Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm Back on the Sauce

Yes, indeed. I was able to break my addiction a couple of months ago, after I reached a low point of being unable to even go to dinner for a couple hours without having it on me.

But now I'm back. I broke down last night and used it. And spent a few blissful hours sleeping peacefully (no doubt aided by my large dose of nyquil).

Let's hope my addiction is short lived. Or Mike may find it and hide it again like last time.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Electrified My Bike!

For the past few months, I've felt guilt and disgust about the dismal gas milage my VW Passat gets. (16 mpg in the city - geez, I might as well be driving a truck!) I've twisted myself into knots trying to decide if I should get rid of my 2003 gas guzzler and buy a Prius instead. But I worried that that choice would just lead to more waste, more car production, more cars on the road. So a few weeks ago, Jana mentioned the possibility of installing an electric motor on my bike. Brilliant!

After a couple of painful hours helping Mike install a new wheel, rack, and throttle, my beach cruiser is now electrified. (Mike's the best!) It's fantastic. I can pedal when I want or just sit back and let the motor take me to a nice 25 miles per hour. It even has enough juice to get me up the vicious East Peltason hill. Now I'm just waiting for the bike trailer I ordered, so I can take baby along with me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Me: "Mike, will God send me to hell if I don't believe in polygamy?"


Me: "You're right, God will send me to hell for other reasons."

Mike: "Yeah, for being messy."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Patriarchy vs. hierarchy... and some deep questions

I've been thinking about patriarchy and hierarchy recently. I've come to the conclusion that I have a major problem with patriarchy and a minor problem with hierarchy.

I think at heart I'm a pragmatist and I realize that for organizations to function efficiently, you need leaders. Though my ideal heaven is a place where equals can grow and progress together, with no tiers, no hierarchies, no handmaidens.

My real problem is when that leadership excludes women. That's patriarchy and that's crap. Forgive my french. (I originally had the bullsh__ word written out, but I chickened out and deleted it. Mike doesn't like it when I cuss. )

How am I going to raise my kids in this church? There are so many good things about it, so many good kind people, so many great values. There may even be some very special and unique truths. But equality between the sexes is paramount to me. Can I authentically raise my children as Mormons and still communicate how much I despise the patriarchal system it is founded on? How do I raise them with that kind of nuance? How do I prevent Mike from blaming me when one of our kids leaves the Church?

Friday, June 15, 2007

This brought tears to my eyes

Now I'm not the type that's into American Idol type shows, but I was moved when I saw this youtube clip of Paul Potts. He's an average joe - a chunky cell phone salesman. But this unconfident, unlikely looking fellow has an amazing operatic voice. Click here to check out the video of him singing Nessun Dorma

The best part about the clip is watching Simon's face, which starts out entirely skeptical and moves to real surprise. That and the fact that whenever anyone praises Paul, he looks like he's about ready to burst into tears. What a lovely guy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My New Life Plan

Summer 2007: take a women's studies class at a CC in order to get a fabulous rec letter

Fall 07 - Spring 08: teach Latin part time at the h.s.

Summer 2008: have a baby, start working on papers

Fall 2008: take two or three classes at a Cal State in Women's Studies or Religion in order to accrue more fabulous rec letters.

Winter 2008: apply to CGU's Women and Religion program. (And pray that Karen Torjesen is still there!)

Fall 2009: Begin my M.A. at CGU in Women and Religion

2011: Start my Ph.D program if I'm still into this topic.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Deep feminist thoughts

For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong, there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every woman who is tired of acting dumb, there is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of "knowing everything."

For every woman who is tired of being called "an emotional female," there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.

For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes, there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.

For every woman who feels "tied down" by her children, there is a man who is denied the full pleasures of shared parenthood.

For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.

-adapted from Nancy R. Smith


If we could free ourselves from slavery we should free men from tyranny.

- Virginia Woolf

On the road to my next degree

This summer I will begin my journey towards a new degree in women's studies. I'll be taking a class called Introduction to Gender Studies at a local community college. I don't know if this is worthwhile - I've never had any classes in women's studies, but throughout my undergrad and grad career, I've focused on feminist readings of all my English and Classics texts.

My ultimate plan is to get into Claremont Graduate University's Women and Religion program, but that's a few years off, no doubt. I hope that finally I've found the field that will be my last!

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Play is Forming in My Mind....

*Based on a true story, but don't ask me whose.

A happy Mormon family. Until a teenage daughter starts acting strangely. Parents constantly find her curled into a ball sobbing. Months of begging to know what's wrong. Eventually she cracks and her story comes out.

Her male seminary teacher took her out to lunch months before. He tells her that when he looks at her, he feels like he did when he first looked at his wife (who is currently still his wife) . He implies that someday they'll be married. He swears her to secrecy with a temple handshake. She believes she'll go to hell if she confides, so for months this burden weighs on her. She begins to feel trapped and scared. She wants to have boyfriends, wants to choose who she will marry. She is tormented for months with the belief she will have to be a second wife to this man.

Parents find out. Parents are furious. They tell the bishop. ST denies this until parents produce a love letter he wrote to the daughter. ST gets slap on the wrist discipline from the bishop. Parents are disillusioned with Church over this. Father begins to retreat from Church, but mom holds on faithfully.

10 years later: Parents are still disgusted with this man, who has been in their same ward this whole time. The daughter has left the Church. One day in Church a new bishop is called. It is the ST. The mother at this point is the RS president. She listens to this, rocks in her pew, covers her face with her hair, and rocks, rocks, rocks. She has to make a split second decision on whether or not to object to the sustaining of this man. She cannot sustain him, but she can't openly object either. She visit teaches his wife. His mother is in the ward. She can't publicly humiliate him in front of these women she loves and over whom she has stewardship.

Parents immediately make an appointment to see stake president. He is highly disturbed about this. Had no idea that this was in this man's past. He tells the parents to write out an account of exactly what happened, with as many details as they can remember. He talks with his area authorities about what to do. He tells them there's a good chance that they'll release him from being a bishop within the next couple of weeks. He acts as mediator between the man and the parents, gets the man to apologize. Parents think there's a good chance he won't remain bishop long.

A few weeks go by. The concerned stake president is released! A new stake president takes office. Parents talk to him about this problem, but he isn't very concerned. In fact, he is disturbed that the parents have written out an account of the incident. He warns them to not say anything to anyone about this. That it will go badly for them if they do.

Parents feel helpless. Father retreats more from Church, Mother continues to act as RS President, but cannot address him as "bishop." She can't stand working with him, can't stand looking at him. Tries to only have contact with him over email.

That's as far as I have. I don't know how the play will end, but I think it needs to end with some empowering act of the mother. Some way for her to gain the upper hand and feel in control of her life somehow. Still thinking about it...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Rocky Mountain Retreat

It's Saturday and I'm here in Colorado with Amy and Brooke at our retreat. I'm having a blast! It's been neat to meet all these women who look (and in lots of ways act) so stereotypically Mormon, but have so many interesting stories and insights to share. And the mountains are beautiful.