What about the boys?

There is a lot of attention these days about empowering young girls. Girls are now encouraged to learn about anything they want to, such as science or politics or economics. Fields that were traditionally male-only are being opened up to women. Women are being encouraged to speak up for themselves and stand up for their rights.

But what about the boys? While the toy aisle has been de-gendered, with Star Wars right next to Barbie and not separated by different aisles labeled by pink and blue placards, what about the boys? If it is now socially not only accepted but encouraged for girls to play with anything they want to and to learn anything they want, then are we opening up the same opportunities for boys? Can boys do traditionally girl things without being looked down on? Can a boy read the Nancy Drew stories in the same way that a girl can read the Hardy Boys? Can a boy play with an Easy Bake Oven or have a tea party in the same way that a girl can play with trucks and erector sets?

If we’re going to go for gender equality then we have to be for equality for everyone. It has to be okay for boys to be whoever they want to be and also not be forced into a particular mold or pattern of how they are expected to be simply because they’re born male. I think the world would be better place if girls can be whatever they want and boys can be whatever they want, with no limitations placed on either because of their gender.

While we certainly can use more female doctors, lawyers, and engineers, we also need to make sure that we allow girls to be stay-at-home moms or teachers or nurses if they want. There needs to be no shame if girls want to take on traditionally female roles or jobs. They do not need to be seen as “less enlightened” if they don’t become astronauts or politicians, but cooks or housekeepers. And likewise it should be okay for boys to be teachers, nurses, artists, or stay at home dads. One’s gender should not prevent or predispose one’s occupation.

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Thoughts on haircovering 6-7-2015

There’s something amazing about covering my head. It forces me to look down. This thing that I do to show honor to God forces me to look at God’s creation and God’s creatures. It makes me bow my head in humility and at the same time point me towards that which I must serve in order to truly show honor to God.

I don’t know if that is the point of head wrapping. I don’t know if that is intentional, or just an amazing coincidence. It seems that because of the pressure that it has on my head and maybe how I am wrapping, I feel that if I lean my head back, the scarf will slowly over the course of the day inch further back and eventually need to be retied or it will fall off or look more like a beret that a head wrap. Even with a velvet headband I don’t feel that it is going to slip off, but I do feel that it forces my gaze downward.

Also, I wonder why do I find it important that I show a little hair so that people don’t think I have cancer? Or that I wear cross so people know that I’m Christian? When I cover my hair, people could think it’s for any reason. They could think it’s because I don’t want to style my hair that day. Perhaps even worse, they might think that I don’t want to wash it that day. They could think that I have converted to a different faith such Muslim for instance. For some reason they would never ever think that I had converted to Judaism. For them it would be a step backwards. But so many people don’t understand that there are sections of Christianity that also cover their hair as a sign of modesty and humility before God. This is especially true if they are married women.

This is the South after all, and there is very little variety here. I’m at a disadvantage because of it. I really stick out. But why is it so important to me that I explain to them what I’m not without having to explain to them with words? I want to allay fears or concerns, but why do I care what they think? I’m not doing this for them.

I don’t want to bother people. I don’t want to call attention to myself. This defeats the idea of being modest. It also makes people feel uncomfortable. But seeing so much of exposed skin on people makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to see cleavage and butts while at work or the grocery store. That is for home or the pool. Western society has no taboo about having hair uncovered – everything is uncovered. I wear long skirts – the highest is two inches above my ankle – not two inches above my knees like many people. I wear short sleeve shirts, and show nothing of my chest. My clothing is not tight. The shape of my body is not for the world to see. I am not a product. I am not my body.

Some feminists think that women who cover their bodies are repressed. In actuality, if it is the choice of the woman to do this, it means that we are not objectified. We are not seen as objects. People have to look at us, as people, and not as packages.

Knowing people spend the majority of their days in mindless pursuits such as Facebook, playing video games, and watching movies and “reality TV” makes me uncomfortable. Knowing people are so mindless that they eat terribly, don’t exercise, and then are surprised when they get sick with chronic or terminal diseases makes me uncomfortable.

I don’t want to be like everybody else. They scare me. I want to be awake, and mindful. If wearing a headcovering helps me do this, then so be it. Maybe it will be just the sign to others that they need to be mindful about their lives and how they spend them.

Poem – Women are not things.

Women are people first.
We are not things.
We are not toys or tools.
We aren’t something to use.
We do not exist for your pleasure or fantasies.

Our bodies are just the vehicles our souls ride in.

We do not care if our bodies are
too tall,
too short,
too fat,
too bony
for you.

We do not care if our hair is
too dark,
too straight,
too kinky
for you.

We aren’t for you, you see.
We are for ourselves,
first and foremost.

We are our own guardians,
our own nurturers,
our own teachers.

We do not define
ourselves
in relationship
to you.

We do not need your permission
to vote,
to drive,
to work,
to feel.

We do not need your permission
to be,
period.

We are not
objects to be objectified,
possessions to be possessed,
or fantasies to be fulfilled.

We are people, pure and simple,
and if you don’t
start treating
us
like that
then you are missing out
on half
the human race.

Stop trying to
get our numbers
and
get into our pants.

Start trying to
know us
as fellow travelers
on this Earth,
at this time,
with you.

Feminism is sexism

I am not a feminist. I am a humanist. I believe in equal rights for everybody.

I don’t believe that it is fair or just for women to focus only on the accomplishments of women and ignore half of humanity.

I believe that everybody should have access to healthcare and good jobs.

I believe that everybody should be treated fairly and honestly.

I believe that if we focus only on our victimhood we will remain victims. Men are victims too and they have been excluded as well.

For women to have a female only-God is to exclude the male side of God as well. God has no gender.

A woman is being sexist if she only reads books by women, talks only to women, and worships only a female version of God.

It is important if we are going to move forward in this world that everybody be lifted up. We are not going to get anywhere if one group raises itself above another. If women raise themselves up higher than men that they are being just like the man who they say are oppressing them.

Teach about character, not cosmetics.

I have so much to say on this topic that I’m not sure how to unpack it. I’m concerned I’m going to ramble on all over the place. I’ve started this a few times. I’m just going to plunge in and go where it leads.

I’m deeply concerned with what women are taught. On a bigger level I’m also concerned with what men are taught, but I’m not as immersed in it. I think it is best to speak from your own experience. As I am a woman, I will start there.

We are teaching our girls to be empty objects. The teen magazines teach girls that their image is more important than their character.

They are taught more about makeup than mercy. They are taught more about cosmetics than compassion. Plastic surgery is more important than being a good person.

Everyone needs to learn about the beauty that comes from kindness, volunteering, and service.

Girls are also taught to put themselves last. While it is important to consider others needs, but they also need to consider their own. We are taught to please and placate. We make the peace at own expense. Perhaps this is training for becoming a Mom, where you have to put the needs of your children first for their survival.

But what about afterwards, when their children are grown? What about when you aren’t with your children? This training goes deep. This training shows up at work. It shows up in friendships. A woman will spend her whole life making sure that other people are happy. Meanwhile she is quietly miserable.

This comes out in depression and anxiety. It comes out as alcoholism.

We have to change the focus from surface to substance.

We need to teach women that their value is to be found in the work they do to make the world better, not on the work they get done on their bodies. Boob jobs and facelifts don’t make you or the world happier in a true and lasting way.

Have you noticed there are no “Teen Vogue” or “Teen Cosmo” type magazines for guys? Guy’s magazines are about how to fix things and how to explore and learn. Popular women’s magazines are about how to make yourself or your house more beautiful.

How empty. How vapid. How sad.

I’m not saying women have to dress like men or act like men. You can be a feminist and be beautifully made up and wear jewelry. But it is about being conscious of it. It is about it being a choice.

If you are beautiful on the outside and empty on the inside, you aren’t really real. You are a shell. You have been sold a one-way ticket to insignificance.

Eve was framed.

So many denominations teach that women are evil. They teach that all sin came from Eve. They teach that she ate from the forbidden tree and dragged Adam down with her. They use this twisted version of the story to justify not allowing women to be ministers, as well as justifying husbands being abusive to their wives.

Read the story for yourself, and then walk along with me here. Eve was framed. If you don’t have a Bible nearby, you can follow along with the website biblegateway.com. That is where I’m copying all these verses from, and I’ll be using the New International Version, partly because it is the default translation on that page. Feel free to use other translations. You’ll see the same story.

In Genesis 2:9 we learn that there are two trees in the center of the Garden of Eden. “In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” There isn’t just one tree in the center, like we are often told when others do the explaining for us. Already we learn that something might be different here. Maybe we have been deceived.

The Lord God created Adam first, in Genesis 2:7, and in Genesis 2: 16-17 we read “16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Then Eve is created. In Genesis 2: 18-22 we hear the story of how Eve was created from Adam’s rib. Please note that she wasn’t in existence when the rule to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are left to presume that Adam told her that rule. The rule is not repeated to her in the text. But we will soon see that something went wrong in the transmission. Just like in the game of “telephone” when we are children, the story changes a bit when it is shared from person to person.

In Genesis 3:1-3 we read “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Wait. Let’s compare that with what God told Adam. Yes, He said to not eat of the tree of knowledge. He didn’t say anything about not touching it. There is our proof that something went wrong in the transmission, and that Eve wasn’t told this by God. Eve got this secondhand from Adam. Some might use this as an excuse that women should listen to what their husbands say as if it came from God. If that is true, then the husband needs to repeat what God said exactly and not start changing it.

And, let us remember that neither of them had yet eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were innocents. They had no way of knowing right from wrong. They didn’t have the capacity to understand their actions at that point.

Then it gets really interesting. In Genesis 3:6 we hear this – “6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

Look at that last sentence. Adam was with her. He was standing right there the whole time that the serpent was tempting Eve. He didn’t speak up. He didn’t counter the serpent. He didn’t say anything. He let his wife do something that he knew to be wrong. He was fully aware of what was going on.

They eat the fruit together. Then the jig is up. They’ve become self-aware. They realize they are naked and they hide. God goes out to find them and asks what happened. Adam says to God in Genesis 3:12 “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” How passive can you get? He sounds like she forced it on him. He knew what tree the fruit came from. He had the direct knowledge from God that he shouldn’t eat from that tree. He was standing right there with her when the serpent was trying to deceive her, and said nothing. And then he blamed her and acted like she forced the fruit on him.

Eve was framed.