A little break from weddings...

We've taken a little hiatus from wedding planning period. I haven't even looked at wedding stuff in a while - though we did get all of our invitations and thank you notes purchased, thank you very much.

No, this blog is about the wonderful evening I just spent with Jessica Valenti (from the blog Feministing) and Jaclyn Friedman, the co-editors of Yes Means Yes, a kickass anthology of pro-sex, anti-rape work. Now, not only are these women awesome and inspiring but they were really funny and gave me some things to think about.

First of all, I should start out by saying that not much in the presentation/discussion was something I hadn't already heard/seen/read somewhere before. That being said, it was presented excellently. It also makes me wonder, as someone who is an anti-rape activist/advocate (can you tell I'm loving the backslash this evening?) what I have to contribute to the body of work that is out there. Is there something I can contribute or will I simply be a broken record of things that have already been said? I think there are things I can contribute for sure, but what form will that come in? I always joke that I want to infiltrate the school systems with feminist thought and comprehensive sex ed (which they both talk about a lot and made my heart smile), but is that enough. What if I want to reach more people? Will I have something unique to say? Does that even matter? What about the work I'm doing here (work being a slightly dramatic word for blogging)? Does that count? My ideas aren't really new - but they might be to someone, right? Ugh, the questions.

It also is simultaneously frustrating and awe-inspiring to be surrounded by "forward thinkers" - those that challenge the rape culture because I want to have ideas, but damnit, they are already taken. haha..I'm just kidding, kind of...but it does make me wonder where my voice is.

Secondly...and this may answer a lot of my questions that I just posed to myself but then again, I could again be repeating something that is already going on somewhere else...Jaclyn said something tonight that made me think about anti-rape organizations and the work they do and how, in order to really begin the shift of rethinking masculinity as a culture and to begin dismantling something we've had in place for so long, we need a "critical mass" of people to join the cause.

which leads me to my next train of thought - THAT SHOULD BE A ORGANIZATION'S NAME!..it makes perfect sense. I want to start a group (perhaps at Wash U when I go there, instead of trying to do something here in 2 weeks) called Critical Mass. the mission would be to inform and educate as many people as possible to help the culture reach a critical mass of people working again sexual violence. I think it's catchy. and we would have shirts - possibly hoodies (that's why people join groups anyway).

Tonight also made me reflect on some of the work I've been fortunate enough to do surrounding sexual violence, but it also made me reflect on the work I haven't done, or have fallen out of. It's weird to think that I got where I am now, doing the work I do because of sexual violence prevention education. It was my in to all things social justice. Now, I do very little work that directly impacts sexual assault. Which makes me sad, in a way. Sure, I'm doing a lot of social justice things, being an ally and all which helps the overall culture of oppression which feeds into rape culture BUT what am I doing to actively address this specific issue of violence that got me started in the first place? Why have I become disconnected? MORE QUESTIONS..

Anyway, it was a wonderful evening with a wonderful chat full of disturbing images and examples of the culture I live in. Personally, I think things like Purity Balls and Abstinence contracts should be outlawed - Purity Balls reek of pedophilia to me. I am disturbed by our society's simultaneous infatuation and fear of sex. Being that wishy-washy about something can't be healthy. As well as the fact that the information that our society presents in biased by gender.

Which is why I like the idea of a feminist wedding and raising feminist children (of which there were 2 before the presentation tonight, you can follow the dad that brought them there on twitter at rebeldad) - we can start with these things that are taken for granted in society : patriarchal weddings, gendering our children, and make a difference to someone, somewhere.

I often wonder if I will ever make a difference in someone's life like my mentors have done for me. I can only hope...but who says you can't start with your own kids, right?

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the rape culture, feminism, and gendering for now. I need to go read some crossdressing memoirs now...



I've been lucky enough to have a lot of support and interest from people in my life about this whole wedding thing. Yesterday I had the great pleasure of discussing feminist weddings with a friend of mine from my senior seminar. She, too, is a betrothed feminist (I would say engaged feminist, but that can have other meanings, too). It was really interesting talking to her because we both have very different approaches to our weddings but overall, our ideas of marriage are similar.

We were discussing some of the questions people have asked us (and she has had a lot more questions than I have). It's amazing what people come up with. It's astonishing how many people are happy that we're getting married, but when we question the traditions of marriage - people question why we're getting married. It's sort of ironic. Something is strange about people happy for you to do something but only in a certain way. Why can't we do this how we want to, DAMNIT!

Anyway. we on a little hiatus of wedding planning seeing as we're in the closing weeks of the semester. It's a little hectic right now between activism and finals and papers and madness. I'm really looking forward to the end. Although, I'm feeling bits and pieces of that detachment from the people here. *deep sigh*

Alas, we are still working on our place to stay - i.e. signing the lease, figuring the logistics of moving in, etc. Also slightly stressful.

I'm going to stop complaining now. It's been a really awesome day - and I have to keep reminding myself to take these things one day at a time. As much as I'm looking forward to the end, I gotta remember to appreciate them. Cheesy, right? .....yeah. eh.

that's it for now. stay tuned.


Great news!

I found out last night that cousin Marv can do our engagement photos! Huzzah! That's what I really care about a lot (not that I don't care about the wedding pictures...) so that's VERY exciting. It really made my night last night when I found that out.

It's also Good Friday, so we're going home this evening and tomorrow is going to be an insane day...hopefully. I'm going to be dyeing Easter eggs, having a potential walk-through of the house again, and making it to SIUE to make some copies for a friend. Not to mention all of the preparing that we'll probably have to do for Sunday. None of this is wedding stuff, though I'm sure at some point - it will creep in there. It tends to do that.

I'm also Ally of the month this month. Which is pretty exciting and it's an honor I'm really proud of. It's also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Ben's super involved being the president of Men Against Sexual Violence. I'm pretty lucky to have found a guy who's a feminist and will openly call himself a feminist and will speak at rallies and such. Which is also what makes this feminist wedding thing infinitely better. I know that I'm not just doing this stuff and he couldn't care less either way...he wants it to happen, too.

Well, anyway - just wanted to give that brief update on the state of pictures. If anyone has suggestions for photographers (that aren't pricey) or knows how to use a good camera and has a bit of artistic inclination...let me know.