More Misc.

A few more notes on the sexism issue.  I completely agree with Megan’s take on the sexism of forcing prisoners to wear a pink jumpsuit, and I absolutely loved the Gloria Steinem quote.  (I have a lot more to say about that quote, but I may have to save it for another blog entry, b/c I only have Jack’s nap time to write this one, and I have a lot more to say!)  The most shocking sentence of the article was the second sentence, which claims that for some, being forced to wear a pink jumpsuit “represents the ultimate humiliation as the final shred of dignity is stripped away.”  So, looking “girly” represents “ultimate humiliation” and the shredding of dignity???  How is this not sexist?  Here’s a case in point of how our society doesn’t even think twice about many of our sexist attitudes.  This morning I was watching the news, playing with Jack, and reading my new issue of Parenting (now that’s a snapshot of parental multitasking!).  The magazine always includes readers’ responses to questions that they ask, and this month’s question was “What do you let your kids do that you’d never tell your husband?”  This quote stopped me in my tracks: “He’ll never know that when he was deployed, our son had a baby doll with a matching car seat.  We got rid of it before he came home!”  Wow.  So what did that teach her son?  It sends her son a lot of messages, but it boils down to this: it’s not OK to act like a girl.  If this woman’s daughter had played with trucks while her husband was deployed, would she have gotten rid of them?  Of course not.  Why?  Because it’s not shameful for a girl to play with boy toys, but it is shameful for a boy to play with girl toys.  Now, this doesn’t mean that I am fundamentally against allowing kids to play with toys that fit traditional gender stereotypes.  The truth is, I’m a girly girl.  And despite the fact that Amélie likes to get dirty and absolutely loves bugs, most days you will find her playing with her babies and dressing up and pretending like she’s Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana.  I don’t know where Jack’s interests will lie.  Right now he loves his cars and balls, but he also loves to affectionately chew on the cheeks of Amélie’s dolls, (much to her chagrin–“No, no, Jack!  You’re hurting my baby!!!”). 
I just want to allow my children to be who they were created to be, and that includes not sticking them into a gender box.  And if Jack (God forbid!!!!) ends up in a jail someday, I want him to change his behavior because it’s the right thing to do, not because if he goes back to jail he’ll have to wear a pink jumpsuit.

Now, I’m going to hop from a feminist soapbox to a spiritual one.

Hop.

The other day I was reading James.  For almost the past 2 years I’ve been reading through The Message, and I’ve been so inspired, encouraged, and challenged by drinking in this fresh take on Scripture.  I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about this verse in James 1: “Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”  I think many Christians often latch on to the last half of this verse (sometimes to the extreme, in my opinion), so I’m not going to focus on that, although it certainly deserves its own space to write and think about.  It was the first half of the verse that struck me.  Now as a bleeding heart liberal and proponent of social justice, of course I’m going to like this verse.  But wow.  This is heavy stuff.  Reach out to the homeless and the loveless.  Do we as believers do this?  Do I do this?  Not really.  But this, according to James, is the definition of real religion.  Real.  As opposed to the fake, stuffy, three-piece suit, better than thou kind.  So where does that charge leave me?  It leaves me lacking, that’s for sure.  I know this sounds like an excuse, but I’m not sure what to do.  I need some help here.  How do you practice “real religion”?  I have been (half-heartedly) looking for a place to volunteer.  I’d love to volunteer someplace where I can bring my kids, because I’d like to teach them what this “real religion” looks like.  Any ideas? 

I have so much I wanted to communicate in this blog entry, but my post seems a bit muddled.  Tom and Jerry is playing in the background and the list of things I should be doing instead of sitting here writing is playing in my head.  Maybe I will have more clarity later, but for now….here are my passionate, albeit jumbled, thoughts.

Hey–I’m still taking votes on the Zune versus the Ipod, still collecting workout playlists, and still wondering if anyone wants to participate in my homemade non-toxic cleaning party.  Also, I’ll definitely respond to the book tag, Paul! 

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mamajenny on January 13, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I, too, struggle with wanting to know how to put to practice “real religion.” I have thought about us volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen downtown. I think Jacob would be able to be helpful, and Ethan could probably help some with someone alongside him the entire time. What to do with the baby is the issue there… Finding a way to include the entire family in serving is key, I think. As much as I’d love to leave Heath here to watch the kids while I go serve the neediest among us, I feel that that would be neglecting serving those closest to me, and I don’t think that is what Christ intended. I think He intended us to live this life of service that would, naturally, first encompass those closest to us, and then seep outward, especially touching the neediest and most neglected around us.

    I appreciated when Todd shared some statistics about homeless people in our city at church a month or so ago. I am always wondering, who is it that needs help, anyway, and how can I find them? So this was enlightening, and I’m glad he gave a practical way that we could help. I know people who perpetually or intermittently need some financial help, but I find I am often out of touch with those who are truly lacking necessities of life.

    Reply

  2. Thanks for opening up on James. I too have struggled with how to incorporate this into our lives. I so often want a structure life that runs smoothly and routinely each day. This attitude does welcome service . . . it might interrupt my day! But I’ve been asking God to show me how to serve, what to set aside, when to chuck the schedule out the window, and then when to say no. Today, our local paper mentioned the need for drivers for Meals on Wheels. I first thought, that would be great, I could do that. Before I finished the article I had talked myself out of it . . . why do we do that? I’ll let you know how this develops because I no longer want to be complacent or apathetic (do those things mean the same thing?)

    Reply

  3. Oh and on the sexist thing, I haven’t posted b/c I am really straddling the fence here. I do believe that there are double standards in what is appropriate for boys and girls, or even men and women, and I don’t believe putting prisoners in pink is a good idea, humiliation is hardly a deterant. But, I also know that boys and girls are different. I guess it comes down to knowing your own child . . .

    Reply

  4. Posted by frenchgirl on January 14, 2008 at 8:31 am

    darn. meant to bring my shuffle for you on sat. it’s really basic–you’ll prob want something more fancy, but you can try it.

    cleaning party–maybe that’ll motivate me to clean more! sure, why not?

    Reply

  5. Posted by clbeyer on January 16, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    How I wish I could join you for your homemade cleaning party. I’d really like to make some of that lovely lavendar-scented all-purpose cleaner you have. Could you send me the recipe sometime?

    Reply

  6. Posted by clbeyer on January 16, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    A friend just told me tonight about Vogel Alcove, a Jewish organization in Dallas that provides free child care for homeless children. It helps them through some of their most important developmental years. I think it sounds like a wonderful way that maybe we as a family can love the homeless.

    Reply

  7. Posted by chill24 on January 17, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    i’ll have to share in person with you my thoughts on the “true religion” quote from james. i do believe it’s true but our situation confuses me about God’s expectations. maybe He just wants it to be as simple as loving His people (everyone). hmmm…thanks for making me really work this out.

    Reply

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