Because I look like a really nice, submissive, middle-class suburban wife/Mom (not to mention the visual baggage that comes with my disability), I think I’m stereotyped a lot. People seem to put me into a class of rather gentle submissive wives. Most of the time this doesn’t bother me much–and I do think if I had a tat or obvious body piercings it might result in a slight loss of credibility when I found myself at a PTA Meeting or when I drove the morning carpool (not that that’s really important, but…). There’s definitely something to be said for looking innocuous.
However, what gets me frustrated occasionally, is when people suggest that I became disenchanted with Mormonism only because of John–that before that I was a totally satisfied Patti Perfect type of LDS member (because I just “looked” like I was). That line of thinking annoys me for two reasons: 1) That folks would think I would simply “follow” John out of the church without full awareness of the consequences; and 2) That my choosing to distance myself from the church wasn’t a decision that I made for my own reasons. I guess the third reason that it annoys me is that John was actually attending church fairly regularly until I told him that I wanted to stop. If anything, my departure is what precipitated his, and not vice versa (I know, I know, I’m just far too nice to be a true apostate, unlike John, who knows just when to use the f-word)…
Those people who know me well have a good sense of how liberal my politics and my spiritual practices have been for the past decade (or more). Sure I know what to say and when to say it (meaning that I don’t go talking radical feminism and magical realism in LDS Meetings), but I continue to resent the way my “look” is somehow more indicative of “the real me” than my beliefs or my intent.
I’ve tried to look more edgy and radical, but that’s just not my style. It’s far simpler to dress casually, to wear comfy shoes, to have a no-fuss hairstyle. I know I look every bit the conservative-leaning soccer Mom, and I’m just not sure that that’s going to change anytime soon.
Photo is a close-up of some chive flowers from my garden (with morning dew clinging to each blossom). Their loveliness belies their inner spiciness. :)