Bridging Stereotypes Through Blogging
Picture a Mormon woman. Many specific traits come to mind, some profound, some superficial. Even if many of the stereotypical traits fit, they don't fit everyone, and sometimes they fit in unexpected ways. Blogging helps to break down stereotypes because superficial barriers like age, race, economic class, and geographic location are stripped away, and people meet others who wouldn't normally be in the same real-life social community. By exchanging ideas and stories, whole categories of people -- that one person might ordinarily have mentally filed as "other" -- come to life. Because blogging isn't just broadcasting but is two-way communication, the blogger challenges other people's prejudices about her at the same time as she expands her own horizons by learning about others. Mormon women bloggers have seized their ambassador role with gusto, showing the diversity of the Mormon community while finding common ground with people in other communities.
I'll also be announcing Laura Moulton's session, School of Saints:
School of Saints is a novel-in-progress by Laura Moulton, who attended BYU from 1988-1993. It spans a period that includes events ranging from an on-campus protest of the first Gulf War to the fireside in which Howard W. Hunter was accosted by a man claiming to have a bomb. It also includes the introduction of BYU’s controversial “Statement on Academic Freedom,” as well as the dismissal of professors and excommunication of the September Six. Moulton will read an excerpt from the book and discuss the joys and challenges of writing a coming-of-age story set at the Lord’s University.
This is going to be a fun session as well! It turns out that Laura and I were at BYU at the same time -- I was there from Fall of '89 to Spring of '92 (I was highly motivated to study hard and finish quickly...). I don't think I knew Laura personally, but we probably had some mutual friends since I knew people who participated in the Gulf War protest. And, as you know, I wrote a fictional version of the BYU experience as well, but I'm guessing we're covering some very different ground in our respective stories, so I'm looking forward to meeting Laura and comparing experiences!
I hope to see you there! :D