Saturday, November 6, 2010

Barker, Sexual Harassment at BYU, and Agora

Tonight Dan Barker is coming to UofU and giving s presentation or something. Hopefully a decent amount of people come out to it. I'm honestly expecting not too many people, lol, but it is in SLC so maybe there will be. It's in one of the buildings next to the Union building on campus at 7:30 for anyone who might be interested.

I haven't written much about BYU in the last month cause I haven't really had anything. See, I'm not on campus much, I don't have much reason to be. Since coming out to a decent amount of people some just don't care to hang all that much, my schedule doesn't work well for lunch, some friends aren't on campus when I am, and I don't even need to be on campus 4 days out of the week. Ahh, the wonderfulness of having no classes on 4 days. Go me.

However, for work we had a meeting yesterday about having a respectful campus. Which translates to 'sexual harassment awareness.' I should have written this yesterday, but I ran out of time talking on the phone between running errands and eating dinner and having fun on a Friday night. So first I got to make a decently uncomfortable remark en route to the meeting with the group of people going. A few of us were talking together and then something got brought up about homosexuals somehow and BYU policy an such and we joked about 'don't ask don't tell.' Then I said in my joking fashion while also having an agenda, "Yeah, but BYU wasn't like that back 30 years ago, they were like 'tell us so we can kick you out!'" Some tittering ensued, nervous and awkward silence followed, and then the girl talking fell back to talk to some other people. Lol. Yup.

Course at the meeting we had even more BYU fun. The nice older mature lady talked about the 8 or 10 different protected areas, such as race, religion, sex/gender, genetic information, and others. She explained all of them too, but we focused mainly on sex/gender since it was about sexual harassment. However, a couple sample questions regarding religion were brought up and I was happy to see that BYU wishes to respect religious views. Especially since many employees are often the foreign students and generally the 1000-some non-LDS people on campus are almost always foreign. I wanted to somehow bring up atheism, but I held my tongue, and ate some donuts I had brought.

Regarding homosexuals she brought up some of the protections they receive but then was real smiley when she pointed out that since we are a private religious institution that we can do essentially whatever we want. She seemed too bubbly saying it and I was pleasantly surprised when a few guys and girls behind me commented on that, "she acts like that's a good thing," and "she seems too happy saying that," etc.... Nice cognitive dissonance.

The sexual harassment stuff went really well. I was glad that they brought up some examples of how men can be sexually harassed. I remember from grade school how the courts in the USA were still having a hard time deciding if men could be raped. I'm all for feminism and equality, which has been brought up a lot with my significant other, but I think sometimes men are downplayed on any equality and sexism we receive. The LDS church certainly tries to overcompensate for any sexist views they have towards women by then bringing up sexist views towards men. I don't think the LDS church is alone in this. But as I said, I was glad BYU recognizes that there are issues of men and women treating men in sexist ways on campus and that the harassment goes and comes from everywhere.

I also had to laugh when the lady was talking about how dates are not 'innocent' requests, but that asking is not harassment. When asking what the goal of asking girls on a date is one guy answered, "the long-term goal is SEX!" Everyone laughed, and she repeated it for those who didn't hear. Good job BYU, you make me laugh. I'm sure there were more funny things, but I was pleasantly surprised that the meeting came off well and fair ... except towards gays but at least some people are more consciously aware of the plight of gays within Mormonism.

I also would like to point out that the Atheist of Utah ... or Salt Lake City atheists, are watching Agora tomorrow at the Sizzler around 1130. That's in SLC. I've been looking forward to this movie for about 6 months. I only expect it to be 'decent' but I'm hoping it's good. I also had a part to play in it's showing cause I brought with up with Richard, the main guy there, and explained the premise to him and once I mentioned Rachel Weisz was playing Hypatia he recognized the story and got excited. I told him it wasn't out yet, but would sometime in the future. See, it's been out, and had moderate success around the world, but America didn't really want it. It combines some elements in history and is about the Christians essentially taking over Alexandria, burning the Great Library, and then Hypatia the pagan/atheist intellectual of her time and her run-in with the old version of fundamental Christians. I hope it's at least good or else I will be sorely disappointed. However, I am happy it finally got released in the US.

Oh, and isn't that a cool movie poster? I love Rachel and I'm excited to see her portrayal of Hypatia.


  1. Did you attend the lecture? I was able to make it, and am glad I did.

  2. Someone made a film about Hypatia? Cool!

  3. I'll be writing about Agora soon, it was better than I had expected.