesty that are so quickly overlooked in our measuring of inseams), but I am better-than-average at making lists and I have feelings – SO MANY FEELINGS – on the topic of the cultural LDS view on bodies, skin, and clothing, so here goes.

I will begin any discussion even remotely referencing bodies with 1) WE ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. Our bodies are not pornography. They are not inherently shameful or evil; they reflect divinity and glorify God. That is what I will teach my children, and if anyone gets in the way of that message I will mow them down.

2) Endowed members of the Church are the only people who have covenanted with God in the holy temple to wear garment-concealing clothing. Everyone else – non-members and unendowed LDS adults, teens and especially children – have not willingly vowed to God to wear the holy garment, and therefore are not constrained by any law in heaven to wear clothing that covers their shoulders to their knees.

My friend in our old Tucson ward had a similar experience to the one Tracy M. describes in the blog post I linked to above: She had been baptized as a child but was never a part of the culture. Her second week back at church after 14 years’ inactivity, multiple women pulled her aside and told her she wasn’t dressed “modestly.” What she’d been wearing was a perfectly respectful and demure sundress – something that wouldn’t have been out of place in any other church. When Chelsea, mortified, confided this to me I told her it was none of their business what she wore and that they had no right to judge her clothing against their personal dress code which was made by covenant. She would have figured out the cultural norm eventually, ladies. There was no need to make her feel even more out of place.

I will certainly encourage my teens to wear age-appropriate clothing that isn’t overtly revealing. But 3) what’s appropriate for a teen to wear and what’s appropriate for an endowed member of the church to wear are miles distant.

4) CHILDREN CANNOT BE “IMMODEST,” period. I distinctly remember playing in an outgrown nightgown as an 8 or 9 year old and my dad admonishing me for being immodest when my underwear inadvertently showed. I’ll never forget the burning embarrassment and that sudden feeling that I had done something shameful, and I will not fetter my own children with those same adult projections.

My sister Corinne, a member of the Primary presidency in her ward, is sort of my hero for refusing to teach the “modesty” lesson. She wasn’t going to stand in front of a room full of children and tell them to cover their shoulders for any reason other than protecting their fair skin from the sun’s rays. I’m not advocating triangle bikinis on little girls (because it’s a mature look, not because it would make them ‘immodest’), but the far extreme – dressing a toddler in garment-appropriate clothing for fear of a man gazing too long at her shoulders – THAT is sexualizing a child, and it’s flat-out wrong.

5) More clothes does not equal less suggestive! Extra fabric does not necessarily make something less revealing! If you don’t believe me, go take a gander at the swimwear that BYU-I mandates for all pool-goers. For the women, threadbare, unsupportive one-pieces that gap wide open in the front if the wearer is doing anything other than standing still and erect. And for the men (oh gosh, I should have taken pictures) - translucent, clingy shorts that suction unrelentingly to penises upon exiting the water and leave absolutely nothing to the invagination-excuse me- imagination. My husband would literally have been showing less if he were wearing a Speedo; me, a sporty tankini. SKIN is not the enemy.

I’ve included side-by-side photographic evidence to further this point. This isn't a statement on whether or not these looks are right or wrong (well, except for the frumpy flesh-colored t-shirt with two inch nipples stabbing through), I'm just reiterating that how suggestive an article of clothing is isn't directly proportionate to the amount of fabric that went into making it.

Frankly, I don’t know the fix. Somehow our culture ran rampant with this idea that we can judge someone else’s works by the length of their sleeves and that a girl’s virtue is tied to her hemline; that the unendowed are obligated to follow the same dress standards others have willingly taken upon themselves by covenant in the holy temple, and that there’s something inappropriate about a child’s bare shoulders.

I unquestionably disagree.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Rundown

It’s been a whole month since I posted this year’s installment of baby names, and WHAT A MONTH. Within the first three weeks the pageviews surpassed last year’s post’s all-time total. This thing gets exponentially bigger each year so to everyone who shared through forums, your blog, someone else's blog, email, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, messages in bottles, carrier pigeons, Pony Express, and town crier, THANK YOU.

Here’s a summary of the overall social impact of the post:

Hits to date: 24,036

Facebook shares: 470
Facebook likes: 763
Facebook comments: 1,388
(too bad I can’t read any of them!!)

Twitter shares: Harder to track because they disappear eventually, but if memory serves it was in the 30s. Twitter has never been a big platform for this post. Interesting.

Total number of referring sites: 196
(A lot of these are email servers.)

Number of new subscribers in the past month (Google and Blogger combined): 102

Total number of comments on the original post: 404
Total number of comments I had to delete before my mom saw: 2 (not bad!)

I'm sorta thinking about turning comments off, btw. The page is running slow and a ton of them are repeats of urban legends. If I hear about another La-a or Orangejello, SO HELP ME I WILL SHUT THIS THING DOWN, MAYBE!!!!!!!!!!