October 18, 2009 § 1 Comment
Today I was perusing a friend’s copy of this book when I read a sentence [in a piece by a woman & more or less directed at other women] that made me throw up a little. It went something like this:
And when you’re in the bedroom after the wedding, you surrender to your husband your body and your virginity, your most priceless asset […]
Two semesters ago, I wrote my final sociology paper on the negative effects of putting virginity on a pedestal and received a 98% on it. Really? Until my wedding day, no part of me is worth more than my virginity? She did not comment on whether the same went for the husband. Too exhausted and sick to write more coherent thoughts.
October 13, 2009 § 1 Comment
I sat down at the circular table for dinner on the second night of Fall Conference ’09, delighted to see that every placemat had a generous piece of chocolate cake — my favorite food [Beijing roast duck comes in at a close second]. While giving my baked potato to PN, I noticed a vacant seat at the table, which meant an extra piece of cake. After looking around to check that nobody else was eying it, I asked PN to hand it to me.
Later, it became apparent that one of the people at our table did not have a piece of cake, so I conceded my extra one to her, though not without playful jeers from our fellow male diners. [I don’t care if they judge; I will stay faithful to my gustatory love!]
SL, who sat to my left, kindly offered me his own piece of cake, claiming that he did not really enjoy sweet foods. I gladly accepted it, finishing both pieces and sitting in bloated satisfaction. I’m not exactly sure in how the subsequent events happened, but suddenly, a piece of cake arrived from across the table, followed by three more.
“Eat all of them!” JG urged.
“Yeah, JG and I have money on it!” JP yelled.
“You want me to eat a total of six pieces of cake?!” I responded incredulously.
The guys at the table goaded me while the women looked on in mild amusement. Full as I was, I could’ve done it — my stomach stretches to enormous proportions when I consume sugary foods — but I adamantly refused. The reason I gave was that I didn’t want to throw up my entire dinner, but in actuality I didn’t want to appear cheap. Sacrificing my dignity for a mere $15? Just the notion of it is embarrassing.
However, I couldn’t shake the thought that if I were a guy, I totally would have accepted the challenge.
Competitive eating is mostly a men’s world. At other camps and buffets that I’ve been to, only guys would attempt to out-eat each other in some ridiculous manner. The activity is rather barbaric to me; even though I am against gender stereotypes and all that, I am still at time subject to wanting to fit into the dainty mold into which women are supposed to conform. A guy would get lauded for finishing a huge amount of food, but I can’t imagine myself receiving the same level of accolades from my peers — especially the female ones. I’ve simply never seen it happen.
October 4, 2009 § 5 Comments
On Wednesday I had a frank discussion with a good friend of mine about how women’s wardrobe choices can affect men. We hit on some interesting points, but I wouldn’t even bring it up now if it weren’t for what my sociology class talked about today.
In our class discussion on women and sports, a girl in my class who is a gymnast told us that in the weight room at the MU athletic training complex, sections of time are usually blocked off so that each sport can have personal time using the equipment. Female athletes, however, are not allowed to wear tank tops and must wear shorts of a certain length or longer — “because it’s too distracting for the male athletes and they can’t focus.” She went on to say that football players sometimes come back from practice with cut-off shirts and their bellies hanging out, which is apparently just fine.
At youth group, we received annual Valentine’s Day talks. One year in either late middle school or early high school, the boys and girls were separated so as to foster a more open and honest environment. It was then that we learned that boys and girls are simply “wired” differently — girls are enticed by emotional porn [ie. The Notebook] and boys cannot resist staring at girls’ bodies. My friend also used the word “wired” to describe how men just naturally want to stare at attractive women.
How much do women think about what men think about their clothing? It does seem utterly stupid to choose outfits based on men’s opinions, yet that’s what he was basically proposing. I think that to some extent, many women probably think about what a guy will think of their garments when they are dressing to impress, but I certainly do not comprehend what he described as a crippling inability to look beyond a hot woman’s cleavage.
Of course, my friend noted that such a thing should be done out of love for one’s brothers in Christ so that they are not stumbled and so they are able to adequately respect their sisters. I can understand that we as women should mercifully wield this “power” [his word, not mine] that we have over men, but that’s not enough.
This argument brings to mind the victim-blaming that is so rampant in many cases of sexual assault. Is a scantily-dressed woman ever asking to get groped or raped? No. It is under nobody’s power to take away the freedom that women have to choose what they wear in public. Am I asking for a man to stare at my chest when I wear a low-cut shirt [as I am wont to do since my bosom is not particularly ample]? No. What takes place in his mind is his problem.
I think the whole “men and women are wired differently” is a weak excuse to simply accept sexual objectification as “just the way things are.” We have all been socialized to view women as decorations — just because it’s true of the society we live in doesn’t make it any less of a lie. Once you are able to critically question why you think the way you do, you have the power to change your mindset and think at least a little more independently.
Men are also demeaned when people argue that they are helpless before the charms of a beautiful woman. Do they really have such feeble control over their brains/eyes/wieners? I believe in the possibility of freeing oneself from those bonds. So let’s make it happen.
September 30, 2009 § Leave a comment
We receive assignments in Magazine Editing that are basically pages of poorly written articles that need to be corrected, and we get points taken off for each mistake that we miss. Grammar mistakes are generally worth 2-3 points, and misspellings are worth 5. If we fail to rectify sexist language, however, that’s –10.
Sexist language is considered using a gendered pronoun to describe something that is not specific to one gender. For example,”A pilot must always wear his helmet” should be corrected to “his or her helmet” or “Pilots should always wear their helmets” or something like that. After getting burned on the first assignment, I made sure to check diligently on last week’s test for any signs of such language.
At Sunday’s servant team meeting, we read Luke 6:27-36 in preparation for this week’s Bible study. Verse 29 says:
If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.
Sexist language, I immediately thought. The Bible is littered with it. Of course, I’m pretty much used to it. But I just wanted to point it out.