Posts Tagged ‘muscular Christianity’

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:

Women…
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…”

Girls…
names
Gone Wild
dresses

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?

http://alltheragefaces.com/img/faces/large/cereal-guy-cereal-guy-spitting-l.png

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.

Cruise Control? Not so much.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Okay, so feel free to disagree with me, but a lot of this text seems to focus around miscommunications and confusion of goals at the YMCA. And a lot of these have to do with false assumptions. These include but are not limited to:

1.    Christians are wholesome.

False: Christians TRY to be wholesome. But hey, Christians are people, and people are whole, not wholesome (which, if you think about it, is an oxymoronic word in itself).

2.    Providing sex education will make young men MORE restrained and less likely to engage in sexual acts with other men.

False: Maybe this would have been true if the Y had been less demanding of the men who held positions within the organization, particularly the secretaries. Maybe if they’d gotten to spend more time with their wives, too, they wouldn’t feel such strong homoerotic bonds.

3.    However, in contrast to that previous observation, another assumption the Y held was that homosociality was just as “dangerous” to society as homosexuality…

False: From a 21st-century standpoint, neither is particularly “dangerous. But going along with that…

4.    Similarly, there was the assumption that the “scare” of rampant homoeroticism and homosexual desires being acted upon in the early 20th century were equivalent to homosocial bonds.

False: It is simply that the centuries had different ways of defining what was considered to be “erotic” and what was “good clean fun” in terms of men being around each other/craving each other’s company/expressing longing for being in close proximity to other men’s bodies…

…Sorry this is so scattered; there’s just a lot to say about this piece. Anybody else get a kick out of that one chauvinist who claimed that men were at the Y to get “real work” done, whereas at the YWCA, women do domestic things, such as “make food”? Or for the studies of gay pornography that trace their roots back to these early fitness manuals? That was extremely interesting to me, and I will tell you all why tomorrow…

I do think Gustav-Wrathall could have woven more of a religious context into this, but considering his background as an ex-Mormon may not have proven especially applicable to this scholarship, I do not count the absence of his religious input as a devastating drawback in terms of the work overall.

Cruise Control? Not So Much.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Okay, so feel free to disagree with me, but a lot of this text seems to focus around miscommunications and confusion of goals at the YMCA. And a lot of these have to do with false assumptions. These include but are not limited to:

1. Christians are wholesome.

False: Christians TRY to be wholesome. But hey, Christians are people, and people are whole, not wholesome (which, if you think about it, is an oxymoronic word in itself).

2. Providing sex education will make young men MORE restrained and less likely to engage in sexual acts with other men.

False: Maybe this would have been true if the Y had been less demanding of the men who held positions within the organization, particularly the secretaries. Maybe if they’d gotten to spend more time with their wives, too, they wouldn’t feel such strong homoerotic bonds.

3. However, in contrast to that previous observation, another assumption the Y held was that homosociality was just as “dangerous” to society as homosexuality…

False: From a 21st-century standpoint, neither is particularly “dangerous. But going along with that…

4. Similarly, there was the assumption that the “scare” of rampant homoeroticism and homosexual desires being acted upon in the early 20th century were equivalent to homosocial bonds.

False: It is simply that the centuries had different ways of defining what was considered to be “erotic” and what was “good clean fun” in terms of men being around each other/craving each other’s company/expressing longing for being in close proximity to other men’s bodies…

…Sorry this is so scattered; there’s just a lot to say about this piece. Anybody else get a kick out of that one chauvinist who claimed that men were at the Y to get “real work” done, whereas at the YWCA, women do domestic things, such as “make food”? Or for the studies of gay pornography that trace their roots back to these early fitness manuals? That was extremely interesting to me, and I will tell you all why tomorrow…

I do think Gustav-Wrathall could have woven more of a religious context into this, but considering his background as an ex-Mormon may not have proven especially applicable to this scholarship, I do not count the absence of his religious input as a devastating drawback in terms of the work overall.