Friday, September 17, 2010

One of those days...

Do you ever have one of those days when you feel as if everything around you is crumbling and tumbling down? You feel like you can't even get up anymore because all of the debris of life is laying on top of you.

Today I have felt as if the weight of the world decided to crash right on top of me. I feel like I am in a deep dark hole and with everything so out of balance and chaotic I don't even know where to begin. I am in a hopeless period I think I am at the place where just trying to start hurts because it only leads to opening up more wounds that I have to face with all the broken pieces.

Some wonderful things have happened to a few people in my life and although I am genuinely happy for both of them there are things happening in my and Andrew's life right now that are just weighing very heavy on my soul. Please pray for the following as I can not carry these alone:

1. Infertility - It hurts more then I can even explain
2. My job - I don't know what the next steps are and I am terrified
3. Andrew - He has been under some major attacks lately and they are incredibly wearing emotionally and spiritually
4. My focus - I can't for the life of me figure out who I am and what I should be doing
5. Direction - Kind of goes with focus, but for strength to follow the path which God is calling me
6. An ability to listen - I need to hear and be patient in the spirit
7. Wise counsel - I need some people women and men who can truly speak into my life and into the situations which both Andrew and I are going through

Thank you in advance...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where is the line drawn between Provocative and Attractive attire?

I was reading today about the Ines Sainz sexual harassment investigation into how the Jets, an NFL football team, treated her at one of their practices and within their team locker room. You can read and see the Today Show interview here. As I read the story I initially felt here we go again. Lets blame the victim for being a woman in a man's role and point a finger of responsibility at her because of what she was wearing and how she carried herself during the sporting events which she covers.

Before I go any further I want to plainly and clearly state that I do not believe that a women's dress, attitude, and/or appearance gives any person the right to sexually harass or that the above gives the harasser an excuse to why they felt the need/right to sexually harass someone.

That being said within the interview on the Today Show, Ms. Sainz discussed the line between provocative and attractive attire. I understood her point that she is a beautiful woman and wants to feel beautiful maybe even sexy. Additionally, her culture celebrates and romanticise sensuality, which is why I understand that her dress is a bit more sexy then the average female sports reporter and on her TV stations website which you can browse here show her as a very sexy and beautiful reporter for their station.

Lets be honest sex sells and I don't doubt that her "sex appeal" is one of the reasons she is able to report on the many male sports and be granted exclusive interviews with male athletes...

But as she was continuing with the interview, which she is very well spoken and poised that I have no doubts of her talent, she was describing herself as wanting to simply be attractive and that her dress did not and should not be considered provocative. Again, I am not pointing the finger at the victim no one I mean no one deserves to be harassed for who they are, there appearance, clothing style etc...

But I am wondering as women where do we draw the line and say you have taken your "attractiveness" too far and now you have moved into the realm of using your sex appeal as provocative and a tool to get a head. The lines are now blurred, when is flirty okay and when does it cross the line? Trust me I understand that harassment is mainly in the eye of the beholder but if the signals being sent out are all over the place how are we supposed to define where the line is and if we have crossed it. If we as women say that it is okay for us to be provocative and sexy to get a head, but then say don't define us by that same tool are we not confusing the lines as well? Its like think of me as sexy so I can sell my brand, but don't really think about it...

As women I want to know that I can be anything that a man can be, but what if along the way we sell ourselves out as a gimmick?!?

What is provocative and what is attractive? Do we as women have a responsibility to define and distinguish? Are we being used as gimmicks in male dominated industries?

Here are two pictures from Ines' TV station website (link) which she says is simply being "attractive":

I chose this photo because it was least sexy (by my interpretation) of the photos presented of her on her TV stations website.

I chose this photo because it represented the most sexy (by my interpretation) of the photos presented of her on her TV stations website.

Ines Sainz is beautiful (and of course I myself would love to have a body like hers) but has she become a stereotype, a gimmick, has her desire to be sexy/attractive and sexualized by her station and the media hurt all the young females who desire to also become sports reporters? What do you think? How do we protect what is beautiful and sexy about being a woman without playing into the visual media world we live in? Do we as women have a responsibility? Does Ines have a responsibility?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why do we have to grow up and away from the Magic of Disney?

On Sunday, September 12, 2010, a few of my family members went to see Disney On Ice, Princess Classics. The main reason we went was for my grandma who has always loved the classic Disney Princess movies. However, sorry to call out one of my sisters, but I think we also went for her as she was enjoying every sparkly moment!

Anyway I want to say that I am glad I went because I know my mother, grandmother, and especially sister really enjoyed every thing about the presentation and simply being together as women. But as I was watching the show, which first let me say was beautiful and filled with all the theatrical pieces a Disney show would produce, I began to think and analyze what was being presented to all of the little girls in the audience with their Disney Princess costumes.

I am sad to say that as a woman some of the Magic of Disney was lost for a bit because I couldn't get past how most of the main characters, the Princesses, needed a man, or prince charming, to rescue them from their unfortunate event and after being rescued they were able to find life's greatest fulfillment, a lifetime of magical love with their prince charming. Even the Disney character Mulan, which if you know her story she was actually a strong female character who went to war in place of her father, and eventually saves the entire kingdom which was against the rules of the land for a woman. Anyway Mulan is one of my favorite Disney female characters, but in this Disney Ice show the Mulan character had the shortest scenes and within the Mulan scenes it was portrayed as if she needed the main male role in order to get through her life.

This is where I became sad...The initial sadness was well probably more anger and disgust that these characters were celebrated for their weakness, beauty, and ability to get themselves in situations which required a man to save the day, normally true loves kiss :) I thought about all the discussions which were going to take place in the many mini vans heading home with all the little girls in the back seats dressed up in their princess costumes. What would the fathers, mothers, grandmothers say to these little girls about being a strong independent woman who could have ambitions and goals? How do they talk about fairy tales in relationship to real life? How do you explain to your sons that being a "knight in shinning armor" doesn't mean that you fix everything and save the day, but really means you are to be a partner and provide security and relationship?

I don't have children so I am not sure how you approach these very real and continuous stereotypes in children's stories.

But I must admit my second bit of sadness was personal, feeling that I have lost a bit of the Magic that is Disney.

Maybe you don't have to have these conversation with your daughters and sons at the age in which these children were attending the show. Maybe you talk about the glitter, the costumes, the pretty dresses, the talented skaters, and of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Maybe there is nothing wrong with believing in happy endings, true loves kiss, and being saved by a handsome prince.

I love a lot of things about Disney because it represents a childhood that I adored and everything I think is good about being a child. The make believe, the imaginary worlds, the magic...

It breaks my heart to know that children grow up so much faster and learn the hard way that life is not about fairy tales... Maybe we should preserve for as long as we can the little girl in the princess dress...because she will know all too soon the inequalities of this world...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How dare you radio personality Mark Elfstrand of Moody Radio on "The Morning Ride" program

Today, Tuesday, September 7, 2010, I was driving my Aunt's van because she so kindly let my husband and I borrow it to transport some dinning room chairs. Anyway her car's radio station was tuned into Moody Radio. I didn't want to mess up her station and I knew I would forget Moody's station number so I thought I would just listen to "The Morning Ride" program with Mark Elfstrand. (side note, Mark has had Andrew on his program before and well lets just say Mark does not agree with Andrew on just about every aspect of what he does)...

Anyway I was intrigued because this morning Mark was going to be interviewing a Moody Bible Institute Professor of Theology named, Dr. Bryan Litfin, (you can read the snippet of his show today here) on the passage in Genesis which speaks about "Be fruitful and multiply." Of course with my struggle with infertility I was curious what these two men were going to speak about with regards to this verse. They began their discussion talking about how many children one should have, birth control, choosing not to have children etc. All in all the Moody Professor, Dr. Litfin, interpreted the scripture within historical and biblical context stating that not only did this verse represent having children and populating the earth, but also our responsibility to everything within the earth and helping all creatures, plant life, etc. be fruitful and multiply. Additionally, the professor from Moody Bible Institute spoke about the historical context of needing to populate the earth at that present time with the corresponding passage where God directed Moses to do the same after the great flood. The Professor went on to speak about today's context as there is no real need to populate the world, but a need to be good stewards of this planet as well. This was the argument the professor and the host, Mark, were having with regards to people choosing not to have children. Whether or not Mark was truly implying the tone indicated that he (Mark) felt that those who chose not to have children may be going against God's commandment, the professor of course was quick to indicate that if the couple had felt in their hearts with God's guidance that children are not meant for them and are finding a different way to help this world be fruitful and multiply then they are more then likely in God's presence as well.

Okay all of that background to say that Mark Elfstrand made a comment, which I want to give respect that maybe he did not mean for it to be so calloused and cold, hurtful, distasteful and with out knowledge of the struggle. In one swooping comment, that neither man decided to really discuss except for one quick and awkward response from the professor, he brought up that scripture indicates being barren is an embarrassment to that woman who can't have children. Then there was a slight pause the Moody professor said well yes in that time period and then nothing...

I will admit that I may be over sensitive, but I thought here we go again. Moody radio by its reputation is quite conservative and Mark's reputation sits directly in line with the stereotypes of this radio. He may be a very pleasant man outside of his radio show and have a bit more tact in relating to very sensitive issues, but this is why I feel Christians have such a hard time discussing this issue which makes us uncomfortable because we allow people to make blanket statements. This issue of infertility which as we all know has come much further in medical advancements understand that an ability to have a child or not have a child is complex, painful, lonely, and nothing to do with an embarrassment of not being "woman" enough.

I guess my challenge is if you are going to say something about infertility which is affecting so many women in this world (both Christian and non-Christian) then you better have a better follow up discussion rather then saying well you know the old testament called it an dare you Mark Elfstrand be so careless in the statement...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Did the Evangelical Christian Woman miss the Great Awakening? (generally speaking)

So I have a theory, and well it comes from revisiting the book, "Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan. I will admit that I have been quite lite on any of my women's history and/or gender theory knowledge so I thought it would be beneficial and important that I re-read, re-discover, and read for the first time many of the books both Christian and non-Christian on the subject.

That is what has lead me to re-discover the "Feminine Mystique." (side bar I am only a few chapters in). As I was going through the chapters and making sure that I looked at it from the perspective of today's society and understood the historical concepts of when and why it was originally written. It hit me that I felt I was some how caught in the stories and related as if they were happening in real time, but why I wondered? Why are some of these stories, the expectations, confusions, emptiness, anger, and questions ringing true to me within my own mind and within my own circle of experience? How could I be relating at least on some level to these women? Wasn't this book written almost 40 years ago and published over 30 years ago or so? Hasn't society and the women's movement come so much further, that as a young woman in 2010 I should be reviewing these stories simply as historical context determining where we have come from to give me a base of understanding? How am I deeply connecting with the roles and expectations placed on women with regards to getting married and having children. To look upon being a wife and mother as the utmost and most euphoric experience I could desire as a good Christian Godly Woman.

That's it...Is it possible that Evangelical Christian Women never went through the great Awakening in discovering how much more their value as a woman really is outside of the titles of just wife and mother?

Sure we say that we encourage young woman to go forth and be who and what they want to be, but truly the under tones the belief system when you get beyond the ones on the surface tell a much different story. One of which I as a woman in order to be a good Christian Woman must fight the desires of the world and understand the true tradition as to what I was created for and that was to be a wife and mother. Being too strong meant that I was fighting against what I was called to be and that I was embracing too much of what those worldly women wanted for me to be.

Is it possible that the reason I for one don't totally understand everything that has occurred with regards to the women's movement is because the under tones and belief systems of what I was raised within have yet to fully embrace the essence of being fully female created in God's image as well to accomplish anything and everything that our Lord and Savior has asked of her (me) no matter what that role may be?

Could this be why so many young Christian women including myself have had to fight with feeling guilty about our talents, dreams, accomplishments, and ambitions. Feeling ashamed of our bodies and our sexuality because as women we are supposed to hold our selves pure and be stronger for men to not tempt them with impurity. But after getting married as a wife we are supposed to understand how to fully please our partners?!? Why did so many question my desire to attend the university I attended and study in the area I chose...too many whispers were about how my area of study would not be complimentary to my "someday" husband and that too much ambition makes her proud and of course we all know how pride is such a shameful characteristic, but why were my ambitions considered prideful... They were goals and desires I had set for myself and felt utilized the talents the Lord has blessed me with...but I did still feel guilty after hearing so many other men and women tell me that I was not fulfilling the appropriate role as a Christian woman...

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with me? Have any of your experienced something like this? Did we as Christian Woman miss the movement? Do we need an awakening of our own and a movement too?

So many of the great movers and shakers of the women's movement were strong Christian women... How then did we in this present time get stuck still in the 50s and 60s?

One theory I have and I alluded to it above is that I believe when the second and third wave occurred of the women's movement Christian women were being told don't go that way or down that path, don't follow those feminist they are worldly we (Christians) must stand separate, hold onto your traditional values... but were they really traditional or something created in the 50s and made to be traditional...