Unless you have been living in some isolated, Arctic village without benefit of television or the Internet (if so, how did you find this blog?), then you are sure to have heard about the great “Battle of the Sexes.” Who is better – men or women? Smarter? Funnier? Stronger? More capable?
On and on it goes.
Our culture hates women. Really, it does. We are encouraged to diet ourselves down to a size zero, buying into the subliminal message that we should become nothing. If you are smart, then you must also be overwhelmingly and in-your-face “sexy.” (Really, you should hide your intelligence). Things like intuitiveness and sensitivity are mercilessly mocked. Women are increasingly encouraged to act and think like men, all while wearing short skirts and shirts so tight they threaten to bust at the seams.
We are objects. Playthings.
The Church is just as guilty as the surrounding society. Though “modest is hottest,” there are other stereotypes that women are squeezed into. Instead of competing with men, they are subordinate to them, thanks to misinterpretations and misapplications of Scripture. While you may not have to get a boob job, you certainly should sign up for nursery duty. While you may hold an advanced degree, you’d better not open your mouth to express an opinion on that difficult passage.
We must shrink into the background.
Compete or retreat. Why are these our only options?
I think that it’s high time we broke out of these cycles, for they are both set up to defeat women. To break the first, we must learn to think that it is ridiculous to try and prove that men and women are the same. Aside from the obvious anatomical contrasts, there are variances in perspective, experience, desires, etc. Biological, psychological and sociological research and experimentation shore up this argument time and time again. To break the second, we must learn to think that men and women are entirely equal. The differences do not a set of second-class citizens make.
We are equal and equally valuable in our wide-ranging disparities. Isn’t variety the spice of life, after all?
This is on my mind today because of the activity I engaged in last evening. A group of my girlfriends came over. We watched “chick flicks,” ate chocolate and laughed. In the past I have always felt guilty about this in the back of my mind. Like someone would find out that I was being silly and think I was stupid because of it.
You know what, though?
I like “chick flicks.”
I like laughing myself silly with my friends.
I like having an “ugly cry” from time to time.
I like fashion.
I am an out-of-the-closet fan of pop music.
I find joy in all of these things. I also find joy in breaking down complex Scripture passages into their basic components, drawing out the layers of meaning by using concordances and dictionaries. I revel in the “Real Simple” magazine that comes in the mail every month. I also get lost in heavy history texts, grappling with the impact of an event hundreds of years past on the modern day.
I groove to the “Glee” soundtracks. I groove to Prokofiev and Debussy.
The “girly” things do not make me less than a man. The “intense” things do not make me better than a man. They make me…me.
That is what I think you should be, Reader. You be you. Whatever your sex, whatever your interests, whatever your socioeconomic status. Opt out of the game. Step away from both the cycles. Break free from the slavery that is found in constantly trying to conform. God made you uniquely. You are not a stereotype, either way. Don’t even try.