Posts Tagged ‘gender’

Just waiting on the world to change.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

It was surprising to learn that Spiritualism was a type of Christianity in the 1800’s. But of course, it was seen as a bad thing, just like other religious and non-religious movements in the same time period. It was said on page 139 that “‘religious excitement’ [was listed] as the prime cause of insanity.” And of course, as always, who gets blamed for everything? The poor women! What else could we expect.

I know, Spiritualism received the same hate as many other religions in American history. So what makes Spiritualism different from the religions we’ve learned about so far? Well, I think that could be summed up in two main points.


First, I would say the power people were able to have over their personal and intimate lives. Many Spiritualists believed in free love, which McGarry defines as “spiritual affinities.” People were bind together only if they were attracted to one another. A group that was based on attraction was the Oneida Community but it was completely sexual rather than an attraction in every sense towards a person. But no other religion has shown us that gender is not a barrier for the religion and sex.

I think the second point would be the power of science and evidence. At the beginning, science was committed to bringing Spiritualism down. There were so many excuses as to why there were weird noises and what was happening to the Fox sisters, such as the cracking of the joints or women’s vaginas tilting somehow. Yet, soon enough Spiritualism gained its acceptance by scientists themselves. We’ve learned about science justifying Christian societal norms but not much else. This was a time when technology was actually beginning to change people’s lives. Technology gave science the ability to prove what was in doubt. Science came together with Spiritualism.

To me this is really interesting because things are beginning to shift for everyone, at least faster than what it was before. This shift is challenging the American Protestant society’s thoughts.

Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

And by “sex,” I mean anatomical design, so calm down, kiddies.

“A preacher of her sex was in those days a genuine curiosity….Her sex was an advertisement.”

As a test, I decided to type “women” and “girls” separately into Bing to see what would come up on the drop-down menu. Here’s what I found:

in combat
of faith
of the Bible

A feminists dream! No references to porn or anything! Just good, old fashioned women in powerful roles. Let’s see what happens when I type in “girls…”

Gone Wild

Okay, now that makes mores sense. With “girls” it’s either a sexual reference or the idea of a child. You should’ve seen what came up on the video drop-down menu–nay, I won’t even go there; I’ll let your imagination do the work.

The connotation of the term “women” is much different than that of the word “girl,” clearly. A girl is something sexual; a woman is someone powerful, or at least someone with goals and an identity. This may seem obvious, but I choose to focus on this strictly because of the title of our reading: “Out of the Mouths of Babes.” Truth be told before I read it, I thought it was a book about the effect of children and their words. To be, “babes” imply “baby,” but I guess to these religious groups at the time, having a female pastor was no different than having a three-year old lead service (which they did).

So then that got me thinking, seeing as I am an aspiring female pastor, I thought I ought to know my history. The term “babe” is often used as a term affection for women, along with the term “baby,” though the latter tends to be much more sexual in nature.

Which brings me to my next point: obviously women are no more than sexual birthing objects who can occasionally make meals for their husbands and sacrifice their lives for the good of their men (i.e. YMCA women, anyone?), so what better time to focus on them than in their youth, while their in their prime? While they’re…wait for it…BABES?

But seriously folks, the emphasis on youth isn’t all on women. In Take the Young Stranger by the Hand, boys–BOYS–are being reared in their prime. Muscular Christianity. Take a young stranger by the hand. C’mon guys.

What is with this emphasis on youth in Christianity? In all other contexts, I would say it was obvious, that the focus was on sex–creating sexually appealing people that others wanted to follow. But that couldn’t be the main goal…COULD IT?!

I realize there is a giant gap here, and a lot of variables that I’m not acknowledging, such as the fact that the young men of the YMCA were wanted, and the female preachers/pastors, well, weren’t. But the fact still remains: the emphasis is on youth, and raising up beautiful, youthful members (i.e. muscular Christianity) to attract new ones. The focus is on babes.

Okay, so I realize I digress from my original idea, but it makes sense, non? It’s as important to be youthful and attractive in Christianity as it is in the secular world. Flappers echoed the very essence of youth and weren’t that far from female evangelists. They were young offered new ideas, and new perspectives on society, and got sh!t done.

Anyway, as I close, i will leave you with the song I know you’re all anxiously waiting to hear, seeing as the title of my blog post probably got it stuck in your head.

Not he and not she. Just We’wha.

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

When I first saw the cover of this book, all I could think about was how good this reading was going to be. I mean come on, the title says it all! The Zuni Man-Woman. So I thought I was going to be reading about a man who identified as a woman all his life in a Native American tribe and what roles he took on in his society. I did keep in mind that a white guy wrote it from the “information” other white people gathered, but I still was pretty excited to read this book. I must say I didn’t think the same thing as I was reading it.

I guess I was really disappointed because I thought some of the things that the author put in the book were irrelevant or could be summarized. I think I was expecting a book that was kind of like a biography about We’wha and other men-women, or lhamanas and I don’t feel as though Roscoe did that in this book. I also wish it could have been a book that was for both men-women and women-men, but I know that We’wha was the most known and would be an important Ihamana.

One thing that did surprise me was the chapter that talked about We’wha going to Washington DC. What surprised me is how the Americans reacted and treated We’wha. They  saw We’wha sort of  like a savage because he was Indian, but I think We’wha also showed them that Native Americans are just human and they are aren’t savages. It was nice to see how We’wha adapted to the environment but still kept the Zuni identity. Anyone could have expected it to go bad because it was a drastic change.

Overall I did learn a lot about We’wha, lhamanas, and the Zuni. I wish we could adopt their idea of gender socialization into our society without anyone having a cow.