As I was saying...up to the point, I read Bud's article concerning Judy Cox's displeasure with the T-shirts, I knew nothing of the story. For any of you, that also might be unaware of the details let me catch you up... a mother was shopping with her 18 year old son in a mall in Odum, UT and passed a window display of t-shirts showing scantily clad women. Odum, UT is a city that is made up in large part by members of the Church of Latter Day Saints members and has some rather stringent laws pertaining to the display of sexually explicit material. Judy felt the shirts in question violated those local "decency" laws. After speaking to the store's management, she was told that the display was a corporate decision outside of her control. Then.. she went to the mall management. They basically told her that they would check into the matter but it would take some time.
Soooo...Judy went back to the store and bought every one of the shirts that she deemed too explicit for a store that caters to young children. She was quoted as saying "These shirts clearly cross a boundary that is continually being pushed on our children in images on the Internet, television and when our families shop in the mall." She paid $567.00 for the shirts and says that she plans to return them before the 60 allowable return date policy by Pac Sun. She hopes that in that time she can work on the policies that allow them to be displayed. In the mean time, the shirts won't be available to purchase.
Anyway...my post isn't really about whether Judy is being too over-reactionary or too "up tight" or too puritanical as much as it is my dismay at how people have reacted to the story.
After I read Older Eyes article, I Googled the subject and was shocked at the reaction to people to Judy and/or her purchase of the shirts. Overwhelmingly people ranted against her and often gave her implicit directions on "what she could do". Some of the more imaginative suggestions involved Judy's husband. Crude, to say the least.
Thought Number One: Virtuous or Villainous
If you are a comment reader like me, I would be curious if you find as time goes on that more and more the comment sections are full of venom and animosity. It seems for every rational, intelligent point of view there are dozens that are vile. In response to the offending T-shirts article, Gawker had hundreds of comments vilifying people of various religions including Mormons, Catholics, and generally Christians. (one guy called them Christens...which made me think if you are going to insult a group at least spell the group's organization correctly) saying:
Please stop insulting both our intelligences and just say what you mean to say when you throw around the word "family": "White, heteronormative Christian families where women are treated like sexual cattle". This would be both more precise and less subtly offensive to everyone who doesn't fit your rigid, bullshit.
Over at the New York Daily News the very first comment says: The American Taliban are alive and well in Utah. Time to send in the troops.
After reading dozens of comments making the leap that anyone associated with organized religion is a zealot or assume that they stereotypically have only one way of looking at things, I became more than a little irritated. I would be hesitant to use the phrase "old fashion" values as it might imply that I am not opened minded regarding current social issues. I tend to be very liberal by nature, so most things I would be firmly in the "pro" column but I am also Christian. (or Christen as the case may be)
(I only mention this in passing as, I am very respectful of other people's choices to follow/practice a religion or not. Who am I to think that my thoughts on the subject are any more accurate that yours?)
Back to the topic at hand...Not every Christian is as easily offended as Judy as far as T-shirts in the mall. But in her defense. She didn't rob the store and hold someone at gun point, she bought up the product that she wanted removed. I admire she followed her conscience. I am laid back on that sort of thing, I would of just walked on by. If I had been with my 18 year old we probably would of had a discussion that was very frank. I wasn't the kind of parent that tried to shield my kids from much. (By the time my kid was 18 I am pretty sure he knew what girl's parts looked like and wouldn't have been caught dead in a trashy t-shirt depicting semi-naked women.)
BUT...Really, when did having a belief system (within the confines of being legal and moral) set people up as being the enemy? When did having virtues become so abhorrent and vile?
Thought Number Two: Being KIND is a virtue.
I was looking at various lists of "virtues" in preparation for today's post. There are numerous sites that have varying lists of supposed virtues. For a master list of Virtues, Vices, and Values you can click here. How handy to have a list to tell you what traits are the good ones to have versus what traits aren't.
All in all, my thought here today is that while I believe in people's right to express their opinions, whatever those opinions would be...WHY can't they be expressed in a kind and mannerly way? Why does every little incident require animosity and confrontation?
Can't we agree to disagree. OR discuss things in a civil manner?
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