My fellow denizens,
Due to preparing to move and new job, I will be unable to complete the A2Z challenge in the given time constraints. The plan is to pick it up June 15-ish and finish then.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Let’s face it folks, within our species, we have genders; Male and Female. The difference between the two should be obvious, and if you don’t know them, well, I am afraid I can’t help you out there, chief.
Now, I am all about girls being able follow their dreams and become whatever they want to be. Does that mean it should be easy, and things should be handed to you? I should hear a resounding, “NO!” from my audience of 5. I heard a quote a while ago that stuck with me, “My mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be, as long I was willing to work harder and be better at it then the person next to me.”
I do realize that this image of following your dreams is heavily influenced by the fact that I am (half) a first generation American. Like so many other immigrants, my father’s family came to this country for a better life than the one they left behind. They had to work at it, but not only did my father and his siblings achieve that goal, but those of my generation are doing that as well.
But I digress.
Women should not prevented from earning less than a man. Nor should she completely degenderize herself so that she can do just that. A women can totally keep up with the boys without having to be one herself. You know what I am talking about.
College professors are similar. I remember in undergrad have one female professor who dressed like a women and did not have a very short haircut. She was ridiculed by students and colleagues alike.
One last thing.
While I am not one to advocate the whole barefoot in the kitchen thing, I do think that if a women decides to have a child, she should spend as much time with that child as she can.
There, I said it.
G is also for ginger rolls. Your welcome, Michelle.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Consider this the counterpart to “C is for Christianity; a Definition.” Due to the obvious constraints of A2Z, I was not able to put them together.
Going back to our dear friend dictionary.com, I was very surprised to find that the actual term was not coined in the 1960’s like so many of us believe. It was, in fact first used sometime between 1890 and 1895, around the start of the suffragettes movement. The definitions are as follows;
1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
3. feminine character.
Once again, the website knows how to do it right. Those definitions are clear and concise, if they are anything at all.
I am in concurrence with the first definition. In the job field, in education, or in regards to victims of crimes, women and men must be treated equal.
One must consider the fact that we have equipment men do not. We have the ability to truly procreate and give birth. The world at large, specifically the contemporary first world, mistakenly views this as a liability. True, if a female coworker does become pregnant, they do have to be concerned with the logistics of maternity leave. Believe you me, I can sympathize with that since I have had jobs where tedious logistics bogged me down and prevented me from doing my actual job.
That does not excuse the way women have to fight and even de-genderize themselves (more on that later) to get any attention in the workforce and academia. I do not agree with girls being told they cannot major in one thing or another because they lack the proper genitals. I do not agree with the way women are treated like they are lower than men when we are in fact the superior of the species.
After all, we give birth.
Monday, April 09, 2012
No, I am not going to use this as a forum to determine who is right about evolution. I am not going to waste this opportunity to talk about which came first; the chicken, or the egg, or the dinosaur, or The Doctor. That is not at all the kind of evolution that I am talking about the kind of evolution that fascinates me. The kind of evolution that, given much better circumstances, I would be writing a master’s thesis about. What I am going to talk about is the evolution of ideas.
“Everything flows, nothing stands still.” This quote by Heraclitus (yeah, I’ve never heard of him, either) appears to be the root of the saying, “the only constant is change,” and all the other variations thereof. While we may apply it to the various stages of life, I think that this applies to ideas as well.
One only has to look at Christian history to see this. As Christianity expanded to other lands, other interpretations began to be used as norms. Christians split into Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. This continued with the formation of churches like Coptic and Marinates. Then, in 1517, the monk Martin Luther, frustrated with the decadence lifestyles and corruption of Church officials, wrote The Ninety-Five Theses, originally meant as a criticism to shake up the pope at the time. This further evolved the theology of Christianity.
Even within a single faith, such as Roman Catholic, one can see we are ever evolving to meet an ever-changing world. The Second Vatican Council is a big example, but the more recent re-structuring of some of the wording of the Mass is an even bigger example.
The idea of pro-feminism is also evolving. As I have stated before, I think the idea is thousands of years old. Exodus, the book in the Bible that tells us of Moses, also tells us of his sister, the prophetess Miriam, and his wife, the mystic Zipporah. It is these women that Moses often turn to for consult. Abrahamic tradition (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) continues the story of women who were on equal ground as the main male characters.
As the Feminist Revolution dawned, it’s seemingly anti-establishment attitude seemed to be a direct attack on mainstream Christianity. About a decade later, Blessed Pope John Paul II (santo subito) greatly aided the further evolution of Catholic thought by writing about and fighting for women’s rights. In “A Letter to Women,” he writes;
“Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life —social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of "mystery," to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.”
To end, I challenge you to reflect on your own ideas about Christianity and feminism and how you too can evolve.
Saturday, April 07, 2012
According to Wikipedia, Blessed Pope John Paul II (santo subito) coined the term, “culture of life” during World Youth Day in Colorado in 1993. While its opposite, the term “culture of death” is not attributed to him, many of his writings contained references to those aspects of post-modern life that attack the “culture of life.”
Now, I would love to take the opportunity to analyze the 13 points that make up the “culture of life,” and how this is relevant to both contemporary Christianity and contemporary feminism, but that would result in a post so long, that neither of us would want to read it in the end. If you want to read into all 13 points, be my guest. Instead, I will do my best to paraphrase.
Human beings are creators. I honestly believe this is an inescapable fact, something so deep in our DNA that we could not change it if we tried. When God breathed life into us so that we became part of Him, that instinctual creative force that He gave us is what we mean when we say we are made in the likeness of our Creator.
Women, unlike men, were not only given the instinct to create, but the equipment as well. Our ability to not only create life, but to sustain it simultaneously with our own until it is to the point of self-sustaining (aka birth), makes us uniquely capable of nurturing the creative instinct.
Birth-control and abortion, and the recent movement toward “fertility rights” severely cheapen this ability. It likens our ultimate creative ability to a nuisance, an ordinary bodily function.
The other forces of the “culture of death” such as infidelity, murder, unjust war, are also destructive forces, and therefore, attempts to incapacitate our attempts at creation.
Now, it is something to ponder that in order to create, we must destroy. However, when the destructiveness does not end in creativity, nor does it have the goal of creation in mind, we should be dead against it. As thinking human beings, as Christians, as women, we should be dead-set against it. Otherwise, we are mere cogs in the machine that churn out more life-ending destructiveness.
Perhaps before we go further into this journey, we ought to set some guidelines. Namely, definitions of the two concepts that we are talking about.
According to dictionary.com, Christianity means, “The state of being a Christian.” Well, then I looked up what the same site said was a Christian, and I have to say, the answer surprised me. There were four separate definitions.
1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.
2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country.
3. of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades.
4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity.
5. decent; respectable: They gave him a good Christian burial.
Now I do have to give props to the dictionary.com people. The first 4 definitions are broad enough that they pertain to ALL faiths that sit under the umbrella term Christian; Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Mormon, and the seemingly thousands of Protestant faiths.
The last definition, I must say, is my preferred one.
This goes along with what I always thought the definition of being a Christian is; someone who is decent and respectable. We Christians have a wealth of a resource when it comes to how we define ourselves in the Bible, and those of us who are Roman Catholic have practically a library of scholarly writings by saints and popes, as well the Catechesis, what we believe is the end-all and be-all book of Roman Catholic laws (its online with its own search engine if you are ever interested). I have not read all of these, but I hope to someday. St. Catherine of Sienna’s (who was illiterate her entire life, btw) work on a women’s role in the Catholic church is suppose to be really passionate and relevant no matter what century you are living in, but I digress.
Personally, I like to look at the Gospel according to St. Matthew for a basic definition of Christianity. It is all there; the Beatitudes, the Golden Rule, and my personal favorite,7:1-5. That thought is what I will leave you with today:
1 Stop judging, that you may not be judged. 2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. 3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? 5 You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Over the weekend, I saw a friend of a friend that I have not seen in some time. In fact, I have not seen her since my birthday back in August. Since then, she has become pregnant. Her due date is in a few weeks. Needless to say, she didn’t take me too seriously when, after we hugged, I touched her cheek and said, “How beautiful you are!”
Exactly, what is beauty? Now, I have thought long and hard about this. I even posted the question on my Facebook wall. However, it would appear to me that the cliché of “Beauty is in the beholder” is true.
To a Roman Catholic, perhaps the ultimate form of feminine beauty is the Virgin Mary herself. My personal favorite is the image of Mary as the Virgin of Guadalupe; an olive-skinned young girl, dressed in robes covered in stars, outshining the sun. “Blessed are You among women,” we pray, echoing the arch-angel Gabriel’s address to her when he asked her to bear Jesus. Yes, as many of you may recall from your elementary religion class, he asked her. She could have easily said no. But she didn’t.
It would be my guestemation that if you were to ask your standard-issue post-1960’s feminist what is a beautiful women, she would say someone who was strong, or educated, or courageous. They would perhaps even name some female iconoclast in a math or science field. I would agree. Someone who is strong and courageous enough to pursue their dreams, no matter what they are. Someone who can rise above the criticism, even if the criticism is yet to come. A beautiful women is someone who is walking down to the isle to receive their diploma, or sitting behind a teacher’s desk, or a ceo’s desk. A beautiful women is a lawyer in her final trimester of pregnancy, gathering up the courage to begin a new way of life in Jacksonville, a way of life that I am willing to bet no class in law school prepared her for.
A beautiful women is an engaged young women who was able to look into the face of an angel and say, “Yes.”
Sunday, April 01, 2012
There has been an underdeveloped idea that has been stuck in my craw since undergrad. Maybe before that, but I am not sure.
I am sure, however, of the two ideas whose convergence created the new idea.
Idea #1: I am truly in love with my faith. At an early age, I fell head-over-heels in love with Jesus, and many had me pegged as a “Future Nun” before I was even out of elementary school. The lives of saints inspired me. Mary became my confidant and it was She who I would whisper secrets to that I was not comfortable even writing in my own diary about. When I needed comfort during those nasty teenage years when parents just don’t understand and friends are a luxury, I often could be found sitting on my bed either praying the rosary or reading the Bible. From Junior year of high school and even now when I take any FLDOE exam, I have a rosary either in my pocket or wrapped around my left hand. In college, although I may have not made it to weekly Mass, I never wavered in my prayers and study of my faith. Even when I was ridiculed by both classmates and professors in philosophy class for holding on to my “repressive” and “ignorant” belief system, I never faltered. Even to this day, I am always trying to learn something new, or remember to pray every day.
Idea #2: Women’s studies is equally inspiring and interesting. I did not take the opportunity to take any women’s study course while in college, but I consider myself well self-educated on the subject. Women’s roles, and the evolution there of is endlessly fascinating. The way the “feminine ideal” has bend and stretched in the way that society needs them to is something I do not hesitate to geek out on.
The convergence is this.
I consider myself a feminist. No, I am not trying to be silly, or ironic, or sarcastic. I really am a feminist. I believe in women’s right to choose a profession, a life, a breakfast cereal. Something even crazier, I believe that Christianity, specifically of the Roman Catholic varietal, and pro-feminism are not mutually exclusive concepts. I do, however, think that the idea of feminism is centuries old even if the word is less than a century old.
So this is what I propose.
For the A to Z blog challenge, I will prove to you that there is a crossroads between Christianity and Feminism. It will be a journey full of bumps and maybe even boring stretches, but it will be the journey that I will be on, and I invite you to it as well.
Just don’t forget a snack. There won’t be many pit stops on this road trip.