Who Are You?

June 23, 2005 | 127 comments
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Or maybe what I really want to know is: Who am I ? Am I a feminist?

Most of the time I’ve got a pretty clear self-image, subject to no more than the usual distortions of vanity and my particular forms of perfectionism. I’m a human being, and a woman: nature makes this blessedly clear through the requisite forms of biology and subjectivity. I’m a mother, wife, daughter and sister: social obligations, some acquired by choice and some by chance, supply the specifics here. I’m part of the white middle classes, courtesy of certain social structures of race and class largely outside my control. I’m an American and a Mormon: cultural heritage provides these crucial narratives of self. I’m a Latter-day Saint, and a stay-at-home mother: personal choice and voluntary identification give me these. I’m smart, reasonably well-read and well-written, a hard worker, responsible, and a dappled host of other things (many not as complimentary as those I’ve listed here, of course) by personality and inclination. I’m also a feminist, I think. But who or what acts as the guarantor of my feminism?

I’ve considered myself a feminist since I was in high school, long before I was introduced to formal feminist theory. In college, on my mission and in graduate school the strength of my identification with feminism waxed and waned, depending largely on my social context and its effect on that streak of contrarianism I’ve always had: the fewer the feminists around, the more likely I was to self-identify as one, and, conversely, the more feminists there were around, the less likely. I read and understood academic feminist theory, I learned about and occasionally participated in feminism as an American sociopolitical movement, I consumed and analyzed feminist cultural objects—but none of these really made me a feminist. I called myself a feminist, I think, simply because the women’s voices with which I felt the strongest personal identification almost always called themselves feminists. This didn’t always mean that I agreed with everything I heard. When I read Mary Wollstonecraft, or Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or Adrienne Rich, or Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, or Kristine Haglund Harris, I found plenty to criticize or correct—but I identified with their perspectives and their ways of living gender so strongly that those critiques and corrections felt secondary to the shared fact of our feminism.

So when I recently encountered an article about mothers and nannies by Caitlin Flanagan, a contributing editor for the Atlantic Monthly, I was thrust into an identity crisis (of admittedly rather small proportion) to find that while I identified strongly with her approach, she identified herself as not-feminist. I didn’t agree with every one of her claims, and her style put me off occasionally, but her basic approach—her eyes-opening, dogma-questioning, piety-probing, self-implicating method—rang like a bell as I read. She seemed to enact everything that had attracted me to feminism in the first place, and yet she wasn’t a feminist. And by the transitive property, if a=b, and b=c, then a=c, right? Could this mean that I wasn’t a feminist either?

I’m still not sure, but it was freeing to contemplate the possibility. In some ways, the question is doesn’t need to be answered: whether I choose to retain or disavow my identification with feminism—and it won’t be an all-or-nothing thing, in any case—my attitudes toward gender and my approach to living as a woman won’t change. And I think there are really compelling sociological reasons for those women (and men) so inclined to self-identify with feminism: feminists, and particularly Mormon feminists, can open up lines of inquiry and relationship that other people can’t; feminist voices are of the right timbre to participate in the conversations about identity politics that, like it or not, shape public attitudes; and feminism can provide motivating narrative and enabling resources for women’s personal lives. But to think that I might not be one of those women—well, that was about a 4.1 on my personal richter’s scale.

So who are you? I’d guess that there is a whole class of descriptors that, like feminist, one assumes more by a felt process of identification than by a deliberate process of rationcination: environmentalist, conservative, attachment parent, liberal, vegetarian, libertarian, mystic, positivist, communist. The truth is, I don’t really want to know whether you think I’m a feminist or not, and I’d rather not turn this thread into a referendum on feminism. But I do want to know who you are, and why.

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127 Responses to Who Are You?

  1. Ana on June 23, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    I choose to identify as a feminist because I read that word at the most basic level to mean pro-woman. I think I deserve a piece of that. I don’t want it to be possessed solely by others whose views I don’t always share. I’m a little acquainted with some feminist theory and political causes, thought not as much as you are, I’m quite sure. I think that if someone similar to you does not consider herself a feminist (even if it is Caitlin Flanagan, whose work I’ve enjoyed immensely) that doesn’t mean you can’t choose a different identification. I bring this up not to debate who you are, but because it’s been important to me in figuring out (so far) who I am.

    Other ways I self-identify: Mormon, infertile, adoptive parent, transracial-adoptive parent, writer, attachment parent, love and logic parent, working mother, full-time mother. Politically, almost any absolute identification is abhorrent to me. I side with different factions on different issues. I am sympathetic to GLBT issues but believe the campaign for same-sex marriage may be misguided. I am moderately environmentalist in my daily practices but aware of the hypocrisy involved with the United States’ increasing regulations at home, thereby pushing environmentally problematic practices to third world countries where the people are not empowered to oppose them, not to mention real economic needs in places like Alaska (think ANWR) or here in central Cal that can be unnecessarily hampered by environmental regulation. I favor sex ed and distribution of birth control but firmly believe that abortion availability needs to be severely curtailed. I could go on. Nothing is simple.

    I think each person gets to say who she is. And if you want to say, “I don’t know yet,” that may be the wisest identification of all.

  2. Nate Oman on June 23, 2005 at 5:03 pm

    Rosalynde: I have a similar relationship with liberalism, speaking in the philosophical rather than the partisan sense. I think that I used to be a libertarian (my wife still regards me as a “libertarian wacko”), but I no longer think that this is really accurate. On the other hand, I remain powerfully attracted to liberal ideals of freedom, autonomy, state neutrality, markets, and the like. I tend to think of myself as liberal because I tend to think of Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuard Mill (although I have problems with Mill), Gladstone, Justice Field, Hayek, etc. as the good guys and I think of Rousseau, Marx, Disraeli (although it is really hard NOT to like Disraeli), FDR (although it is also hard not to like FDR), Brandies, Kaynes, etc. as the bad guys. On the other hand, Russell — who I like to think of as a sort of intellectual and ideological nemisis (ie him: continental, communitarian, authoritarian, sociological; me: analytic, individualistic, liberal, legal) — frequently says things that I find very compelling.

  3. Mike Wilson on June 23, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    Who am I? Who am I? (I have visions of Anthony Michael Perkins with his pen clipped to his upper lip and sticking it up his nose).

    But seriously this is a great post and question. I will have to think more seriously about it than my above Breakfast Club reference.

  4. Travis Anderson on June 23, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    It’s a great question, Rosalynde, but (in my opinion) not one that labels like those you list are likely to answer. When people insist on applying such categories to me, I constantly find myself having to qualify, mitigate, explain, etc.–and I am inherently suspicious of people who don’t likewise explicate themselves, since it suggests to me that they either haven’t thought through the issues sufficiently well so as to formulate or recognize important points of difference, or they are merely too naive to see that wholesale endorsement of a position usually renders them political pawns or philosophical simpletons. Or worse yet, they don’t really care at all, but are practicing what Heidegger called “idle chatter.” On the issue of feminism, for instance, it has always astonished me, on the one hand, that everyone isn’t a feminist to some degree, since issues like equal rights and mutual respect are simply the hallmarks of common decency and shouldn’t require political advocacy. On the other hand, feminism often names a position that has virtually nothing to do with equality and everything to do with securing decidedly unequal political power or advantage under that guise. And academically speaking, feminism, like deconstruction, has become so diffuse a term that it is virtually meaningless apart from being a kind of political password or secret handshake. So, where do you or I fall on the feminist spectrum–or any other such spectrum for that matter? Without detailed qualification, it could be almost anywhere–and thus, nowhere.

    In short, I don’t think there’s any substitute for thorough, authentic dialogue–both in explaining who you are, or in discovering it in the first place. But more importantly, I’m inclined to agree with Nietzsche that who you are is much less a function of what you think or what positions you rationally endorse or what cultural descriptors you tend to apply to yourself and others, but of what battles (both spiritual and physiological) you wage and what kind of interpersonal relations in which you engage.

  5. gst on June 23, 2005 at 5:26 pm

    Travis, I don’t see why we should conclude that someone who doesn’t constantly qualify, mitigate, or explain every label applied to him is either naive or unthinking. I can self-identify as a Republican or Democrat, for example, without saying that I don’t agree with my party on every platform point (who does?).

    Labels needn’t be perfectly accurate to be helpful, they just have to be mostly accurate in most circumstances.

  6. Mark on June 23, 2005 at 5:26 pm

    Rosalynde,

    I think you are correct to observe that most of us are pretty hard to label. Also, my guess is that we are what we are often more by default rather than by rational choice. I take it as a given that someone who had the same pre-mortal experiences as I, and was raised in my parents home, and had the same life experiences I have had, would probably be a lot like me. I like to think my opinions and behavior are solidly grounded in good reasoning, but when I meet others who are different, and learn about their backgrounds, I usually find they have good reasons for being the way they are. It’s a humbling experience, but probably good for me, and one I am learning to enjoy.

  7. Mike Wilson on June 23, 2005 at 5:46 pm

    Did I mix my movie stars or what? I meant Anthony Michael Hall!! Maybe by inserting my name into Anthony Perkins name I am subconsciously PSYCHO!

    I agree with Travis’s appraisal in that labels are mostly for people to talk about and define others. I find it difficult to put myself into categories, but here goes.

    I am a disciple of Christ (not a very good one, but I am repenting daily), a husband (at times thoughtful), a father (learning to be more patient and understanding), a political independant who leans left with regards to environmental issues, civil rights, the importance of economic safety nets for the impoverished, universal health care, and a more humble foreign policy; but who leans right with regards to family issues (i.e. abortion, marriage, school choice). I am a conventionally-trained physician who thinks that conventional medicine does few things well and some things very poorly. I am (trying to be) a life-long scholar by continuing my education (formal and informal) while I work full-time and raise a family. My religious thought has been influenced mostly by Nibley, Maxwell and C.S. Lewis although I am not an expert in any of them. I find cosmology and biology utterly fascinating. I think (and Nate will disagree with me profoundly on this) that financial incentives in the pharmaceutical industry lead to poor healthcare on many levels.

    These are just a few of the things that define me. There are many others. I may add them later.

  8. Hippo on June 23, 2005 at 6:06 pm

    I am Hippopotamus amphibius, an enormous, amphibious mammal with smooth, naked skin. But in a future eternity, I aspire to personhood and eventual exaltation. In the meantime, I try not to take myself too seriously on my forays into the bloggernacle.

  9. Sam Payne on June 23, 2005 at 7:03 pm

    I struggled with this question a lot during college and my mission. I viewed it more from a delphic boat perspective, and if pieces of my personality were in fact really me. I am not a psycologist (and after this, I never want to be). and after many years of questioning, the only real answer was that I was a child of God. All other attempts to define myself failed in one sense or another. So I gave up (making me a quitter.) and decided that the simple was the best one for me.

  10. J. Stapley on June 23, 2005 at 7:17 pm

    Though in reality I think that I am not really one, I fancy myself as an iconoclast. I do, however, think that I am a feminist. My good friend Steve, made a comment that clarified the issue for me when I was debating if I truely was a feminist:

    the problem here, has to do with when we decide to cede the term and give it over to those who have decided to co-opt it. If we do so, because there are those who would associate them then we must either coin a new term or resort to other paradigms, and I just don’t think there are that many viable options. To give up on feminism–as a term–is to mark ourselves as not really being serious about the way we view women. I’m not saying that we aren’t or that those who shy away from the term are necessarily evil misogynists. There’s just the matter of semantics to deal with. I am suggesting that we cannot give up the term, even though there are others who would also try to co-opt it for purposes we can’t countenance. Also, I don’t see it as an absolute historical progression. I think, for instance that there are things about identity politics that are precisely what could be valuable to us in feminism, while there are certain social projects in pre-70s feminism that are directly counter to the gospel project–antipathy to marriage in some cases–advocacy of work outside the home as the only way for women to achieve social productivity–and at times a view of children as detracting from the dignity of womanhood, for instance.

  11. Daniel on June 23, 2005 at 8:29 pm

    Nate,
    are you a classical liberal (small l) or Liberal (big L — in the partisan sense). I think of myself as a classical liberal along the lines of Hayek, but not a Liberal. Silly distinction but one which many might not make.

    Or do you draw the distinction?

  12. Nathan Mark Smith on June 23, 2005 at 8:34 pm

    I am a judicial conservative and a legislative moderate; a jaded internationalist; a communitarian at heart but a free marketeer by analysis; a Terry Warnerite; a Sam Payne fan (how’s it going, ol’ roommate?); a radical priesthood instructor and reactionary blog commenter; a sparing meat eater; a home teaching formalist. Or so I reckon. Ask me again next week.

  13. Susan M on June 23, 2005 at 9:02 pm

    I personally find these kinds of labels silly. Same with political labels–liberal, conservative, democrat, republican. I feel like no one should identify completely down any kind of party line or political label. How can you agree with everything a label such as these represent? I don’t get it.

  14. gst on June 23, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    Susan, what I find silly is the rejection of labels because they are not completely accurate.

    Everyone likes to think that they are difficult to label. I’m not sure why that is.

  15. Nathan Oman on June 23, 2005 at 9:41 pm

    gst: I suspect that there is a certain amount of self-congratulation in the urge to reject lables (“I am far too unique and mysterious to be captured by a single word that implies I am interchangeable with other _____-ists.” On the other hand, I think that Travis makes a good case as to why labels and -isms are problematic. I think that he overstates the case, however. It seems to me that the question should center on the functional point of what you are trying to do. I suspect that for certain sorts of intellectual tasks, labels are very useful and the resistence to them is little more than self-indulgence; for other tasks, however, they probably obscure much more than they illuminate. I am not sure that I am persuaded by Steve’s insistence that we must continue to fight for “feminism” and other words. On one level I am sympathetic to him. I dislike the way that the term “liberal” is used as either a term of political derision or simply a catch-all description of the politics of the Left. I am inclined to fight for the older, narrower, and more descriptive usage of the term. On the other hand, I am not sure that this fight over words is endowed with any particular moral significance.

  16. Weston C on June 23, 2005 at 9:58 pm

    “The problem of self-identity is not just a problem for the young. It is a problem all the time. Perhaps the problem. It should haunt old age, and when it no longer does it should tell you that you are dead.”

    — Norman Maclean

  17. Jean Valjean on June 23, 2005 at 11:30 pm

    Who am I?

  18. Crystal on June 23, 2005 at 11:37 pm

    I think that resisting the labeling of self results from a fear of exploring who one is and who one is not.

    While I have no earthly idea of my complete self, I think I can learn a lot from trying to give myself as many labels as I can.

    I’m a daughter, a student, single, a convert, Mormon, moderate, unaware, confused, a writer, a reader, anxiety-ridden, a philosopher, a socialist, a goalkeeper, a red sox fan, silly, serious, pro-life, anti-death penalty, a utilitarian, a theist, a romantic, and most important to me, I’m a girl and everything that comes with it. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the label of woman. It makes me feel older than I should.

  19. Elisabeth on June 23, 2005 at 11:38 pm

    To answer the feminist question, I guess I’m a feminist in that I believe in equal treatment under the law for both men and women. But the word “feminist” sounds lopsided because it focuses on the female – so maybe I’m a “humanist”.

    And as far as who I am, sometimes I’m a mess and have no idea what I’m doing, and other times I’m well put together and know exactly who I am and what I want. Is there a label for that?

  20. Crystal on June 23, 2005 at 11:41 pm

    The web ate my oh-so-well thought out comment!

    So, instead of a long winded labeling of self, I am simply aghast.

    I’ll give it a second try.

  21. Crystal on June 23, 2005 at 11:42 pm

    Elisabeth,

    I think that would be labeled ‘normal.’

  22. Crystal on June 23, 2005 at 11:58 pm

    As I was trying to say…

    I think that resistance to labeling self comes from a fear of exploring what we are and what we are not.

    I don’t always know exactly who I am, and I’m not sure I ever will, but trying to find as many descriptors as I can, can be helpful in getting closer.

    I’m a daughter, a student, a convert, single, Mormon, a moderate, unaware, confused, anxiety-ridden, a chocoholic, a philosopher, a theist, a writer, a reader, an editor, an ex-Catholic, a goalkeeper, a red sox fan, a utiltarian, pro-life, anti-death penalty, and a girl. I resist the label of woman, because it makes me feel older than I should.

  23. Montaigne on June 24, 2005 at 12:18 am

    Que sais-je?

  24. Kaimi on June 24, 2005 at 12:25 am

    There are so many songs that try to answer the question “who am I”?

    I’m a picker
    I’m a grinner
    I’m a lover
    And I’m a sinner
    I play my music in the sun
    I’m a joker
    I’m a smoker
    I’m a midnight toker
    I sure don’t want to hurt no one

    Or perhaps

    I’m a b*tch, I’m a lover
    I’m a child, I’m a mother
    I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
    I do not feel ashamed

    or

    I am the eagle,
    I live in high country
    In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky

    or

    I am alone,
    Gazing from my window to the streets below
    On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

  25. Kaimi on June 24, 2005 at 12:34 am

    Oh, and how could I forget

    I’m a cowboy
    On a steel horse I ride
    I’m wanted . . . dead or alive.

  26. Jack on June 24, 2005 at 12:58 am

    I’m fat.

  27. Kingsley on June 24, 2005 at 1:01 am

    More songs.

    I am what I am, most [expletive] don’t give a [expletive] …

    I am the walrus …

    I am your robot …

    I am woman …

    I am the Radiskull …

    I am music …

  28. Jed on June 24, 2005 at 1:03 am

    I am a wed white male.

  29. Jack on June 24, 2005 at 1:07 am

    I’m a lonesome polecat.

  30. Jack on June 24, 2005 at 1:11 am

    I’M A CODFISH!!!

  31. Aaron Brown on June 24, 2005 at 2:57 am

    Kaimi, you forgot….

    I’m a man – I’m a goddess
    I’m a man – I’m a hooker
    I’m a man – I’m a blue movie
    I’m a man – I’m a slut
    I’m a man – I’m a geisha
    I’m a man – I’m your babe
    I’m a man – I’m a dream divine….

  32. Roger Daltry on June 24, 2005 at 9:39 am

    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    I really wanna know
    (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
    Oh, tell me, who are you?
    (Who are you? Who?)
    I really wanna know
    (Who?)
    Oh, I really wanna know
    (Who?)
    Come on tell me, who are you, you, you, oh, you?

    –The Who “Who Are You?”

  33. John Lennon on June 24, 2005 at 9:46 am

    I am the Egg Man

  34. Rosalynde Welch on June 24, 2005 at 9:56 am

    FWIW, I was referencing The Who in the title. But my two favorite absurdist takes on identity are Seuss’s Sam I Am–“I am Sam. Sam I am. I am Sam-I-Am, I am”–and Charlie Kauffman’s “Being John Malkovich”: “Malkovich, Malkovich., Malkovich, Malkovich…” (you get the idea).

  35. Costanza on June 24, 2005 at 10:05 am

    Here’s another clue for you all: The warlus was Paul

  36. Costanza on June 24, 2005 at 10:05 am

    Paul was also the walrus

  37. Daniel on June 24, 2005 at 10:44 am

    Nate,
    I think there is a moral significance to the fight over words. Hugh Nibley used to say that language was all we have. I tend to agree. I think one of the most clever ploys used by Satan is to change the definition we give to words, since that has the effect of also changing the meaning we attribute to them in our minds. On one hand, I see your argument about semantics, but Friederich Hayek said that the failure of “conservatives” in the United States to stop “Liberals” from appropriating the word for themselves (and all of its glorious connotations) was one of the largest they had made — it has had the effect of erasing much of the traditional meaning of that word from the average man’s lexicon. The Founders understood this — witness the branding of the national government’s supporters as “Federalists” in the debates post-convention.

    Yes, I think it does matter, but I’m glad to hear that you style yourself a liberal in the classical sense. I don’t mean to get into Sartre here, but the bottom line is that words are the means by which we convey meaning — and we rely on them to a great extent. If you can corrupt the meaning of words, you can corrupt knowledge in general. Don’t you think that is an important struggle? Isn’t that largely what many of those who resist labeling here are rebelling against?

  38. Nate Oman on June 24, 2005 at 10:51 am

    Daniel: I guess that I tend to view words as tools. I am less interested in constituting reality than in accomplishing particular tasks. When a tool ceases to be useful for accomplishing a certain task, I don’t see that there is any problem in reaching for a different tool. Of course, I am probably simply feeling very pragmatic today. Talk to me next week, and I will probably believe something entirely different.

  39. Susan M on June 24, 2005 at 10:54 am

    Hey, I know who I am and who I’m not. I’m not a democrat or a republican. I’m not a feminist. And I’m not self-indulgent, either. :P

    I am a wife, mother, web developer, writer, music lover, photographer, diabetc, etc. But those are specific labels that don’t carry connotations that don’t apply to me.

  40. alamojag on June 24, 2005 at 11:37 am

    I’m just a guy who’s trying to do the best he can with what he’s got. Life has given me a lot of wrong turns, so I’ve had to revise my self-description several times. Growing up I thought I’d be a father, scholar, philanthropist, leader, teacher. Now I’m thinking I’d like to leave a legacy like that of my father. My best memory of him is of those mornings when we went to visit when I would walk in on him on his knees in prayer.

  41. Wilfried on June 24, 2005 at 11:45 am

    In Utah I lean left.
    In Belgium I lean right.
    For the balance.

  42. Jim Morrison on June 24, 2005 at 11:57 am

    I am the Lizard King!

  43. Steve Evans on June 24, 2005 at 12:02 pm

    Ummm…. Montaigne (no. 23), hate to break it to you, but your question doesn’t mean “who am I,” but rather “what do I know”.

  44. Audrey Stone on June 24, 2005 at 12:04 pm

    Me! Me! Me! The rush to speak out sometimes overwhelmes me. Or is it the rush to be heard?

    I am so many labels and I use them all, I try them on, they might fit for a while, I grow out of them, I toss them aside and look for new ones. I am covered in labels, but underneath this cacoon, I am the same ever-evolving being, just growing, just learning, shifting ever so slightly from one moment, one word, to the next.

    I am a daughter of God. I am an observer, analyst, perfectionist, wife, mother, female, sister, daughter, friend, critic. I am judgemental, forgiving, loving, harsh, Republican, conservative, environmentalist, optimist, and an organizational freak.

    I too, reject the term “feminist”. Like Elisabeth, I would choose the word “humanist”. I believe that we are all equal, but that does not mean that we are all the same! I won’t use the term feminist because I don’t need it. I feel equal. I reject affirmative action because it feels like we are saying minorities are less, and I reject feminism because it feels like saying women are more.

    I don’t expect to know who I am for an eternity, but I can tell you what I feel and see along the way.

  45. Montaigne on June 24, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    You will find in my philosophy that the two questions are closely related.

  46. Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians on June 24, 2005 at 2:45 pm

    What I am is what I am
    Are you what you are or what?
    What I am is what I am
    Are you what you are or what?

  47. Popeye on June 24, 2005 at 2:53 pm

    I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam.

  48. Rosalynde Welch on June 24, 2005 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks, everybody, for the responses; I even like the musical threadjack.

    Ana and Elisabeth: I think your reasons for espousing feminism–to promote a basic pro-woman stance, or to advocate gender equality under the law–are compelling, but they’re fomulated so broadly that they certainly can’t be identified specifically with the American feminist political movement (really, who would object to either of those objectives, except for really off-their-rocker wackos?). Which is fine, I hasten to say, and probably good for feminism as a more diffuse cultural phenomenon. When I take the trouble to articulate why I’m a feminist, I usually come up with something like Joan Scott’s formulation of gender: gender is a special kind of knowledge about sexual difference, and a primary (NOT the only) field within which or by means of which power is articulated; thus attention to gender is a useful way of understanding history, surveying the present-day cultural field, and accomplishing certain kinds of ideological and material work.

    But for me, at least, that sort of rationale for why I’m a feminist is pretty much a post hoc (though no less compelling for being so) explanation: I feel that I’m a feminist first of all, and these are the reasons why that feeling is legible to me. I’d venture a guess that the same process–a primary, felt identification, followed by a post hoc rational explanation–is at work in the affixing of all sorts of identifiers like “feminist.”

  49. Bryce I on June 24, 2005 at 3:10 pm

    Inigo: Who are you?
    Man In Black: No one of consequence.
    Inigo: I must know.
    Man in Black: Get used to disappointment.

    (there’s an actual point to be made here, but I’m too lazy to try to make it).

  50. Elisabeth on June 24, 2005 at 3:21 pm

    Rosalynde – I’ve struggled identifying myself a feminist because I don’t feel that I have been denied opportunities or treated negatively because of my gender. Except for my experiences at Church (which is a separate issue), I feel that I am where I am today precisely because I’ve worked hard and made the right decisions – not because I’m a woman and was given either special treatment or held back because of my gender.

    That said, I recognize the importance of identifying gender differences and fighting to rectify the pernicious effects of sexism in our culture, as well as in cultures where women and girls are subject to unspeakable horrors because of their gender.

    So, I know it sounds lame and non-specific, but I just don’t feel compelled to identify myself as a feminist. I feel strongly that everyone is born with the right to pursue their own happiness, and that everyone should be treated with respect. And maybe we need to pay more attention to the plight of women because they are treated so horribly in most parts of the world.

    But sometimes it bothers me that by focusing on women it seems like we are asking to give women special treatment, when we should be focusing on a universal standard of rights and protections that applies to everyone.

  51. Kaimi on June 24, 2005 at 3:29 pm

    Elisabeth,

    Of course, the problem with using “humanist” as an alternative label to feminist is that for many people, humanist means a follower of humanism, which is a generally atheistic movement. Not 100% atheist — there are religious branches of humanism — but the kinds of humanists that you generally come across are of the secular humanist variety, which is sort of like a church for atheists.

  52. Shawn Bailey on June 24, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    That’s why I prefer “peopleist.”

    “People … people who need people …”

  53. Jack on June 24, 2005 at 3:53 pm

    Bryce,

    You forgot the “Okay” at the end of that exchange. That’s the best part! ;>)

  54. Emily on June 24, 2005 at 3:53 pm

    This at first had me baffled – I’ve never really labeled myself as a feminist- it has always held a negative tone in my mind as most feminists I’ve known have been the “men-hater” sort. So decided to hit Wikipedia to finally narrow it down in my mind and decide who I was in terms of feminism. What I found is that labels all have to do with your definition of them. I still don’t know whether I want to be equated with some of the groups of feminist thought, so I’ll go for humanist – that sounds better. Give to the Human Fund (seinfeld).

    This is how I have always seen “feminism”
    Some radical feminists advocate separatism—a complete separation of male and female in society and culture—while others question not only the relationship between men and women, but the very meaning of “man” and “woman” as well (see Queer theory). Some argue that gender roles, gender identity, and sexuality are themselves social constructs (see also heteronormativity). For these feminists, feminism is a primary means to human liberation (i.e., the liberation of men as well as women, and men and women from other social problems).

    So I learned something today. My label’s? Artist, lover, entertainer, wife, sister, daughter, conqueror, etc. etc. they change as the seasons of my life change.

  55. Elisabeth on June 24, 2005 at 3:53 pm

    Atheism aside, I actually agree with many principles of humanism. So maybe I’ll self-identify as a deistic humanist.

  56. Rosalynde Welch on June 24, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    Travis, thanks for the throughtful response. I don’t disagree that thorough, authentic dialogue should be the hallmark of a careful and qualified handling of identity—who could, really?—but I’m not convinced that that sort of communication can happen in the political sphere, which is where some important branches of feminism operate. I agree entirely when you argue that feminism has become so diffuse that without further qualification it works as no more than “a kind of political password or secret handshake”; but I’d argue, further, that there are certain tasks for which the pragmatic deployment of that sort of ideological sign is necessary (if not sufficient) beginning. Labels like “feminist” signal a very basic sort of positioning in the American sociopolitical landscape, and I think that politics absolutely requires the sort of schematizing reduction that the “landscape” metaphor implies. It’s difficult for me to imagine, for example, that feminists could have accomplished the sort of ideological and political work they have (for better or for worse) without constructing something called “a feminist” with whom other women and men could identify.

    Maybe this is where I do disagree with you (and Nietzsche, though I realize it’s absurdly presumptuous to think I could plausibly disagree with either of you)–it seems to me that the labels one affixes to oneself will in fact be realted to one’s interpersonal relationships in some meaningful way.

  57. Athena on June 24, 2005 at 4:35 pm

    One more song I’m sorry (but sorta glad) no one has mentioned as yet:

    I’m too sexy for this thread.

  58. roughrider on June 24, 2005 at 6:24 pm

    I am red-blooded, redneck, red, white and blue American patriot, conservative on ALL counts (with a weird libertarian streak, ask me sometime), Southerner born in the Northwest, military enthusiast with no military experience, a backpacker, a Scouter, a knee-jerk reactionary, a contrarian, a husband, a father, a God-fearing individual, a former missionary (and a slacker, because I’m posting this at work).

  59. Travis Anderson on June 24, 2005 at 7:17 pm

    Rosalynde, I agree wholeheartedly with your response above (56). Perhaps I should have been more specific when I posted mine. And perhaps I read your question as having more of a philosophical thrust than you intended.

    My point was not that labels can’t be useful and sometimes even necessary in various pragmatic ways and sociopolitical arenas (and for many of the reasons you just pointed out). But I read your post as addressing issues about genuine self-image and self-identity–and in that sphere I would still want to maintain that labels are more likely to be counter-productive and misleading than helpful.

    Yes, when you participate in, say, a political exercise where your grasp of audience and provincial constraints minimize misunderstanding (since, as Wilfried pointed out, “liberal” means something very different in Utah than in Europe–though you need not go that far, since there’s even a huge difference in the meaning of the word in Salt Lake County vs. Utah County), and where the label serves an important univocal function, then sure, it makes pragmatic sense to identify yourself to others as a feminist, or a democrat, or whatever–though even there, I would be a little afraid of anyone who uses such broad terms without at least a twinge of discomfort. But to apply such labels when you’re trying to discover or refine your own understanding of who you (or others) really are in any real existential sense can only result in a highly inaccurate profile–and most probably (contrary to claims by gst in 5 and 14 above, and Nate in 15), serves more to conceal your real nature than to uncover it (which often enough is our duplicitous aim when we employ such tactics to identify ourselves, since in such instances we’re not saying who we are, but who we want others to think we are).

    Self-examination in either a philosophical sense (be it Socratic, Nietzschean, Lacanian, etc.) or a religious sense (which seems to be the whole point of repentence, by the way) is anything but self-congratulatory; it’s a laborious, often painful, effort at honest self-transparency. And labels are little help in such an effort. When you’re thinking about who you really are in a fundamental sense, do you satisfy that question with ubiquitous categories like Democrat, or woman? I highly doubt it. I certainly wouldn’t want to associate with anyone who did. It seems to me that only the most superficial and insincere attempts at self-knowledge would do so; any sincere attempt would move immediately past the label to the many nuanced reasons you might, in very specific situations, identify yourself to others by using the label. For even though gender, for instance, is determinate of who you are, you’re certainly not a woman identical to every other woman–even in a physiological sense. Etc.

    So, yes, while descriptors like the many mentioned can obviously be helpful in presenting yourself to others in contextually registered and overtly contingent situations, I would maintain that they are of little real use when answering the question “Who are you?” And I thought that was the question you were asking.

  60. Harold B. Curtis on June 24, 2005 at 7:17 pm

    In my mirror I do envision
    What I’m taught on televison
    Good or bad I replicate
    And later on pontificate

    What lodges in my cranial closet
    I later stop and pause upon it
    Is it me I do debate
    Am I here by some odd fate

    Will I become some great divine
    If I’m able to define
    A master plan of great design
    And do it well, in time.

    Perhaps if I shall truly focus
    I wont get caught in hocus pocus
    But find at last the path I trod
    Is walked upon because of God

    Labels are a libel thing
    Made for paupers priests and kings
    I must find inside of me
    That which rules the mystery

    To live above the mark thus set
    By those who can not live it yet
    I must have a a greater reach
    And practise all that I can preach.

    Harold B. Curtis

  61. Travis Anderson on June 24, 2005 at 7:21 pm

    P.S. Though few would want or expect it, I also think that more thorough, authentic dialogue even in the political sphere would be a very good thing. We might even get one or two political leaders who didn’t have the IQ of a fungus.

  62. Rosalynde Welch on June 24, 2005 at 9:43 pm

    I just have to say… wahoo! A post of mine has finally merited a verse by Harold, and a good one at that, with internal slant rhyme and the british spelling of “practise.” Thanks, Harold!

  63. Rapid Eye Movement on June 24, 2005 at 10:06 pm

    I am, I am, I am superman
    And I know what’s happening.
    I am, I am, I am superman
    And I can do anything.

  64. REM on June 24, 2005 at 10:25 pm

    This is my world, and I am the world leader pretend.
    This is my life and this is my time.
    I have been given the freedom to do as I see fit.
    Its high time I razed the walls that I’ve constructed.

  65. Weston C on June 25, 2005 at 2:01 am

    I am not a psychotic otter.

  66. Keith on June 25, 2005 at 2:05 am

    Who can forget this?

    I am said I
    To no one there
    And no one heard at all
    Not even the chair.

    (Dave Barry’s response to this was something along the lines of–imagine the chair piping up “I heard THAT.”)

  67. Shannon K on June 25, 2005 at 9:36 am

    Rosalynde,

    This feminist question continues to fascinate me. I just don’t get it. It is a term that has entirely too many definitions for me to feel comfortable calling myself a feminist. I am certainly pro women and believe women should be treated well and think women are stong and smart and beautiful and wonerful. But I would never call myself a feminist. I think the term carries too much negative baggage.

    I also think animals should be treated well, but would never align myself with PETA because of the unnecessary negative connotations that come with the association.

    Calling myself a feminist seems much the same. I don’t gain a thing, but feel like I pick up a lot of negative baggage.

  68. Kevin Barney on June 25, 2005 at 3:11 pm

    For me the label is going to vary depending on context. I often say I’m liberal by Mormon standards, which makes me middle-of-the road by non-Mormon standards. (grin) But then, by Sunstone standards, I’m no longer a liberal, but more of a theological moderate, or maybe even a conservative.

    In the non-LDS context, I don’t consciously think of myself as a feminist, because I don’t necessarily agree with feminism as a political movement, and I am not well read in feminist theory at all. The term carries a lot of baggage that I don’t even profess to understand well. But in the LDS context, I do think of myself as a feminist, because I personally wish that women had the priesthood (even if I’m not a vocal activist on the point), and I appreciate and enjoy and resonate with the writings of LDS who self-identify as feminists, and for a lot of other very practical reasons.

    For me an interesting self-identification is that “apologist.” Many people blanche at the term, some see it as nothing more than “dispenser of argumenta ad hominem,” and I’ve seen it used as a term of disdainful derision. And then there are the many regular joes in the church who simply don’t understand the meaning of the word and ask “what are you apologizing for?” But I like the word (perhaps because, due to my classics background, I associate it with Plato’s Apology), and to me it does not necessarily entail direct chicken fighting with mindless anti-Mormons. I like to practice what I call “educative apologetics” (an expression I borrow from Roger Keller); my focus is on helpling Saints and investigators who are having a crisis of faith to see the issues that concern them in a broader context and from a broader perspective. And having a liberal background in the church is actually very useful towards that end; I find that in effect often what I do is give some struggling soul a little shot of broadening liberal thought on some issue, so that they can get beyond their limiting (often fundamentalist with a little f) assumptions. I think the most effective apologists bring a broad liberality of thought to the table.

    (And while I cannot speak for FAIR, I serve on their Board because this is also that organization’s approach to apologetics, an approach with which I agree.)

  69. Rosalynde Welch on June 25, 2005 at 4:06 pm

    Travis (#59): I think I was asking both questions, and that the difference between the two provided the structure for the (sparse) narrative. Perhaps because I’m just recently out of graduate school, and because I now do a fair portion of this sort of thinking on the blog—and because neither of these fora is particularly conducive to thorough, authentic dialogue—I’m accustomed to operating in spheres where the pragmatic work that labels like “feminist” can accomplish is a necessary beginning. The sense of freedom I felt at the possibility that I might not be a feminist, after all—or at least that I might not have to identify myself as a feminist—was probably my glimpsing a more personal and careful way of understanding myself. Still, though, and I know you don’t disagree, I want to stress that “contextually registered and overtly contingent situations” (lovely phrase, by the way, even if describing a not-so-lovely reality) accomplish a really necessary sort of work, and participation in those arenas isn’t something to be poo-poohed.

    Keith: My favorite so far!

    Kevin: Interesting reflections on “apologist.” I like it. And your strategy of owning the label but redefining (and enacting that redefinition) its meaning is an effective one, and one I’ve often tried to work with “feminist.”

  70. The Prisoner on June 25, 2005 at 10:58 pm

    Who are you?
    The new number 2.
    Who is number 1?
    You are number 6.
    I am not a number, I am a FREE MAN!
    HAAHAHAAAHHAAAAA.

  71. Shannon K on June 25, 2005 at 11:01 pm

    And to answer Rosalynde’s question:

    I am DKL’s Wife

  72. Travis Anderson on June 26, 2005 at 2:06 am

    Thanks for your responses, Rosalynde. I hope I didn’t sound too strident when posting mine. I admire the facility and comraderie with which you and Jim and other participants here converse with each other. I’m afraid I’m more accustomed to using the written word to articulate and defend philosophical arguments than to engage in the rather intricate and somewhat mysterious dance of blogging. Comes from reading too much Heidegger, I suppose (and from waging too many tiresome academic and administrative memo wars, where every word is freighted with potentially explosive political baggage). Every time I venture a response here I’m reminded with some frustration of Derrida’s (and Plato’s, before him) description of logos as a pharmakotic tapestry that weaves itself into unanticipated patterns as soon as we tie off a thread.

    At any rate, your observation about the freedom you felt when considering whether or not you were a feminist and glimpsing thereby a more careful way of understanding yourself occasioned recollections of wonderful evening porch discussions on similar topics with our neighbor Sheri, before she died last year of breast cancer. She was a very outspoken and articulate lawyer, whose soldierly passion seemed to segue effortlessly into contagious humor and hopefulness. And she always had something enlightening to say about virtually everything. I wish an internet conversation could offer that kind of “porch” rapport. There’s certainly a lot more on the issues you’ve raised that I’d like to discuss with you and your readers if it could.

  73. Jack on June 26, 2005 at 2:53 am

    Travis,

    I think you could have that kind of “porch” rapport on a blog if it weren’t for the fact that you can’t hang one of those bug zappers near by to get rid of the fastidious gnats.

  74. annegb on June 26, 2005 at 11:39 am

    I’ve never thought of myself as a feminist, I identify as an iconoclast, because I instinctively smart off to authority figures.

    But since I’ve been blogging, I’ve found I identify with a lot of women who call themselves feminist.

    Like today, I work in the nursery and I’m not feeling well. I called three men, not women, to sub for me. They all emphasized how important it was for them not miss priesthood. Like high priests do anything in their class but talk. They’re so surprised even to be asked. Last week I had our stake patriarch and an elder sub for us. They rocked. They had a blast with the kids.

    I’m going to push for men in the nursery. My husband said, “I’ve missed priesthood for two weeks now.” I laughed, and said, “I haven’t been to Relief Society for 3 months.” I think the men should rotate, two to every Sunday. It’s just funny to see the indignation on their faces.

    …to be continued.

  75. Jack on June 26, 2005 at 6:45 pm

    annegb,

    I haven’t been to priesthood meeting in over a year because of my calling in the primary. It’s been a joy.

  76. Seth Rogers on June 26, 2005 at 7:33 pm

    What do you do
    When the woman you love
    Becomes a weapon of mass destruction?

  77. Harold B. Curtis on June 26, 2005 at 10:01 pm

    Seth…# 74…..
    If the woman you love becomes a weapon of mass destruction….

    1. You must first identify what mess got her to the mass.

    2. If you failed to make a fuss and muss then the mass is your mess

    3. If the mass is your mess, mash the mess and mush the mass.

    4. A little mush will make the mass better and save your destruction

    5. To little mush may cause the mass to reach critical mass. Beware

    6. Now if your weapon of mass destruction has reached critical mass, you have a mess.

    7. Only the message can then mash the mess that made the mass

    Good luck agent 74…..the mass is worth the mush…please save us all from mass destruction!

    Harold B Curtis

  78. Floyd the Wonderdog on June 27, 2005 at 9:53 am

    Annegb- My wife and I team taught nursery when we were younger marrieds. Many of the children needed a man to be there. They would want me to play with them or read to them rather than one of the sisters. The daddy voice can in several times to quell potential homicide over a disputed toy. I approach each new Primary President and volunteer my services as an impromptu substitute. I can read the Priesthood manual on my own and I don’t really need the nap time that HP class affords.

    Who am I? I’ve learned that it is dangerous to put any one including ourselves in a box. Our personal Venn Diagrams overlap several circles, but don’t seem to quite cover the circle that is *me*. The only one that encompasses us all entirely is child of God.

    I’m also a cross between a Chihuahua and a Bull Dog.

  79. annegb on June 27, 2005 at 11:36 am

    I love that “potential homicide.” Only somebody who has worked in the nursery knows how true that is. It is amazing how very violent a two year old can be.

    But you’re right, the kids are better when the dads are in there. And our patriarch spent his time rocking babies, it was just the most touching thing. Those little kids just cuddled up to him.

  80. Seth Rogers on June 28, 2005 at 9:32 am

    When our bishop was released, he was called to teach the Sunbeams. Those little girls just loved him to death.

    He who is greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.

  81. Kingsley on June 28, 2005 at 1:12 pm

    Re #79:

    “Anyone who listens to a child’s crying and understands what he hears will know that it harbours dormant psychic forces, terrible forces different from anything commonly assumed. Profound pain, rage and lust for destruction.”

    — Ludwig Wittgenstein

  82. A. Greenwood on June 28, 2005 at 1:30 pm

    Elisabeth #56:

    There is a long tradition of Christian humanism, you know. Don’t be shy.

  83. A. Greenwood on June 28, 2005 at 1:37 pm

    I am a reactionary, a populist, a patriarch; a Saint, a soldier, a citizen; a farmer-attorney, drunk on words; a Deseret nationalist, an American patriot—
    and sworn man to the monarch of heaven.

  84. A. Greenwood on June 28, 2005 at 1:38 pm

    Of course labels are useful in the process of coming to know yourself. Coming to know yourself isn’t some kind of mystic exploration of one’s almighty and ineffable being–its understanding who you belong to.

  85. Kingsley on June 28, 2005 at 2:46 pm

    These who am I type things always run the risk of having the feel of a Disney heroine running through a forest twirling around with her hands clasped to her breast singing that inevitable song, you know the one. She’s staring into the heavens with such big, trembling, sincere eyes …

    Relax, Bele et al.! You’re Bele et al.!

    I like that idea of coming to know who you belong to.

  86. Kingsley on June 28, 2005 at 2:52 pm

    But I, I am skinny, red-eyed, bewhiskered student with a shaved head, wallet chain, sweet tattoo (Tinúviel in a circle on my calf), and, currently, black Pink Floyd t-shirt, grey pants, white socks, and black canvas sneakers. I am reading Borges and Charles Williams these days. My favorite food these days is split pea soup straight out of the can.

  87. Naomi Frandsen on June 28, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    I’m late on this thread, but talking about myself is what I’m most practised in (see that, Rosalynde? Practised?). Perhaps this has been brought up in the non-music comments, so feel free to dismiss this with a reference. I always feel a little uneasy when I call myself a feminist (which I do maybe 2-3 times quarterly). Deep down, I know that I’m wresting that term, maybe even co-opting it with hostile intent. I’ve never marched in a rally, I’ve never gone to a Voice meeting, I don’t own a “Feminist Majority” t-shirt–I’ve done none of the public, difficult things that other feminists participate in as their dues to a movement they believe in. Further, I believe a lot of things that generally fall along the conservative side of polemics. I dabble in gender essentialism, and I plan on assuming fairly traditional gender roles if I ever step off the lesbian continuum to live with a man. But several times quarterly, I say that I’m a feminist (usually to Mormons) because I want those Mormons to know that feminists can also be regular, church-attending members of the church. Actually, usually I tell other women that I’m a feminist because I want them to take feminism more seriously. But I also say I’m a feminist because my favorite Mormon women of the 19th century–Emmeline B. Wells, Bathsheba Smith–said that they were feminists. I think there’s a certain strain of Mormon feminism in my family, too, which I identify with. However, sometimes I feel dishonest when I say that. Am I really a feminist? Or am I just using that term for my own self-aggrandizing purposes, flouting the sacrifice and sincerity that others have put into it?

  88. Jack on June 28, 2005 at 5:56 pm

    Who am I?
    Where am I going?
    Here I sit all alone not knowing why
    Raise me up
    I’m going under
    Help, I think I’m going to di–

    (Suddenly, a round of fire is heard from an automatic weapon. Jimmy’s body dances in the air before it hits the ground. He is dead)

  89. Russell Arben Fox on June 28, 2005 at 6:34 pm

    “Coming to know yourself isn’t some kind of mystic exploration of one’s almighty and ineffable being–it’s understanding who you belong to.”

    Excellently put, Adam. Travis’s thoughful concerns about labels are quite valid, but they also seem to assume that the sort of dialogic experience that will enable self-critique and self-understanding arise without a grasping of a site at which such self- (and other-)revelation will arise. Of course the site itself is contingent; of course the full truth of that site will not appear at will and will elude our grasp regardless. Nonetheless, we have to put ourselves in relationship to a site, a claim, a tradition, a label, a family, a name; a conversation about feminism has to begin by someone pointing at someone, or something (maybe at themselves), and asking “How about those feminists?” That grasp may be clumsy, forced, and certainly limited, but the dialogue cannot happen otherwise. (At least, not until we develop the Vulcan mind-meld, at which the mystery of dailogue and discovery will become something else entirely.)

  90. Russell Arben Fox on June 28, 2005 at 6:41 pm

    Oh, I guess I should have added: socialist, populist, democrat, communitarian, nationalist, patriot, civic republican, social conservative, academic, intellectual, philosopher, husband, father, son, brother, Mormon, Christian, friend.

  91. Melissa on June 28, 2005 at 8:22 pm

    In that order, Russell? ;)

  92. Jack on June 28, 2005 at 8:40 pm

    Of course! Russell’s list is a journey into sacred space. (not suggest that the outer layers are profane) ;>)

  93. Melissa on June 29, 2005 at 10:05 am

    Naomi,

    I find your candid processing of your identification with feminism intriguing.

    I don’t think I ever called or considered myself a feminist until I took a strong public stand for women in a way that required personal courage and had lasting implications for my life. Only then did I take ownership of and feel comfortable in my feminism.

  94. annegb on June 29, 2005 at 10:26 am

    Ask a high priest to work in the nursery and watch his face.

  95. ACL on June 30, 2005 at 11:43 am

    I am an ENTP. And a feminist. No definition/clarification of feminst necessary–I am all of them.

  96. Christie Frandsen on June 30, 2005 at 6:47 pm

    OK — I feel compelled to clarify something: Let it be known to all you potential suitors out there, my daughter Naomi is NOT a lesbian!!!

  97. Jim F. on June 30, 2005 at 6:59 pm

    Christie Frandsen (#96), Huh?! Did I miss something? What required that denial?

  98. A. Greenwood on June 30, 2005 at 7:01 pm

    Ya know, Ms. Frandsen, that might have been intriguing some of them. Now their interest wanes. Too bad.

  99. Steve Evans on June 30, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    Ms. Frandsen, you are the coolest mom ever.

  100. Brian G on June 30, 2005 at 7:23 pm

    It’s okay, Naomi. No one you know reads this blog anyway.

  101. Aaron Brown on June 30, 2005 at 7:31 pm

    “OK – I feel compelled to clarify something: Let it be known to all you potential suitors out there, my daughter Naomi is NOT a lesbian!!!”

    Finally! Thank goodness somebody has turned the T&S discussion back to “gay” issues, where it belongs. I’ve been holding my breath for weeks for everybody to get back on track, and I swear my head was about to explode.

    Aaron B

  102. Jack on June 30, 2005 at 8:22 pm

    Somewhere in the middle of her comment (#87), Naomi says, “I plan on assuming fairly traditional gender roles if I ever step off the lesbian continuum to live with a man.”

    Thus, the fear that potential suitors might head for the door. I didn’t read anything like that in Naomi’s statement. But then again, being married with six children, I’m not a potential suitor.

  103. Harold B. Curtis on June 30, 2005 at 10:18 pm

    Do I have ability
    With measured agility
    Cognized without futility
    To see my nobility

    Do I see
    The I Am
    In man
    And me

    Measured in the press
    Must I confess
    That I am less
    By dress

    What if by design
    All I am is thine
    And thou art mine
    Divine

    If my eyes are set
    And I reject
    Am I suspect
    To the Perfect

    Is there clarity
    With out disparity
    For the verity
    Of my charity

    At last, shall I the first
    Thirst
    Be cursed
    Or nursed

    An ungathered hen
    With fluttered feathers
    When grain was cast
    At the gathering.

    Harold B. Curtis

  104. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 12:55 am

    I like movies where girls kick a–, e.g. G.I. Jane, because it proves to a sexist public that girls can kick a– in movies.

  105. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 1:01 am

    After Mulan I told my little sister, “That proves that you, too, could defeat a trained, cunning, murderous soldier five times your size if you were a cartoon.”

  106. Jack on July 1, 2005 at 1:32 am

    My daughter is watching Mulan even as I read your comment, Kingsley. (a long breathy whistle slowly descending in pitch) Wow. What can one say when one sees such work, but, post-Disney Disney.

  107. AS on July 1, 2005 at 8:49 am

    Hmmmm…I’m not much save a daughter, sister, student, woman, reader, American, Latter-day Saint. And good friends with Kingsley, the sole aspect of my life that will ever win me any fame.

  108. A. Greenwood on July 1, 2005 at 9:45 am

    Yes. One day, while the TV cameras roll, you can stifle a sob and say, ‘He always seemed so harmless. We just never thought . . . ” and trail off.

  109. Naomi Frandsen on July 1, 2005 at 10:09 am

    And thus I see the danger of saying anything I wouldn’t want my mother to hear me say. Mama, thank you for protecting my reputation. Steve Evans (#99)–you’re dead on; Brian G. (#100)–yeah, evidently just my mother, my sister, my sister’s friends, the former head of the BYU Honors department–no one I know, no one I should be worried about ruining an image with.
    Melissa–yes, it’s people like you, who have actually sacrificed for a cause, that makes me feel uneasy about calling myself a feminist. But because I’ve identified with feminist causes and philosophies before–particularly 19th century feminism–I also feel uneasy disavowing feminism entirely.

  110. Jim F. on July 1, 2005 at 11:52 am

    AS: Not only will your association with Kingsley win you fame (or is that notoriety?), but so will your parentage. (See, you can’t really hide behind those initials.)

  111. Rosalynde Welch on July 1, 2005 at 1:09 pm

    AS: So does that mean that my sister knows Kingsley, too? Wow, a near-brush with genuine ‘nacle cool. (For me, that is, not for Kingsley.)

  112. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    Gee, that’s funny, just last night I was sitting on my room singing “Somewhere Out There” to the enormous moon and hoping that AS, a million miles away, was doing the same. But sharing Times and Seasons is good enough I suppose.

    A. Greenwood, Jim F. — stay tuned!

  113. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    Sitting on my roof, that is …

  114. Lurch on July 1, 2005 at 4:25 pm

    …No such thing as a true (active) Mormon feminist. Men still call the shots and the women still obey. The only way an active Mormon who could be a true feminist would be if he were a male feminist. You can at least pretend you are a true feminist if it helps you cope.

  115. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 4:33 pm

    If you admit a male Mormon can be a feminist, your point re females is just snarky hokum. Contradictory. A hopeless mess, a muddle. Under your lurching parameters, anyone within the sun-clear moon-fair parameters of the Church is — right out!

  116. Jim F. on July 1, 2005 at 4:36 pm

    Kingsley, it was more interesting when you were sitting on your room, but I suppose it makes more sense to be sitting on your roof. –And I will certain stay tuned for good vibrations.

  117. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    I suppose that, given the fact that there was a mere couple of feet of roofing between my buttocks and my room, I was sitting on it as well.

  118. Stuyvesant on July 1, 2005 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve seen your apartment, Kingsley. ON your roof, ON your room, or even IN your room: They’re equally accurate, given the recent repairs that your landlord has done to keep the rain out. In other words, that duct-tape must sag at least partly into your bedroom when your bottom settles upon it, true? Bottom on, bottom in.

  119. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    AS, come home!

    I just found out that the Chevron has diversified its fountain drinks to include Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Coke with Lime!!

    And let me say, lest I be accused of threadjacking, that I consider myself a feminist.

  120. Jack on July 1, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    Bottom out.

  121. Jim F. on July 1, 2005 at 6:45 pm

    Kingsley, since you are not only a feminist, but a roof-sitter and a diet Mountain Dew drinker, your comments don’t really constitute a thread-jack (assuming that there is really such a thing). It is difficult to imagine a thread-jack when the topic is “Who are you?” Preface everything with “I’m the guy who ___” and fill in the blank.

    I’m the guy who is extremely disappointed to hear that you and AS are willing to subject your taste buds to aspertame. (Is that the bad influence of JS?) It was bad enough when the soft drink companies adulterated their products with corn syrup instead of sugar, but the move to aspertame was unconscionable. DON’T BE SEDUCED! It’s part of a plot by aliens to ruin our sensory faculties.

  122. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 6:59 pm

    All I will say about JS is, in the midst of my struggle to quit aspertame-laden beverages, he bought me a twelver as a gift.

    In all fairness, however, he didn’t know I had shakily climbed onto the wagon.

    I’m touched by your disappointment, and am with you 100% re the aliens. I’ve actually managed to slow my intake to 1 per day (that’s down from 8 to 10, no small feat).

  123. Kingsley on July 1, 2005 at 7:01 pm

    1 beverage, that is, not alien. My alien intake is still quite high.

  124. Jim F. on July 1, 2005 at 11:15 pm

    Kingsley, you misunderstand. It isn’t the beverage that is given by aliens, it is the aspertame. If I could get real sugar in mine, I’d be drinking seven or eight a day. As it is, I stick to one corn-syrup sweetened drink a day. I’ve not made the descent to aspertame.

  125. AS on July 2, 2005 at 5:42 am

    Rosalynde:
    I’m not sure if your sister and Kingsley have ever actually met, though they have published together (I don’t think that either of them was aware of the fact).
    Kingsley:
    I can’t wait for the aspartame-induced revelry. The Diet Coke here, though occasionally, and delectably, served in glass bottles, has a strange metallic aftertaste. I suppose that the necessary use of “metallic” in describing a beverage should turn me off to its consumption, but, alas, I’m hooked.

  126. AS on July 2, 2005 at 5:52 am

    Jim F.:
    I will admit that my aspertame habit finds its roots in my high school years, when I would with regularity steal my father’s Diet Dew in order to fuel all-night homework sessions. I believe that he now hides his stash in his car, or various crevices in the garage, in an effort to staunch the flow to my younger sister. But when you really want something, you always find it.

  127. Kingsley on July 2, 2005 at 7:27 am

    No, Jim F., I understood. It’s just that I’m always expressing myself muddledly.