Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yo mama

Yo mama so fat she goes to a restaurant, looks at the menu and says "okay!"

I think people have put "yo daddy" jokes out there, but I have never heard a single one used. I'd like to say that they use "yo mama" because it gets people riled up because they honor their momma but I don't think so.  Usually, "yo mama" jokes are for fun and all parties laugh-it's a joke.

I don't like to blow innocent things out of proportion, yet I think that 'yo mama' jokes are a part of and stem from disrespect in general of women. I have a big problem with the fact that most 'yo mama' jokes begin with "yo mama is so fat..." because women have been socialized to think that if they cannot have attributes that make them 'like a man' and able to survive in that world then the only option they have left or their only asset is their body. Therefore, their body is where they put all of their effort and the assessment others make of their body is where they receive their worth.

This week at camp, we had quite a few twelve and thirteen year old girls and at least a handful were overly concerned with their body and appearance. I began to cringe at every 'yo mama' joke and heard a lot of stuff that I hope I would have noticed whether they were there or not. These girls made comments about their weight and getting too fat. Most did not want to be seen without foundation on. A girl made comments like "when my mom was my age she was skinny like me and then she got fat." It sounds like this girl was a parrot of her mom and the phrase had been said more than once. The same mom reprimanded her daughter when she saw her eat two sno cones and cotton candy at camp. She asked her "do you KNOW how many CALORIES you just ate?" One girl had purposely not brought her swimsuit and only one pair of shorts. I was so happy and proud of her when she started wearing her shorts and even when she wore her jeans she rolled them up. I told her that God thought she was absolutely beautiful and that the staff at camp did too. I hope one day she notices the absolutely stunning smile she has. The one I started to see more of as camp progressed.

In Timothy there is a passage that tells women not to be overly concerned with braiding their hair or what they wear and I don't think it is necessarily because women are overly vain but rather because doing so will take your focus off of God and also because God knows that we need to know that there is more to us than just our appearance no matter what the world throws at us or what men say without thought (and with plenty of thought as well).

I hate when a woman is broken down by her looks-piece by piece. I hate that when a women gets up to speak she is looked at first and then, perhaps, listened to. Most likely, the crowd that heard her will talk as much about the way she looks as the way she speaks. Not so with a male speaker. The same with a female athlete, her physical ability is not so interesting as her physical appearance. If she is slim then you would think that is enough, however, she could be "too muscular." If she isn't slim, and didn't perform well, it's probably because she's "a cow." I've heard it, I've heard it from guys I know really well too. It is so prevalent and so accepted. If you have a problem with it then you are too sensitive and you are laughed off. If you are a guy and don't participate, you are looked at sideways-that is, if you are already cool. If you aren't cool and don't participate, you are a nerd or effeminate. At the least you are just left out which nobody in their right mind wants.

I even remember some girls in my youth group asking some of the guys what their favorite part of a girls body was. I had never ever thought that way and I felt like a whole chicken prepared, cut up, and ready to be barbecued. This one liked legs the best, breast was the best meat, thighs were his taste. I had never noticed each part of my body so acutely before then.

I'm sorry but I don't believe that 'men are just made that way.' I think that excuse is meted out too often, from mens mouths, from the pulpit and, often, with a sigh or laugh, from women's mouths. I believe that we were all born with a sin nature and that people may tend toward certain sins than others (because of genetics, gender, nuture, or decisions). But I believe there is not excuse for men to act this way, for women to act this way, or for daughters and sons to be raised where this is acceptable.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Female Chauvinist Pig

“We decided long ago that the Male Chauvinist Pig was an unenlightened rube, but the Female Chauvinist Pig (FCP) has risen to a kind of exalted status. She is post-feminist. She is funny. She gets it. She doesn’t mind cartoonish stereotypes of female sexuality, and she doesn’t mind a cartoonishly macho response to them. The FCP asks: Why throw your boyfriend’s Playboy in a freedom trash can when you could be partying at the Mansion? Why worry about disgusting or degrading when you could be giving-or getting- a lap dance yourself? Why try to beat them when you can join them? There’s a way in which a certain lewdness, a certain crass, casual manner that has at its core a me-Tarzan-you-Jane mentality can make people feel equal. It makes us feel that way because we are all Tarzan now, or at least we are all pretending to be.”-excerpt from Female Chauvinist Pigs (pg. 93)

"In her memoir, Wells Lawrence returned fire at Steinem. 'What a silly woman,' she wrote. 'I wanted a big life. I worked as a man worked. I didn't preach it, I did it.' How scalding. How convincing. Who wouldn't pick action over nagging, suceeding over hand-wringing? Who doesn't want a big life?

There's just one thing: Even if you are a woman who achieves the ulitmate and becomes like a man, you will still always be like a woman. And as long as womanhood is thought of as something less than manhood, you will be thought less of, too." -excerpt from Female Chauvinist Pigs (pg. 112)

"Adolescents are not inventing this cuture of exhibitionism and conformity with their own fledgling creative powers. Teens are reflecting back our slobbering culture in miniature." -excerpt from Female Chauvinist Pigs (pg. 146)

Female Chauvinist Pigs It was my plan to write my thoughts on this book as soon as I read it while everything was fresh in my mind. Alas, camp started and I never did it. The main reason I read this book (and it caught my attention) was because it was uplifting to see that someone had written about a trend that I felt like only I had noticed. I knew this couldn't be so, which is why I say "felt" instead of "thought." I also felt confirmed by the fact that when I made mention of my notions to other women they didn't have anything to say in response. They did not seem to care and yet, to me, it is such a devastating and harmful trend. It could potentially be (and I think is) full of consequences to women and men and it hurts me as a women to the very core of being created and born a female.

If ever there were a time that females were actually united in the belief that we were created equal to men, even that is now being degraded. Through indirect word and action many females have advocated the idea that to be female is less and that it is something to rise above. To be 'like a man' is the best goal we can achieve.

The idea that one can make a list that encompasses what it is to be 'a man' is ridiculous in the first place. To then make it your goal to reach the requirements on that list is disheartening. What is special about being a woman? The thing that is the saddest in all of this is that one of the requirements, apparently, of being 'like a man' is to practice the degradation of females -and females who look to achieve this goal have no problem with doing so. If they do have a problem with it or if you have a problem with it then they like to label what they do "empowerment."

Just as I believe that the word 'disobedient'' is more accurate to describe some children than labeling them as "ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder)" I believe that condoning porn, engaging in breaking down a female by her looks, saying a phrase that begins with 'women are always...', or proclaiming that you 'don't even like hanging out with women' is still degradation and not empowerment. Calling other women 'bitches' or 'sluts,' where did that come from? We already fight a double standard imposed on us-when men are confident they are 'manly' and inspiring when women are confident they are 'bitches' when men are promiscious they are 'manly' or studs when women even enjoy sex (forget having a lot of it) they are 'sluts.' Am I advocating sex before marriage? Hardly. I am advocating a single standard.

I am advocating the equality of women. I can hear the Christian Males lamenting already..."where are the women from the 1800s?" I don't think 'equality' means being like a man. I think I have already expressed a problem with that. I find it funny and revealing that so many 'strong' Christian men and so many Pigs (whether male or female) have the same ideals. I think equality means that women are regarded and honored for their unique abilities and that it is recognized that you cannot always put those in a neat package. I think equality means that men aren't threatened by women who are as good at something as they are and women aren't called to act like or think that they aren't as good at it. I think that on a basic level equality means that I am not designed to please men. I am designed to please God and to fulfill the plan God created for me. Which might mean I am in a role that is aggressive. It might mean a woman never gets married or has a baby or keeps a house (GASP). It might mean something other than nurse, teacher, means that I am not like all other women, it means that I am also not like a man and that it isn't my goal and it has never crossed my mind for it to be my goal.

So, here I am. I didn't write so much about the book as where the desire to read the book came from. However, it is startling that the woman who wrote the book is not a Christian (and mentions the fact) but has a lot of the same general ideas we should have regarding the raising of our daughters and sons and the liability and grotesqueness of pornography and anything resembling it. She compares the satisfaction of looking at pornography to claiming you had a feast after looking at the Food Pyramid Chart. Where are the gentlemen and why is it 'natural' for a man to lust and unnatural for a woman? Why is rape supposed a 'woman's fault' in some cases? Why do young (and old) women have such a skewed view on how to please men and why is that their concern when all is said and done?

This is not quite as neatly put as I would like. But, of course, I have more to say and hope that I can post blogs that are more specific. They will cover this general topic, but focus in on certain parts of the problem. Maybe they won't and they will be written when I just feel like something really needs to be said. Until then...

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