Category Gender

95 posts

Women are less

Growing up in a religious conservative circle taught me this ever so explicitly. They would try to water it down and say “no you’re equal, but different” the place of women is in the home, in the kitchen, pregnant or raising children. Not in the “world”, not working, not doing anything that would in any way put her in equal standing with men.
This article makes me sad – no, angry because it’s true.
People very close to me believe, truly, that women are in some way stupid and need men for guidance. I was taught that women are “easily mislead” and thus need men to teach them and “lead” them the right way. Like we are animals to be trained, or horses to be broken. It follows that women, once they reach adulthood, should not be listened to – that it’s okay to completely write them off as “emotional”, “misguided”, or “hormonal” – it’s all too easy to take anything anyone with a vagina has to say and instead of taking them seriously, say they’re just whining, not happy, or one of those evil feminists not worth listening to.
It’s taken me years to come to terms with my womanhood, with the fact that I have the horrible ability to reproduce within my body. It’s taken longer to accept the fact that I am human, and that as a human I have value – that isn’t reliant on whether or not I have a penis on my body.
Unfortunately, I still find myself in circles, exposed to the lies of my youth – who believe that women are for reproducing, teaching, cooking, cleaning, and if you’re lucky, making things and maybe having an in-home business selling house-wifely things like sewn goods, jewelry, or food.
I take issue with the god I grew up with. The god who decided that as part of “the curse” women will be in horrible pain during their reproductive cycle, while men just have the “curse” of pulling weeds or  “hard labor”, and the snake lost its legs. I can’t separate the misogyny of the religion of my youth, with what may or may not be true about christianity. I can not see god as loving when he inflicts half the population with a lower status, half a life of pain, and sets them up for being written off and told they’re stupid until the end of the earth.  People say Jesus raised the status of women, which, in the culture of his day may be true, but people who are supposed to be “like Jesus” massively fail and take the easy way of misogyny as written in the apostles over the example of the deity they claim to love and serve with all their heart and soul.
Women are “equal” in the sense that they are “people”, complete the largest chunk of reproduction, and in christianity have “equal access to god”. But in practice? Women are less, women are challenged and put down when they say things or step outside of the box, they’re labeled and personally attacked when they “make a crack in the glass ceiling”. Because  women being assertive is not allowed, still. Women having a voice, or control over their own body is still frowned upon.
Things I thought were resolved with the suffrage movement and the right to vote are resurfacing in this election and it hurts. It makes me feel ashamed to be a woman (scared, even), having been born with boobs and without a penis makes me feel trapped. I feel like everywhere I turn I hear old men, and some women trying to fit me into a box – the box I worked so hard, and wrestled with and tore myself apart over to escape. The box I’m still trying to completely escape – because completely leaving a gender box is more than just one process – it’s many, over a lifetime.
I don’t talk about feminism, womanhood, or anything like that very much, because a large part of myself has rejected the idea of gender. Because gender does. not. matter. At the very least, it should not matter. We are all human. We are all entitled to the same rights and opinions and control over our own bodies. We all have the right to say no – we do not deserve to be stepped on and half of the population does not deserve to be stripped of their rights just because their genitalia is different. Women are not more prone to misguidance or stupidity than men, nor vice versa. People are prone to flaws. People ARE flawed and we all have traits that are unique to our personalities, not our gender.
I’m tired of being subtly told I’m less, of being subtly hinted to that I should live in a box. I’m tired of watching men in power debate over whether or not I am smart enough to decide what happens to my body and when. I’m tired of people protecting the embryos that my body painfully destroys on a monthly basis, to the extent that it lessens my value and my rights as a fully existing person. I’m tired of people telling me that I’ll “get over it” and want to reproduce, I’m tired of people frowning at and judging me because I’m different and do not fit in the box I was supposed to belong to. I’m tired of people treating me as though I am the same clone, as though I’ll come around and find my rightful place in the stifling box of conservative womanhood. I’m tired of people thinking that they can speak, act and think for me because I cannot think for myself.
I’m tired of people lessening my value as a human being because I have decided not to have children – or trying to justify it because I’m young and I’ll “change my mind”.
All these messages, all the subtext just continue to beat me down, to tell me that my past was right, I am less because I am woman, I am even more less because I reject that being female dictates the way I live my life. It doesn’t matter how much you verbally affirm “women are equal (but different)” when you say, believe, and act in a way that demonstrates otherwise. Women are equal when they live in a box, but that is not equality at all, and I thought we were past that.

Starting Out Of Order

Sometimes I feel strange because all of the major life events happened to me before the normal life stuff. I graduated at 15, which I thought was cool at the time. I find myself now, questioning whether or not I was actually ready then. A lot of the outside-of-school skills most people learn in high school, I didn’t learn until after I was married. I don’t feel like I earned graduating that early, which might have something to do with finding out I graduated after getting home from a trip and expecting I had to catch up on math before that was even an option. It was welcome and as far as transcripts are concerned, I graduated with over 30 credits, but deep down inside, I don’t trust it. I don’t trust the education I gave myself because I feel so ill-equipped in real life, with people, and jobs, and not homemaking.
If I grew into the adult I was raised to be, I’d probably be pregnant or have a child by now, I’d be cooking meals and taking care of spawn or becoming a planet and looking at homeschool curricula. I would feel perfectly capable, maybe.
But I’m not that person.
I’m a geek who doesn’t get math jokes unless they involve pie – I don’t know what the Mandelbrot set is, but I like the song. I didn’t have an actual or good job experience until after I was married, when I was 18 (the one job I had in high school lasted a month, but it had nothing to do with me).
I’ve slowly been realizing that all the bad things I was told happen to marriages where women have jobs that involve being outside the 4 walls of their home haven’t happened, and are mostly lies.
At 21, sometimes it feels weird to have crossed all the major check points and still feel woefully inadequate, inexperienced, and ill-equipped.  But maybe everyone feels that way if they’re doing the things they like doing?
Everything I’ve done, I’ve been learning as I go – and I have no formal training or anything, I read a lot of blogs from people who’ve been there, I research things I’m unsure or curious about, and I spend a lot of time doing. Which explains a lot of my failed attempts at successful etsy business-ing, but also my successes as data entry specialist and now web administrator for local non profits (child of the internet, ftw).
When I remind myself how far I’ve come and the things I do, I can sometimes remember to be confident. But the struggles I face in my brain just doing simple things and relating – I second guess myself too much, I over think and spend hours inside my head replaying events and hoping I didn’t sound stupid or boring or anything, sometimes I’m almost frozen with insecurities and I never used to be.
But I love the things I do, and I love the opportunities and the friends and experiences and everything that’s so new and exciting that’s happened over just the last 5 months. I love that I get to work with non profits doing things I’ve been acquiring skills for (unwittingly) since high school, I love I get to make videos and that people like to see them, I love that I get to play new games and try new things every Thursday, and I love that I’m actually part of a community.
So maybe it’s normal, when you’re flooded with things that you like doing and opportunities to make money and get help and feedback from people while doing them, to feel insecure. Maybe it’s normal to feel ill-equipped because things are moving faster than you imagined. Maybe it’s normal to be a little scared and dizzy. Maybe that’s all okay.

Babies, bathwater, and shit in the brownies

Whenever people write about something remotely controversial the people who disagree generally respond with “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!” and occasionally the  viewpoint opposite will make a retort about how if you had a brownie with dog shit in it you wouldn’t eat it.
My response to the two of them are as follows: one, if the bathwater is dirty, the baby and the bathwater should probably be taken out; two: why are you baking with dog shit? When was that a thing? And why are you trying to poison me?
However, I’m not writing an article on the merits of metaphor, I only brought it up to make a point – I know that what follows is more than likely going to be controversial. While I know this going in and it doesn’t bother me, if I see one of these or another similar metaphor take place in the potential conversation I will roll my eyes; because you are more than likely missing the point and should be redirected to the above statement about dirty water and poison.
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[in]significance

I struggle (and I always have) with feeling insignificant. With my self-worth and self-value. Anything that has to do with thinking I’m a remotely okay person who has a value slightly above that of a cockroach I’ve battled with. Extensively.
I blame myself for everything and anything. If it’s raining and I didn’t bring an umbrella I apologize because I feel like it’s either my fault it rained, or I should have known it was going to rain at that moment and brought something.
I have a responsibility complex which makes me feel like the world is on my shoulders and I just KNOW it will all end in nuclear war if I don’t clean my kitchen RIGHT NOW. But I hate having to spend so much energy on tasks that need to be repeated and I’m the one who does them all the time (and I don’t mind generally). But after a good long time, it comes back to my feeling less and less significant and like my primary function is home-hygiene. At that point, I just need to be a robot named Rosie. Or better yet, have a robot named Rosie.
When I get to the point that I feel like I don’t matter, I don’t do well. It bothers me because I know I matter in my head. I know I have people who like me around and think I’m relatively cool and that I’m a pretty decent human. But that does nothing to diminish the trapped feeling I have inside of myself – like I’m shackled to something and I don’t know what yet.
I take it out on my gender, and for the most part I’m okay with that. I don’t like being a woman. I just want to be a person without connotations of what women should or shouldn’t do or be in which circle, because I just want to be my complete self and I think a lot of that has to do with A) being human and B) being an ENFP (apparently, valuing individuality is a common trait).
Also, I get attacked by sharks and hormones every 3 weeks and someone needs to make that stop. It’s not healthy, I tell you!
But honestly, it would be nice to not hate myself for something I can’t help at some point. It would be nice to not lapse into an I-can’t-do-anything-unless-I-really-force-myself-and-then-take-a-nap depression when everything goes wrong because all I can manage to do is figure out a way to blame myself and try and take responsibility for something that I have literally no control over…which leads me to feeling useless and irresponsible and well, yeah, worthless.
It’d be nice to accept that sometimes I can’t do anything and that’s okay…and that somehow, my value as a person isn’t based on my ability. Is it intrinsic? And what does that even mean?
I want it to be, so badly. But I just can’t bring myself to believe that I am intrinsically valuable, even though I believe that about everyone else.
Maybe I’ll put this on my list. I am completely clueless as to the implementation. I don’t even know where to start. But if I made a little progress….that might be magical. I mean, how cool would it be to not hate myself?

Christianity, Simplified :: Where I am

I grew up in a Christian home, surrounded by Christian people, claiming Christianity is the way and that their interpretation of Christianity is the right way. It’s easy for a simple religion, or what Christian’s like to call a “relationship” to get complicated with interpretations of scripture, doctrines, and even bible translations. Before you know it, the religion that you thought was founded on love turns out to be a group of uptight people with lots of rules and guidelines to follow, and to hell with you if you happen to disagree. Eventually, if you find yourself facing differences with church/spiritual leaders you’re bound to feel like someone on the bad side of the Red Queen while she’s declaring “off with her head!”. Obviously (thankfully) not all church groups, spiritual leaders, or christians are this adamant or uptight about their interpretation. It is because of these people, the ones who know what Christianity is really about, that I am still a Christian today.
We can debate all day about spiritual gifts, modesty, lifestyle, family, Bible translations, gender roles, the list goes on. In the big picture though, is the girl who was always modest going to be more holy or honored in heaven than a girl who was a prostitute prior to finding grace? Or are they both going to be loved and accepted equally? Is the large homeschool family going to have a better place and more favor with God than the couple who loves Him just as much? Or will they both be honored and met at the gates with “well done, my good and faithful servants?”
Unlike us, God doesn’t measure us in terms of who we are or what we did or how much we gave, because He loves people, regardless. It’s us people, who claim to be great spiritual christians, who are constantly evaluating which one of us is holier or has stronger faith because they’ve lost a home, faced death multiple times in childbirth, became a missionary and lived in poverty, became a major evangelist, or pastor a church.
It seems to me, more often than not, that it’s we, who claim to teach love and mercy, who are the ones who are showing the least love of all. We go from being excited about finding unconditional love and wanting to share that, to becoming condescending, legalistic, my way or the highway Christians claiming to be serving God with their whole life and trusting Him in everything. Our simple faith turns into a complex practical work based religion (though, obviously not by works, but faith without works is dead, so gosh people). We no longer revel in the love of our savior but constantly add weight and baggage to our load for the cause, because it’s what we feel or think, believe even, that we need to do in order to gain favor with God. Often times this causes us to lose sight of the fact that there are people who need love – sometimes, we are so caught up in being “right” about the little things, that we don’t care who we hurt.
If this constant worrying and trying to be oh-so-holy is what Christianity is supposed to be, and I’m missing it, then I understand why people think it’s worthless. A religion that claims to be about love and about the Creator accepting you for who you are and calling you good for no other reason than because He loves you, but really seems to be about inter-denominational feuds and relationship defining secondary-issue differences, is not something I want to be part of. This isn’t the point of Christianity, if this is all that we think it is, we’ve missed the point by miles.

And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31

I believe, simply, that this is what real christianity is about, this is the bottom line :: He loved us so He came, died, and rose again. All we need to be concerned about is loving Him, and loving each other.