Category Archives: news

humanity

I first heard of UVa student Hannah Graham’s disappearance through friends on facebook who know her personally. Later Monday evening in the Women’s Prayer Group offered through my church, a couple of students who are acquainted with her spoke of the difficulty they were having processing the incident.

We lit candles as we prayed for her life and the lives of others. And that visual image of light – of lives alight with concern and hope – shattered the safety net I’d placed around Charlottesville and around my life even as it helped unite us. It hit me hard. I’m not sleeping very well.

It’s every feeling, all at once.

It’s the what-ifs of a young woman who vanished, it seemed at first, without a trace. The uncertainty of what dangers await every young woman in this quiet town. The realization that our houses and our buddy systems and our routines create only a semblance of control. We have so very little control.

It’s sheer terror mixed with anxiety mixed with the desperation of hoping for her safety and fearing the worst. I feel for her and her friends. I fear for myself living in a world where someone can somehow stop being so quickly.

 

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Hobby Lobby pro-life?

I already talked about the Hobby Lobby case in various corners of the internet, but I realize it’s something I should address here because I take an approach few critics are taking, and it has a lot to do with the topic of my blog, Style Wise.

If you haven’t already heard, the Supreme Court exempted Hobby Lobby from providing certain types of birth control believed to act as abortifacients (basically, birth control that keeps a fertilized egg from implanting on the uterine wall). While I’m ideologically pro-life, I think it’s better to regulate the market and make safe options available to women than to restrict more invasive types of birth control. But I’m not all that disturbed by the immediate repercussions of this particular case. What scares me is that the court had to argue that Hobby Lobby is protected under rights normally granted to individuals. Corporate personhood is a slippery slope!

hobby lobby quote

All that aside, Hobby Lobby represents a type of Christianity prevalent in America that so heavily favors capitalism it can’t see the plank in its eye (that’s a Bible reference! Matthew 7:5). I should know because I worked there for a year. Because I helped set up a local store, I got to see the first boxes of products arrive. I had a lot of time to read the labels and scrutinize the products. As it turns out, the majority of products are made in China. And this isn’t artisanal stuff; it’s sweatshop quality. Even the custom frames are shipped from China. It doesn’t take long to realize that Hobby Lobby, a company that plays Christian elevator music over its speaker system and donates to Texan homeschool organizations, is making profit – a lot of profit – on goods sourced from sweatshops.

There have been several articles that point out the hypocrisy of buying product from a country with a one child policy, but I don’t think this approach goes far enough. It’s not just about abortion! If you’re going to be pro-life, that should extend to everyone. Everyone deserves a chance at life, even poor people in China, even non-Christians, even people who don’t like Americans very much.

hl2

What kills me about the Hobby Lobby case is that they had the resources to revitalize their production chain and provide better wages and better protections to the people who toil to make cheap shadow boxes and “handcrafted” garden statues, but instead they directed their time and money to the petty task of trying to prove a point about the shortcomings of universal health care.

october is fair trade month

fair trade month graphic

October is Fair Trade Month. It’s the perfect opportunity to encourage fair trade in your life and the lives of others. Buy yourself some fair trade chocolate. Buy your friend a fair trade scarf. Read up on fair trade and the companies who support it. Boycott companies with a history of human rights violations. Buy from local, small scale farmers and artisans.

Do your part to make the world a little bit better. For everyone.

For more resources, check out Style Wise‘s Retailers and Resources tab. And don’t be afraid to Google what you want to know.

*The links above are examples of retailers and resources that can help you shop more ethically and sustainably. Don’t worry, none of the links are affiliate links.

links.

colonial hot cocoa photo

Just wanted to stop in to let you know about a cool, informal anthropological study/blog on women and marriage called The Marriage Project. According to the blog’s founder:

I want to interrogate the “sacred cow” of marriage, to ask questions that women tell me they are seldom asked about what’s assumed to be an inevitability, a step taken by  people  in love (depending on what state you live in and your gender and sexual identity) are told to take if they are really “serious.”  In short- what’s the difference between what we’re told to believe about marriage and the reality? Ultimately, it’s  a tool for women to connect with one another, and to talk  about how marriage and other choices  impact how we understand the notion of feminism, femininity and what it means to be a woman.

I’ve spent a good chunk of time reading the personal stories on doubt, love, and fulfillment, and even contributed my own story.

If you’re itching for more reading, I encourage you to keep up with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s wherabouts via The Guardian‘s As It Happened feature; learn about the reasons for America’s startlingly high suicide rate; or follow along with Rachel Held Evans as she discusses the complex relationship between sex and the Church.

why I buy secondhand

why i buy secondhand relevant

My article, Why I Buy Secondhand, went live on the Relevant Magazine website earlier today. I’m excited by the responses, shares, and dialogue created by it so far. Take a look if you haven’t already seen it.

I may write a follow up to it on Style Wise if it generates enough of a conversation and/or it becomes apparent that some things need clarification. Thanks for your support! – Leah

tom tom founder’s fest

tom tom founder's festival

The banner went up for the Tom Tom Founder’s Festival about a month ago when I still worked downtown; I kept telling myself I’d look it up when I got home. I started to hear of food trucks and live music and talks. Friday night, Daniel told me that he was having an awesome time perusing local art, enjoying a bustling downtown atmosphere, and attending a poetry reading. Since I worked ’til 10, I was determined to make the most of it on Saturday.

My friend, Greta, and I headed downtown around noon. We stopped in for some bing (dumplings) and peanut salad at Song Song’s Zhou and Bing, then headed over to Low Vintage, my favorite vintage shop in town, where we bought a few items and chatted with Nora, the owner.

low vintage lo4

The weather was perfect for a lazy stroll down the mall. Eventually, we meandered over to Lee Park to enjoy the live music. We sat on the grass and ate locally made popsicles – I had the Strawberry Hibiscus and Greta had the Banana Macademia Nut. We took our time people watching and generally enjoying the atmosphere.

charlottesville downtown mall flowering tree strawberry popsicle

Spring festivals make sense. We’ve suffered through the dark winter months and we need to celebrate. We need something to gather outside for, to come out of the woodwork for. We need to be reminded that we exist together in a community and that we collectively deserve to enjoy the moment before it passes.

tt5 purple flowering tree

If you live in the Charlottesville area, think about taking part in the final events of the weekend – they’ve got a few interesting talks lined up for this afternoon.