Choosing an Appropriate Halloween Costume

October 30, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

The weekend before last I posted the following photo and description on my Instagram feed.
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Halloween = my favorite time for over-saturating social media with photos of my kids. For this party Miss is a loose interpretation of a samurai, Mr is Buzz Lightyear.

If you visit my account you’ll see that my loose interpretation of a samurai costume hit some nerves, and cultural appropriation is something I’ve been thinking about ever since.

The podcast http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/category/stuff-mom-never-told-you/ just did an episode on this titled “What Not to Wear on Halloween” and I think it’s a great listen if you’d like to spend some time working through this issue.

This is the conclusion I have come to: It is never appropriate to represent or impersonate a negative or offensive stereotype of a currently-living group with a costume. Additionally, a privileged group should never dress as a member of a group they have oppressed, offended, or reside above in a given area (either presently or in the past). Be culturally sensitive about donning costume inspired by foreign cultures, particularly those your own culture has oppressed or attacked in some way.

If you have enough not to be homeless, you should not be dressing as a homeless person for Halloween. Living without a home is not a joke. If you are healthy, don’t dress up as a cancer patient. Having cancer is not a joke. (If you actually have cancer, feel free to dress up as someone with cancer. Maybe it can be a make lemonade from lemons kind of situation?) “White trash”, illegal alien, blackface. All are offensive. One of the Stuff Your Mom Never Told You hosts pointed out that at the end of the night the Halloween participant gets to go home and take their costume off. They may have been pretending to be a Black, mentally ill, incarcerated character, but after the party is over they get to go back to being a white, wealthy, TV personality. A better homage to Crazy Eyes would be donating some money to a cause that support similar women who need assistance getting back on their feet after incarceration.

I’ve cited some examples that I consider to be very obvious, but there are some I can’t decide on. What if I want to dress as a maid? Maybe the sexy French kind, maybe as someone in regular clothes who carries around a mop and set of rags all night. I think telling someone that they can’t dress as a maid somehow implies something negative about being a maid. But if I picture Paris Hilton dressing as a maid I get a bad taste in my mouth – it feels wrong. Same thing with dressing as an auto mechanic, or Walmart employee, or coal miner. Where is the line between personifying an idea and making a joke out of it?

I think the best approach to choosing a Halloween costume is to think about the person you are representing and decide how you are portraying their personhood. Most importantly, think about how they might feel if you were to encounter them in person. If there is any hesitation on your part, or any possibility of offense on theirs, choose something else. If you don’t know if something is offensive read about it on Wikipedia or ask someone who is well-read. If you’re reading this I’m going to assume you have the means at your disposal to create almost anything you can dream up; unique and creative costumes are the best kind anyway. Leave the flat jokes and hurtful stereotypes to the comedians who aren’t savvy enough to come up with sharp and innovative material.

Easter 2013

May 05, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Now I am going to show you some pictures of my kids from Easter.

We went to an egg hunt that was held in Menlo Park and I was not impressed with the “hunt” portion. There was no hunting. Just eggs dropped on a football field and picked up by dashing children. It worked great for T1 though, because this was his first hunt and he was very polite, giving everyone else a turn and moving very slowly as he tried to figure out why we were picking up eggs that policemen had dropped out of a giant bag a few moments before.

He experienced his first ever tootsie roll that day. It made for some good video footage.

This is the best I could do when it came to “photo with the bunny”. He had no interest in sitting in the lap of a person dressed in a creepy bunny costume, and I wasn’t about to make him do it (I wouldn’t sit in that lap either).

The next day I had a fabulous time putting them in Easter outfits and did my best to get a picture of both of them dressed up and not crying. Who knows how often that will happen in the future!


T1 is 3

April 16, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Parenting

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T1,

These posts are going to get harder to write as you grow older. As a baby you make rapid physical changes, but the mental developments aren’t really manifest yet. At this age though, you change dramatically from day to day and it’s getting hard for me to keep up. And I LOVE it. Go ahead and outpace me as much as you’d like little one, because there are few things that make me happier than watching you grow, develop, and embrace the world around you.

I’ve been writing down notes about you on my iphone for months now, but it’s hard for me to capture your personality in a few paragraphs. You’re determined, sweet, forgiving, excited about life, fascinated by the world around you, and love to be with other people (though you love to soak up every second with your dad most of all). Everyone who has spent time with you, whether it’s for a few hours, or on a regular basis, describes you as a sweetheart and a great kid to be around. We agree.

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28th Birthday

April 15, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Personal

My life today, the day I turn 28, is so different than where I was at last year. I didn’t know we would have a daughter, I didn’t know how much I would love living on the San Francisco peninsula, I didn’t know my ideas about… everything would have shifted so dramatically (I’ve been watching the Supreme Court arguments anxiously hoping that marriage will be an option for everyone no matter their sexual orientation by this summer, a far cry from what you heard me saying in 2008!).

I didn’t know it was possible to be this happy.

I am so grateful that I was born in the place I was born, to the parents who raised me, to get to spend the rest of my life with the person who means the most to me in the world, to have so many things I want and never have to worry about what I need, to have two delightful children that are going to shape me into a better person, to have so much to look forward to in the future.

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Family Photo by Kristin of Dezember Photography

And a little addendum I’m going to attach to this post for my favorite friend Paige, who we left behind in Chicago and that I miss so much:

Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for a friend, your wife, or yourself (:  ? 

Saren Loosli, the founder of PowerofMoms.com is coming to Chicago to lead a premium retreat June 3rd from 9:30 to 12:30 with a Yoga session after.  Located in a beautiful mansion in Beverly, IL (Southside of Chicago), the retreat will focus on mothers bringing more peace, purpose, order and joy into their lives.  

Like members of any other serious profession, mothers need opportunities to network with other moms and learn and share “best practices” in their field. 

Click HERE to sign up and learn more about this awesome opportunity! 

Christmas 2012

February 02, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

Consider this a recap of everything Christmas/Holiday related from 2012. :)

We kicked things off with a visit to the Los Altos Festival of Lights. We arrived right when it started and found decent seats (bring your own chairs!), didn’t have to park too far away, and found the length to be just perfect for T1′s age and attention span.

I pushed for a real tree, but we decided to get a fake one in the end. This one has a bit of a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree vibe, but it was inexpensive and pre-lit with LED and the perfect tree for us at this point in our life. I hope That Husband knows that eventually I want to go down to Santa Cruz and cut a real one down and bring it home!

T1 spent most of his time managing our efforts.
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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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