Disconsolate

It’s 8:00 AM, and i’ve already had my optimism toward the world crumpled into a ball and thrown out the window of a high-speed train for the day.

I’ve already scrolled upon multiple problematic, and frankly, triggering posts and memes that devalue women, gays, and pretty much any other marginalized group you could possibly think of.

One of the most maddening memes of the morning was a pro-bulimia post that was shared by an individual whom I once thought was at least not contributing to the oppression of women. The post was a picture of a woman leaning over a toilet, and the caption said something to the effect of “Call your woman fat because you enjoy the gagging noises.” I wish I could find the original meme, but as of 15 minutes ago, I am no longer friends with this individual on Facebook, which restricts my access to his timeline.

Typically, I do my very best to be a saintly member of society, especially on the internet, but I took this particular post a little personally, as eating disorders just so happen to be one of the battles I have to face, so my impulsivity got the best of me.

“This is pretty offensive.” I commented on the photo.

Now, I know that the individual that posted this admires me visually, so he is typically pretty nice to me. Give or take five minutes after I commented, he sent me a personal message, apologizing for offending me. I explained to him that the content of his posts were harmful and actually pretty triggering to some individuals. His response was that not only does he understand that when he posts it, but that he knows that it will offend people, and that he will continue to do so.

I hit the “unfriend” button faster than you could say “misogynistic jerk.”

I am not sensitive. I completely understand the whole concept of “nobody can offend you without your consent.” I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart. But guys, if you KNOW that you’re hurting people, why would you deliberately continue to do so? I was under the impression that a lot of the marginalization and sexism in our society is ingrained and therefore, somewhat subconscious, but perhaps I was being a little too optimistic.

Am I naive and over-sensitive for being so disheartened by this? That somebody would intentionally be trying to hurt somebody else? Maybe.

A Perhaps Too Sensitive M.

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Intrepid

I felt a little less solitary in my stout feminist endeavors this past Sabbath.

There I was, sitting in Relief Society, listening intently to our lesson on Marriage and Delighting In Homemaking, which, as you can probably infer, is a topic that tosses me into a tornado of fury.

The lesson was going about as i’d expect it to, and I did my best to focus on my breathing so as to not loose my tongue. My attentiveness decreased as the lesson carried on, until one sister raised her hand.

“I’m a feminist, in the best way, I promise,” a shaky voice proclaimed, as my eyes searched anxiously for the source. *cue giggles of discomfort from surrounding sisters.*

“…and I really struggle with the topic of homemaking and motherhood,” she admitted.

Tada! My faith in my own generation had gained some much-needed restoration.

She continued on to tell us how she’d finally made peace with her beliefs in Feminism and her religion’s traditional family values, which, after much contemplation, I’ve decided to discard, although I am thrilled for her for having found a way to settle her internal conflicting beliefs, something that i’ve spent the better part of my post-high school years attempting to do, but to no avail.

But i’m no quitter.

Anyway, I truly admire this sister for her courage in not only proclaiming her feminism in front of a conservative group of Relief Society sisters, but also for admitting that she struggles with the topic we had been discussing. What bravery it must have taken her to make such a strong statement, regardless of the fact that the majority probably wouldn’t agree with her.

I’ve yet to muster up the courage to express my beliefs so strongly in a face-to-face situation. For the time being, I will hide behind my keyboard and express my beliefs via the written word. But hey, I’m working on it.

Thank you, publicly proclaimed feminist in my ward, for being brave enough to speak up. You’ve inspired me to not give up hope, and to speak up. Maybe my comments will inspire somebody else someday. That’s how change happens, slowly but steadily.

M.

Innominate

Due to a series of unfortunate events and frustrating assumptions being made about me, I’ve decided to become faceless here. I feel that right now, removing my identity will keep my blog a safe place for me to therapeutically express my feelings without backlash that will inevitably affect my personal life. Cowardly, maybe, but thou hast no right to judgeth me.

For my own sake, I am now going to put an assumption or two to rest. I used to share new posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, which granted access to both friends and foes, simultaneously labeled as “followers” on the Internet.

One individual, whom I can only assume was a dedicated reader of mine, concluded rather falsely that I am “struggling,” (in my faith, perhaps?) and felt the need to share this conclusion with a mutual peer. Because people talk, this got back to me and honestly, it angers me deeply that someone whom I haven’t spoken with in over a calendar year would have the audacity to assume that I am “struggling,” and then proceed to share his/her false conclusion with others.

Like I said, for my own sake, I am going to clear the air here. I am not struggling. If anything, I feel that I am becoming my most authentic self. I feel that I am approaching a place in my life where I am beginning to make peace with all of my contradictions and inner conflicts. If anything, I am flourishing! I am happy, truly happy, for quite possibly the first time in my life. I am accepting the pieces of me that make me different than most others, and embracing them. I am building a mature belief system by consciously deciding what I do and do not believe, what I am and what I am not, and am maintaining my integrity by not allowing anything or anyone to change me. I am in a good place. A strong place.

So, if you’re new to DownWithTheNorm, and have the time and/or interest, you can read my personal introduction here.

I’d also be delighted to receive an introduction from you! If anything, the purpose of this site is for me to be understood, and to understand differing viewpoints and learn from the diversity of humans.

If you’re a returning reader, it’s still me, and I am so grateful to all who take the time to read.

M.