Sunday, August 12, 2007

Women vs. Men; Am I sexist?

I am more than definite that this will step on some toes. I just hope I don't offend you so much that you stop reading. It's just an opinion. Take it, think on it, accept or discard it and then move on. You don't have to hate me.

Your Left Hand Lives for Love. Your Right Lives for the Moment.
Your left hand says 'we.' Your right hand says 'me.'
Your left hand is your heart. Your right hand is your voice.
Your left hand rocks the cradle. Your right hand rules the world.
Your left hand sees red and thinks roses. Your right hand sees red and thinks wine.
Your left hand plays hard-to-get. Your right hand just plays hard.
Your left hand celebrates the day you were married. Your right hand celebrates the day you were born.
Your left hand says I love you. Your right hand says I love me too.

This was an ad campaign that beefed up a sales pitch that has apparently been going on since '03, but that many of us just became aware of last fall. It was created for "promoting the diamond category that celebrates a woman's desire to treat herself and acquire a diamond ring. Formerly, many women had to wait to walk down the aisle before they could display a diamond ring on any finger. Tradition dictated that diamond rings were the province of the occasions, of engagements or anniversaries."
Quoted from
(To read more on Right Hand Rings, just Google it. There's a ton of info out there.)

Initially when I saw this ad, being a media major I looked at it with a critical eye. And yes, it's a good ad, from a technical standpoint. But from my standpoint, it kind of makes my blood boil, the more I look at it.

The ad implies that love is less important than the moment, that 'we' is less important than 'me', that your heart is less important than your voice, that mothering can be compared to world-domination, and that love of another is less important than self-love.
Everything that I've grown up knowing and believing is challenged in this ad. I've always thought that there was nothing more impacting or powerful than love - whether of a man or a child or a friend. "From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" so how can you give credit to your voice without first paying attention to your heart? I've always believed that respectable people, people who make a difference, are people who put others before them self.
But I guess people who buy right hand diamonds simply for the sake of it aren't really concerned with the things I just mentioned.

Let me get back on point.
This ad, like the movie "Mona Lisa Smile", challenges not the ability of women to buy diamonds, or to be mentally equal to men, but their role in the world.
Are women the same as men, discounting their sex organs, or do our physical differences imply that we have different mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, occupational, and familial purposes?

As an intelligent woman in college headed toward a career, I do not believe that women are much different from men mentally or occupationally...although there are some jobs, that because of the physical or authoritative nature of them are better conducted by men. Back to that later.

We all know that women and men are emotionally different. That is scientific fact. The question remains, do women's more categorically surface emotions have an affect on their jobs and their ability to lead?
My opinion is that they do.
Hate me if you want to.

As much as we - myself included - like to pretend that we are, women are simply not as physically strong as men. (Childbirth not withstanding. I credit the ability to deliver babies to our quality of endurance, not our physical strength) Take the best all-around player in the WNBA and pit her against the best player in the NBA and the man is sure to win. Put the best female soccer player against the male one and the man will win. Put the best female Olympic runner against the best male and the male is likely to win. (Here's another bone of contention...) Put a female soldier in combat against a male, neither having guns, and see who wins.
None of this is to say that women shouldn't play sports or participate in physical labor activities or be in the military or work construction, and it's not to say that we can't...simply to point out that men are better at it, more physically equipped for it. And if men are more physically equipped for physical labor, what are women more equipped for?
That's a question, not an implication.

The next two categories, religion and family, is where you are most likely to become angry with me. I reiterate. Don't be angry. Just take it with a grain of salt as an opinion that you disagree with.

Let me start by saying there are exceptions to every rule. Nothing that I am about to say is necessarily true for all situations.
My belief is that a family should consist of a strong man who serves as an authority figure, a strong woman who is submissive (inclined or willing to submit to orders or wishes of others, according to WordNet) to her husband, never subservient (subordinate in capacity or function; subordinate meaning of less importance or secondary, according to American Dictionary and, and children who are aware of the roles that each of their parents play. Those children must submit to their parents, especially to their father. The boys should submit until they become independent, or as the parents yield authority. The girls should submit to their fathers until they become independent or until they marry, whichever comes first. If they become independent, they are their own authority figures in the day-to-day of things, but fathers should still be consulted in major life decisions. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife..."
Enough with the logistical break down.

I don't think the man has to be the only or even the primary bread-winner. But, I do think that money notwithstanding he retains the right to govern his home. Yes, even if his wife is paying for it. This is why my view of a good marriage is contingent on men who listen and care about their wife's opinion and contingent on the ability of people to communicate.
I don't think that women should be primary care-givers. I believe that parenting is a shared role in which both father and mother play equally crucial parts.
I don't think women should be commanding officers.
I don't think women should be head pastors. I think we are wonderful in secondary pastoral roles, but I think we should leave tending the flock as a whole to men.
I think the man is the head of the house, but as it was so eloquently put in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "the woman is the neck and she can turn the head whichever way she wants to."

After my last post on American War inspired by the CNN/YouTube Democratic Debates, the climactic statement is...
For the aforementioned reasons, I cannot bring myself to approve of a female president.
I think Condie's role as Secretary of State is fine. I am even fine with a female vice president (provided the president doesn't die). But I don't think a woman should be Head of State, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, the leader of perhaps the most influential country in the world. I'm not for Hillary Clinton or any other woman for president.

I believe that as a woman, I was born to be the suitable helper for a man. "She was called woman, for she was taken out of man." I believe I was born to be a mother to children. I was born to nurture and love and support and lend strength. I was born to lead by example and not necessarily by title or mandate.
There are a great many other things I was born to do, but those are the ones written on my DNA. Or perhaps I should say on my chromosomes.

Next Topic: America's "moral leadership"

Monday, August 6, 2007

American War

I'll admit, I am far behind in my news gathering, but I am currently in the process of watching the CNN YouTube Democratic debates. There have been several things that have been said that I'm sure I will address eventually but since this is the most provocative question in politics today this is the one I'll address first.

When it comes to war in general and especially right now in Iraq, the arguments are basic although we do our best to complicate them. Do we A) fight, stay, deploy, fund in efforts to militarily enforce our views of democracy in a nation where they don't truly want it or do we B) preserve the lives of our troops and the nation's finances and make this a diplomatic fight - one done through words and the U.N. and treaties and trial and error?

The problem with option A is that people who disagree with the goal of the war feel that people are dying in vain.
The problem with option B is that people are far more responsive to bloodshed than words.

The question now is do we stay - knowing that this is in the process of turning into another Vietnam - and hope to God that our troops can make a difference before too many more die? Or do we pull out - knowing that this action will undercut the intentions behind the war - and admit that we, the United States of America, tried and failed?

My personal opinion is that we should do the latter, pull out, cut our losses, mourn for our troops, welcome them home and let the U.N. handle it from here.

Part of the reason could be that I just watched The Interpreter, which for those of you who don't know is a movie about a woman who interprets for the United Nations and who overhears a threat on an African political leader's life.
In the movie, she talks about how she believes in the U.N. and believes in what it stands for. Communication. As a journalist and an expressive personality, I can't help but be yoked to that. Communication.

Now, before you call me unpatriotic, I come from a military family. My uncle and grandfather are both retired Air force, my cousin is active duty Air Force, my other cousin is active duty Coast Guard. I have a friend who was in the National Guard and has thought about re-enlisting but he is afraid to because he has a son and doesn't want to go to Iraq. I had to think about what to say to him, how to advise him. It wasn't theoretical, it's his life. I have numerous girl friends whose boyfriends are overseas. It's very close to home to me.

I support the military. I believe that sometimes it is necessary to fight. And when all of this started, even in my limited understanding, I thought it was time for us to fight. But I also believe that sometimes mistakes are made, things get out of hand and sometimes we just can't do it alone. It has spiraled out of control. Let's try a different approach.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Beauty In Everything

Sometimes I find myself in these sappy moods where I can look at just about anything and think it's adorable.

Right now I'm watching "My Best Friend's Wedding". They - the bride-to-be, the man, and the woman who still loves the man - are at a karaoke bar, and Kimmy, the bride-to-be, doesn't sing but they make her do it anyway. She is HORRIBLE. Can't carry a note to save her life. But I find her wonderfully endearing anyway.
Jules (Julianne), the woman who still loves the man, is aggressive and far too self-centered and complicated beyond belief, but I find something beautiful about her desperation and all her quirks.
Michael, the man, is so unbelievably in love with Kimmy, for reasons that I'm just now seeing after hundreds of times watching this movie. He believes in her and defends her and then even when they almost break up, he fights for her. And he's protective of Jules and jealous of her time, even though they aren't together anymore. How lovely.

Last night I was watching "Crazy/Beautiful". The girl is one of those troubled types, depressed and a little suicidal, which evokes emotion in and of itself, but she's also an artist. She has this Polaroid camera that she takes pictures with almost constantly and she puts the pictures in a book and on her wall. I wish I had one of those.

Best Friends.
All the little things that just make my heart smile.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Exercise and Government

Working It Out
So I went to the gym, a new all-female gym, today. I got measured and weighed (ick!) and debriefed and then I took a step class.

There was a portion of the step class where we did some kick boxing. Kick boxing in general is hard. But the part that was hardest was the jabs. I'm not a fighter and I've never kick boxed before so I was completely unprepared for the burn. And right when I was thinking, "My shoulder is about to fall off and then I will quit" she said "Come on, jab! Like you're punchin' somebody in the face!"
I laughed. And then I flashed back to Camp last weekend.

Saturday night, the message was over David and Goliath. Andy Tilley talked about how David ran to meet Goliath, he ran toward his battle. He didn't approach it cautiously, he ran at it. Andy went on to define our battles as things that effect our daily lives - sin, pain, relationships; Satan, in a nutshell. And he talked about how we are quick to fight for things that don't matter - who said what about our hair who talked to our boyfriend - but when it comes to the things that mean spiritual life or death for us, we back down and put it off until tomorrow.

Not to sound conceited or "holier than thou", but in my opinion, the battles that I face pale in comparison to the world's and the Church's battle against sin and death and Satan. So I spent that time while Andy was preaching wrapped up in thought about how to best fight Satan on behalf of the students I've been put in a position to help lead, or on behalf of the people I go to college with, or how to fight death and disease and poverty on behalf of those who can't fight it for themselves.

And it's interesting how when my shoulders were burning in the middle of my step aerobics class, God reminded me of how passionately I'm willing to battle in the spirit realm and how dispassionately I battle in other areas.
The moral of the story is I jabbed like I was punching Satan and I didn't quit on my step class.
Bein' a Christian ain't just about goin' to church.

Town Hall
Have you ever been to a town hall or school board meeting, or at least seen one on TV? A panel of legislators or representatives or people who are directly related to law-making sit at the front of a room and members of the public attend and participate in the democratic process.

I decided tonight while talking to my mother that if national government were run like state and city government, America would be in better - if not good - shape.

What do you think?

Change of Pace

Creating this account is me trying desperately to:
A) find a method of communication that satisfies my need to express
B) have that method be one that other people like me also use
C) be taken seriously.

God only knows what will come of this, but perhaps it will be something that makes me smile more often than not.