Nuclear, Rape Culture and the Other Kind of Abstinence (7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 3)

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Another Friday, another 7 Quick Takes. I didn’t do it last week because I didn’t have that much to say but I guess I just have to fight through those feelings, right?

ONE

The Academy Awards are upon us shortly so we’ve been trying to see as many of the nominated movies as possible. We’ve also just been seeing some fluff movies that we didn’t get around to. Last night was fluff; we saw Pitch Perfect and we loved it. I mean, knowing my love for Anna Kendrick and a capella singing, I was expecting to at least mildly enjoy it but it had so many hilarious one-liners, unique characters and the plot, for all its predictability, flowed incredibly smoothly. Worth a watch. Two weeks ago we saw Lincoln. Sigh. After it was done I wrote an email to C about it. I think I’d better just quote that:

Nearly three hours after starting, the movie is over and…

Lincoln is dead. Slavery is abolished. Sally Field proves that she can still play the same character she is cast in every.single.time. Tommy Lee Jones is a badass. The end.

TWO

I can think of few more troubling elements of our society than that of rape culture. The Steubenville fiasco is a great example of this. I keep reading these articles where the subtext is, “Gosh, these boys had poor judgment and now they’re ashamed and they’re getting threatened and life is so hard for them right now.” Um, no. If you expect me to feel sorry for these guys, I’m sorry but that ain’t happening. I think there are expectations that, after a certain age, one knows the difference between right and wrong. The 1993 murder of three-year-old James Bulger is a great example of that. He was killed by two ten-year-old’s. They were given an adult trial because the forensic psychologists assigned to the case determined the boys knew the difference between right and wrong. If, at ten years old, you know that murdering someone is wrong then, at eighteen, I would expect you’d know that raping someone is too. I will write a longer post about this at some point but I am so tired of a society that’s entire approach to rape is telling women how not to get raped instead of telling men not to rape. There’s a great article you can read on Feministing about what’s wrong with the whole concept of telling guys to imagine if it was some female relative and appealing to their sense of familial empathy as a method of rape prevention. They go into a lot of detail about the implications and it’s well worth a read.

THREE

Now that my apartment in Portland has been confirmed, I’ve been doing a lot of decorating in my head. I pretty much have the majority of the relevant pieces but I could use some advice on wall art. If anyone has any Etsy recommendations for pretty wall prints, I’d be most appreciative.

FOUR

It’s Friday and you know what that means! Abstinence!

Um, I mean…the Catholic, Friday kind of abstinence. I mean our fast or Friday penance. Eat fish on Fridays. All that jazz.

My university chaplain was this awesome priest named Father Brian and he always offered terrific insights. He was saying how the issue with Friday having been reduced to “eat fish on Fridays” was that many Catholics missed the point that this was about going without. So, you’d have wealthier Catholics going out to eat and ordering the Devon sole just to be technically correct. Now, for me, I love fish and I eat it several times a week. I’d probably prefer to eat fish than meat any given day so I’m wondering if it’s even in the spirit of abstinence for me to eat fish on Fridays or if I should just have pasta or something.

FIVE

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my faith and being a blogger and how, as I mentioned last week, I’m not so much a Catholic blogger as I am a blogger who happens to be Catholic. This ties in really nicely to what Jen posted on Wednesday about how the key to great blogging is being wholly and unapologetically yourself. I really endeavor to do that here. One of my greatest strengths is intellection and that’s why this faith is so perfect for me. Contrary to what a lot of people believe about Catholicism, it isn’t just blindly following a prescribed set of rules. That would be Phariseean. Sure, there are Catholics who have been accused (perhaps rightly) of being modern day Pharisees but they’re the exception to the rule in my view and most try to prayerfully discern what is good based on their judgment, the Bible and the Catechism. Maybe that’s why I had such a huge issue with the Catholic Voters’ Guide; it was presenting an agenda instead of trusting Catholics to be able to figure things out for themselves. What I’m trying to say is that perhaps my every viewpoint doesn’t match up with the tight-knit circle of Catholic bloggers and perhaps I will always sort of be a spectator among that group. In all likelihood, my blogger tribe isn’t made up of  that many Catholics but instead people who appreciate the odd mix of subjects I discuss. And I’m cool with that.

SIX

One of the downsides of moving is that I need to go “church shopping” when I get there. I’ve been trying to research ahead of time but you guys know parishes aren’t great at reflecting their church through the website. I’ve thought of a way to make the hunt for the right church more fun but honestly? I just wish I could know ahead of time.

SEVEN

So, you all know I love my friends but one of the things I may not have mentioned is how freaking talented my friends are. Kristen recorded an amazing cover of Destiny’s Child’s Nuclear and I’ve been listening to it on near-repeat since yesterday. That basically means I like it better than the original since I have that one too. So, now I just have to keep working on convincing her to forget the whole lawyer thing and just sing. That’s practical, right?

  • Gina 25 January, 2013, 3:56 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my 7QT! I’m curious about the Steubenville fiasco? Must google it. Also, I have some songs on my playlist which are covers, and I definitely like them better than the originals! Some things are better the second time. ;)

  • Larissa Heart 25 January, 2013, 4:19 pm

    You’re welcome!

    Ah, Steubenville. It’s a bunch of teenage jocks who dragged an unconscious girl around three parties one night over the summer, gang raped her, urinated on her and then took photos/videos of it and live Tweeted it while it happened. It received a lot of press for how many adults in the community blamed the girl for what happened and one of the perpetrator’s mother is district attorney and apparently she tried to intimidate the girl out of pressing charges. On the whole, pretty despicable.

  • Andrea @ The Champ Life 25 January, 2013, 5:06 pm

    I haven’t even read news on the Steubenville case in a few weeks because as soon as I discovered they were being tried as juveniles, I was horrified. It literally boggles my mind.

  • Larissa Heart 25 January, 2013, 5:08 pm

    I know! Not to mention that they’re only prosecuting a fraction of those involved. It’s really a travesty.

  • Thomas 25 January, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Hi Larissa! I really hear you on the Steubeville fiasco. Blaming the victim is rotten and those guys should be charged as adults. One point of contention: I don’t see how society’s entire approach to rape is only to “telling women how not to get raped instead of telling men not to rape.” It’s always been very obvious to me that rape is wrong. I’ve heard that message load and clear from many different places. I’ve also heard a lot about “No means no.” I’m not contending that we shouldn’t talk about it even more. The message should definitely be more “Consent must be unmistakable.” I just think alleging that society doesn’t tell men not to rape is not wuite correct, and more importantly, creates an excuse. If society really didn’t tell men (and/or women) not to rape, than rapists would have an excuse: they didn’t know rape was wrong. It would be a poor excuse even if it was possible; but it’s not; that’s bull. People know rape is wrong.

  • Larissa Heart 25 January, 2013, 9:13 pm

    Well, the fact of the matter is there is something wrong with the messages on rape that are sent by the society or the media. One in five women will be raped in their lifetime. As a woman, we are told never to walk home alone, not to wear revealing clothing, to obsessively watch our drinks. We basically live in a state of constant vigilance and I don’t think corresponding messages are sent to men. When a woman reports a rape, people are quick to ask if she was drunk or what she was wearing or talk about her sexual history. Rape culture isn’t just about rape, it’s about the way women are regarded and defined by their sexuality. If the message was really being sent to men; I don’t think you’d see the callousness you see among those boys. They’re eighteen. They learned that behavior somewhere, they learned that attitude somewhere, they learned that respect for a woman is optional. I’m sure if you’d asked them before the incident, they would have said that rape is wrong. But did it stop them? There’s a difference between knowing something is wrong and choosing not to do it.

  • Blair 25 January, 2013, 10:14 pm

    I love your fun blog! Best wishes with the move. I have one friend in Portland; she’s a kind of “famous” mom of 6 who has no car and bikes her kids everywhere!

  • Larissa Heart 25 January, 2013, 10:53 pm

    Thanks!

    Wow, six kids and a bicycle?! Is she Superwoman? :-D

  • Katrina 26 January, 2013, 3:18 am

    I am so glad I found your blog! It is beautiful and so well designed. Do you have a background in web design? Color me impressed. And yeah, the Steubenville case is despicable…and your comments about teaching the men really makes me think more about how I am responsible for raising respectful sons and daughters….respectful of each other and themselves. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  • Larissa Heart 26 January, 2013, 3:40 am

    Thank you so much!

    Back when I started blogging (in 2001, omigosh) I did a lot of my own design work but while I’m competent it’s not the area I’m most skilled in so I had someone else do this blog’s design for me and she’s amazingly talented.

    Yeah, parenthood is a real responsibility and I really wonder what message it’s sending the young people of that city that so many adults with positions of responsibility are blaming that poor girl for what happened to her under a ridiculous “boys will be boys” trope.

  • jen 26 January, 2013, 8:27 am

    Go to Ship of Fools and offer to be a Mystery Worshiper for churches in Portland. It will give you a rubric to use and you might even find a good parish that way.

  • Larissa Heart 26 January, 2013, 9:01 am

    Oh wow, that is such a good idea, and would really work with my current plan to make the search more tolerable. Thank you!

  • Hilary 26 January, 2013, 2:16 pm

    I totally agree on your comments on rape culture. It’s beyond frustrating that people still don’t understand these simple concepts of being human. I’m actually going to a sexual assault summit at a local outreach center today, so I’m excited to surround myself with and meet people who are passionate about ending sexual violence and rape culture. I always find strength in community, especially when I feel that the world just isn’t getting it.

    It must be rough to move all the time… the physical act of moving is exhausting in itself! Last year I moved my belongings seven times in one year, in and out of different apartments on campus. It’s hard never being able to fully settle in. I’m excited, though, to hear about Portland from you; there’s a possibility I’ll be moving out there in the next six months.

    One thing that’s challenging about blogging as a person of faith, of any faith, is that there are so many people who are spiritual and/or religious but don’t talk about their faith in their writing or in their daily lives. The people who do, then, may be categorized as “religious writers” or “spiritual writers,” when in reality they’re just writing from the core of who they are, and it wouldn’t be as genuine if they excluded references to their religion or spirituality. Just like any identifier, religion is a part of a person. If you were exclusively writing with reference to Catholicism, then I might see you as a Catholic blogger, but you’re not–and even if you were, there’d be nothing wrong with that. Regardless, your Catholic faith with always have an influence on your perspective, and I think it’s more real for people to be honest about who they are and about what those influences are. I know it can be challenging to be purely, unapologetically YOU, but people want to read that which is raw and honest and they find it on your blog.

  • Larissa Heart 26 January, 2013, 3:13 pm

    A sexual assault summit sounds like it would be really interesting; I hope you find it helpful.

    I have moved at least once a year every year since 2001 and every time I move I say, “This is the last time!” :-P But I cannot imagine moving seven times in one year, that’s insane. Well, I will no-doubt be writing my no-holds-barred account on Portland here, that’s for sure. Hopefully it gives you insight if you do move.

    Yeah, I think what I find difficult about the idea of being a “Catholic blogger” is the idea that I would only write with reference to it; that would be like living in an artificial bubble. My faith colors everything I do and informs how I view things but I don’t think I need to say that each and every time. I do try really hard to be completely honest on this blog and I check in with myself often to make sure I’m being true to me and that I’m not writing for anyone else. I really appreciate your vote of confidence there, it’s very encouraging!

  • Linda 27 January, 2013, 6:18 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Congrats on moving to Portland and ibsawbon your Twitter profile that you live in Austin! We are neighbors for the short time being!

  • Larissa Heart 27 January, 2013, 6:29 pm

    No problem!

    Very short time being since I’m out of town at the moment. I’ll be sweeping back through TX for a week and then it’s off to Portland with me :-) But I may end up back in Austin next year.