10/1/14

just say no to dress codes.

It's my Senior year of High School and we were sitting in a "Modesty Meeting."

There were no boys there, of course. Because not only would it have been inappropriate to include the boys and expect them to cover themselves as well, it would be unthinkable to discuss female body parts in front of them. Female body parts are dirty and yet also don't exist. Don't ask me to explain it. Nobody really gets it. 

We talked about arbitrary rules, how low was too low, how high was too high, given even more arbitrary measurements to make sure our provocative bodies were hidden (skirt length to the fingertips? Why, thank you, Gorilla arms, I guess I'll wear pants all year.), and had a mildly unhealthy discussion about how our bodies were causing all the little boys to sin. Sin, sin sin. Goodness, I have no idea how those boys learned at all with all the devil boobies surrounding them. 


Growing up with the Modesty Mentality, this kind of treatment was nothing new to me. Some people said it nicer than others but the message was still the same. 

pull your skirt down. 

pull your shirt up.

wear layers in the summer. who cares if you're hot. 

we're embarrassed by your thighs. 

your shoulders are sexual.

your body is dirty. 

your body is to blame.

hide it. 

hide it. 

think of the boys.

hide. 


I didn't separate the idea of slut-shaming from the idea of modesty until after I was married. I thought them to be the same thing. I assumed that being ashamed of your body was paramount to how much you loved yourself, how much you loved your fellow brother's in Christ. It became a game, sliding from one extreme of How Much Can I Show And Still Be The Good Girl and Not Get Sent Home, to How Holier Than Thou Can I Be To Prove How Much I Respect Myself. 

It wasn't until I escaped High School, got married and started appreciating all the goodness a body can do, and started using clothes as an artistic outlet that I saw how damaging the More Clothing = More Respect equation can be. 

Which brings me to my new vendetta. 

No. More. Dress. Codes. 


I need to clarify that I am speaking specifically of dress codes in a school environment and not a workplace (that's a whole other kettle of fish, m'dear). To me, dress codes in a school are incredibly sinister because of the impressionable minds they are molding. 

You will hear, of course, after some read this that dress codes are needed. Kids get distracted, they say, by other kids. They say it will be hard to (actual quote) "study with tits and ass hanging out". The only way children will learn, they say, is by being surrounded by mindless drones who have their dirty bodies covered so their pure eyes can scan the textbooks in a completely silent room.

The implication is alarming. 


Dress codes teach:

1) Originality is bad and distracting. 

The school in particular that I went to had rules against boys having hair longer than their earlobes, "extreme haircuts", unnaturally colored hair, facial piercings, tattoos, and other body modifications. 

This is terrible, not only for the fear it instills in children against the tattooed and pierced community, but also for how much it takes these hormone-ridden and trying-to-find-their-place children and squishes them into a little box, refusing them an important outlet of expression. Children who feel as though they are not able to express themselves act out. Children who feel as though originality is bad will grow up to treat the "Weird" kid with cruelty. 

2) You are not responsible for your actions if you are a boy. 

The major focus of our Modesty Meetings was how to keep our brothers from stumbling. That's right. The sliver of thigh atop my knee was going to send my brethren careening down a dark path where he would trip straight into hell. 

Nevermind that their eyes are in their head. Never mind that their head is attached to a neck with nerves and muscles and shit. Never mind that in the bible there is a passage which specifically states that one look is unavoidable because people pass through our vision, but that it is up to the man not to take a second look. I would like to point out that even the bible recognizes that choosing to gape and fantasize lies squarely on the dude's shoulders. 

Dress codes, however, are built on the foundation that if a body is in the room, the man will look at it, he will be distracted and driven to sin, and that it is the girl's fault.... for.. existing in the same room, I guess. 

Note: My husband, who is extremely attracted to women, would like to point out that a beautiful, confident women is attractive no matter what she is wearing and if she was covered in head to toe it would still be possible for a man to choose to be distracted and lust after her. 



3) the bodies of women are dirty and dangerous.

I know some will try to frame dress codes under the guise of "self-respect" and that "women's bodies hold so much power they need to be covered". But, you see, saying that respect for a woman hinges how much skin she does or doesn't show is dangerous. You are defining her worth as a person by the outside. You know what else did that? Slavery. 

Not only does this mentality scar women sexually -- by the way, going from NO DON'T HAVE SEX IT'S DIRTY to YES YOU'RE MARRIED HAVE ALL THE SEX NOW DO IT NOW LOVE IT LIKE IT GIVE IT ALL THE TIME doesn't work --  but it throws vulnerable teenage girls under the bus, held captive by her own changing body that she cannot control, being told her body is a weapon of mass destruction. When you emphasise the body as bad you make this girl feel like she deserves bad things. 


Arbitrary words, arbitrary judgements.

When you apply these limits and labels to women, when you insist that you need to be covered to have respect, when you insist that Boys Will Be Boys and that "they can't help it",

this is what you are saying.





This is going to be a surprise to people who purport dress codes, but rape isn't triggered by anything. 

Rape is not about sexual attraction.

Rape is not about opportunity.

Rape is not about "that type of girl".

Rape is about violence and hatred. 

Stop giving rapists excuses. 




love,
a




9/28/14

the last.








Today was, I'm certain, our last 80-degree day of the year. 

I can already feel it in the morning air. Autumn cold has a chill that bites as opposed to Summer's sleepy gumming of a misty morning. Twice last week I saw my breath as I walked outside to my car. It's very surreal to think that last Thursday I was wearing a hat and gloves to watch the kiddos play outside, and today I had to disrobe my layers right after J turned the camera off. Autumn has a human-like duality. I think that's why it endears to so many people. 

Me? Not so much. I like my summer, my sweat, and my shorts. 

I also like myself some white/off-white lace dresses, seeing as I have three in my closet right now. There's something so romantic about lace but it can get wedding-like real fast. To counteract the sweetness I added stripes and bright color combinations. It was my ode to the retreating summer. 

love,
a

white lace dress -- thrifted.
striped vest -- thrifted.
yellow sweater -- thrifted.
necklace -- thrifted!

9/23/14

all I can see is red, red, red now; what am I gonna do?













Happy finally-officially-autumn day! There's nothing to welcome in that season between hot summer and bone-chilling winter like an overload of red clothes and fall-ish things. 

In my thrifting adventures Saturday afternoon with my sister, I found this faux-leather, shiny red boots. The heels rides thick and low and the deep color makes them perfect for the chilly times to come. So naturally I had to wear them Sunday morning when J and I went out apple picking. And then I had to wear them again for our walk/errands later. And then I kept wearing them inside because why not? 

This season, when thrifting, keep your eye out for big coats and bigger necklaces. They are both quite the hot commodity. Chunky knits are still the rage, as is layering whenever possible. 

And plaid. Just say yes to plaid. 

love,
a

red dress -- thrifted!
boots -- thrifted!
chambray shirt -- thrifted!
jeans --thrifted!
red plaid sweatshirt -- forever 21 sale rack. (c-c-c-combo breaker)
gray sweater -- thrifted. 





9/20/14

Pumpkin and Summer Squash Soup.


The weather is getting chillier in this maine city. I went from forsaking a coat all day to wearing three sweaters. Gone are the nights of quick dinners and cold sandwiches eaten on the deck. We need heartier food to warm up from nose to toes. 


I present to you an incredibly simple soup that involves 5 ingredients ( not counting various spices you may want to put in) and a definite warm-you-up-from-the-inside dish. 


You start by slicing about half of the onion and simmer it in a little bit of olive oil, just until the onion is translucent. Be sure not to let it burn, or else that distinctive taste will permeate the whole soup. 


Add three cups of vegetable broth to the pot and let it simmer for about two minutes. I like to chop my veggies and take pictures of them while I wait. 


Add the chopped squash and canned pumpkin. 


bring to a boil and then immediately turn down to simmer until the soup has become one. All smooth and stuff. Make sure to stir. 



When the soup has been liquified (or I like to keep it a little bit chunky so I can taste the squash) remove from heat and garnish with spices. I prefer lots and lots of pepper. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, top with nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds. 


I prefer to serve this delicious soup with a side of even better side of bread. In my opinion, this soup is so smooth that a thick, crusty, wheat bread with all those chewy things in the crust tastes the best. 


In other happy news, I went to the doctor and found our that the mysterious lump in my neck is not, in fact, cancerous but my immune system working overtime because I work with kiddos (AKA adorable germ factories), Then the doctor told me to eat more bread. So that was fun to hear. 

love,
a




9/17/14

just busy.


As I'm sure you've noticed, I've been absent for over a week. I've had quite the busy time, dear Decaffinites. I've been driving and swimming and working and cleaning and packing and wedding-ing. J and I spent the weekend in Kittery and then Portland, photographing the wedding of our good friends and partying hard afterwards. If by party hard, you mean watching Hell's Kitchen in the comfort of a big hotel bed and then falling asleep early. Yeah. I partied hard.

So I have little to no shame about skipping blogging and preparing pictures for blogging over the weekend because I'm learning to balance blogging with living and this time, the living won out. 

To console you, however, here are some Outfit Of The Day pictures over August and late July!

Fun fact: I went shopping tonight and bought a pantsuit. To be shown in later posts. 


















please note: MY HAIR IS LONG ENOUGH TO BRAID NOW. HALLELUJAH.

Also, please be expecting a yummy recipe post and a short story later this week. 

love,
a




9/9/14

upta camp.














Inspired by the sights and sounds of camp, I choose this littler layered number for our trek to Knights Point on Sunday. 

Having grown up in a family that constantly went camping (the real kind, in a tent, yo) and who spent time at the ocean-side family camp, I find a particular kind of solace in relaxing by the water. Perhaps it is the reason summer continues to be my favorite season. 

With the sun beating down on your face and warm air coating you as a second skin you don't have time for fancy. I left my makeup and fuss at home, opting for a wide-brimmed hat and flowing strapless dress. Blue and orange remind me of water and fire, the cool and the hot, both extremes that visit you readily when you are camping.

J and I are gearing up for an extremely busy weekend where we get to be photographers for our friend's wedding! As you may have noticed, I do not posses a high-end camera. I have the thoughts for great shots but have always lacked the technology to make them come to life. In order to practice for the wedding, however, J and I have borrowed a friend's camera with which these amazing shots were taken. Just a few days with such a glorious piece of equipment has convinced me to start saving up for one of my own. 

love,
a

strapless dress -- thrifted!
blue shawl -- thrifted.
black hat -- thrifted.
scarf -- thrifted!