Tag Archives: Versus

More Gender Roles Musings

My English critical thinking class seems to be in the full swing of the gender roles discussion; it is our first essay! This follows a rhetorical analysis paper we did on an excerpt (from “Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits of Duality) about what is ‘masculine’ and what is ‘feminine’ in North America and the social schemas of man and woman; authored by Aaron Devor (published 1989). I honestly have no issues with his writing because it is well organized with an introduction, arguments, body defining ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ and a conclusion. He makes real observations and sound contrasting between the gender roles but it is with his conclusion that I have issue as it is far too short. He takes all of time to set the reader up properly and he concludes that the gender schemes are a matter of, “systematic power imbalances based on gender discrimination.” While I can tolerate his lack of articulation with such a huge idea, and agree with him, I believe I better sum it up with (keep in mind I’m writing it to context):

“In conclusion America was originally established as a patriarchal system in which male attributes were valued more than women attributes and because of this women have been wrongfully discriminated against. Still to this day in the 21st century America witnesses to the discrimination of women in the workplace, politics, civil rights and religion because of the gender schema placed on each sex. While there is still more work to be done in releasing ourselves from these gender schemes we must appreciate how far America, and even the world, has come and it is important to look back over the past to see what successes have been made.”

With that said I will jump to the classes’ interaction on this topic. As the except was analyzed in groups you got the feeling that people were mostly in agreeance with Devor but couldn’t quite seem to associate with what he was stating. For example, we could all agree that ‘masculine’ was being powerful, of prowess, forthright and ‘feminine’ was subdued, polite, and reserved but we couldn’t agree to how that actually applied to today. Devor’s writing would have us believe that the sexes are still in competition to one another versus both sexes complimenting one another. The teacher seemed a little concerned we weren’t getting the message as each student spoke up and explicitly or implicitly stated the gender roles have been blended and blurred. Followed was a student’s comment on how old the except was, “Near twenty years,” and how old Devor’s references were, some thirty years old which was agreed makes a big difference in context. I could see the light shining through slowly that everyone wasn’t buying the line. And then it finally hit me and I put in my voice.

“It isn’t that what is ‘feminine’ and what is ‘masculine’ has changed, as if that was the problem all along, it that’s as a society we value both gender roles more equally. Rather than these roles being in competition for value they are viewed today as complimenting one another and thus more equally valued.”

With this you could tell the final nail was sunk into the coffin of any hopes to bemoan the fact that there is such a thing as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’. Many of the students followed with agreeance in their own ways. The African man piped up and said in his thick accent, “Yes, because with my parents my mom stayed home and cared for the children while my dad worked and fed the family. But it is not like that anymore, because in my family at the end of the month I ask my wife, ‘What bills are you paying and what bills am I paying’?” The teacher voiced her opinion that she was unsure of this fact and readmitted the question testing to see if we were sure the gender roles are more equally valued. Again more students reaffirmed what everyone and myself had been saying. I brought up the example of the show, “Queer Eye For The Sight Guy,” in which men favorably take on ‘feminine’ traits of manners, communication, thoughtfulness, etc and this is far more accepted today. It is also far more acceptable for women to reject men forthright and state their opinions.

Class was coming to a close and our teacher had to hand out the essay one topic. As I packed my items away I listened to her describe the coming writing task. We are to take Devor’s writing and compare it to one of today’s TV shows and see if his observations have remained true. Immediately this took me as very odd. I’d think an honest essay would examine whether or not Devor’s except is applicable at all to today, not some TV show. So I said my thoughts, “That seems a little odd in that Devor’s except is an honest examination of the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ genders in real life in North America but TV shows are purely an exaggeration of life. This assumes that TV shows actually represent real life today, which is not true as they take the highlights and make a show about it; like Seinfeld.” She replied quickly, “But that’s a comedy what about ‘Gray’s Anatomy’?” Hoping I’d think that was more real. However, I rejected that and replied, “When I was becoming an EMT I was in an ER room and it was extremely boring and the coolest thing that happened that night was a kid came in with a broken arm,” the classroom laughed as I continued, “and there was no such thing as adulterous affairs, arguments, gun shot wounds all in one shift. It is exaggerated and so are ‘reality shows’.” She couldn’t reply to this as we in a previous class discussed how fantastical shows such as Survivor were because of all the editing.

Luckily for the teacher time was up and we were all ready to leave and she dismissed us with the promise to continue this in the next session. Nevertheless, I believe I made a sound argument for not using TV in such an analytical essay. So we shall see, if she will not change her mind I will use such shows as, “Sex In The City” and “Will And Grace” to illustrate how much American has changed. Therefore, in conclusion it is not about the wiping away of what is ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ the argument that we should be discussing is how each is valued. The fact is there is male and there is female and they are both different and similar and both are needed to complete the circle of life within a family and community. I believe America and other societies, should be more dynamic in their blending of the genders but still respect the fact that we are man and woman. An example of this is in my own house, I often will do the house chores while my wife will tend to her business. I have no problem with it and nor does she. I don’t feel any less masculine nor does she feel any less feminine. There are many example of this in our marriage yet I remain the husband and she remains the wife with love and respect.

Someone Said It Better

I was planning on writing something regarding safety and assurance and freedom and risk, but someone beat me to it, and did a vastly better job than I could have hoped to do myself.

Orson Scott Card, in his regular “Uncle Orson Reviews Everything” column approached the subjects of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, the Utah mine collapse, government protection versus intrusion, and lifes’ general unfairness from a unique perspective. Apparently Orson was recently entirely at fault in what could have been a serious accident which merely totaled two cars instead of people. He recognizes the frailty of life and feels it with a particular sharpness right now. I felt his care through his words.

This is a dangerous world. None of us has anywhere we can go that is safe. Eventually, every single one of us is going to die. Along the way, we’ll suffer losses and pain and we will be harmed by the actions of others.

There is no promise of tomorrow. From the Christian perspective we thank God because His mercies are new every morning. Each morning He doesn’t just allow, He causes the sun to rise on both the just and the unjust.

Since our news media are no longer governed by civilized or civilizing principles, caring only about what makes “a good story” or “good television,” it is up to the people involved in the actual events to behave with decorum.

Maintaining a sense of decorum is amazingly important in this era of “reality TV” and public debauchery. The media cares about money, not morals. And particularly in a culture where, increasingly, IMmorals sells much better, we cannot count on the good and the right to be well represented. Instead, it behooves us when faced with tragedy to carry ourselves with honor, humility, and patient self-sacrifice. Somebody does not need to pay unless they are grossly negligent or maliciously intent on causing the harm done. And even then, in the heart of the tragedy is not the time to look or point, unless the culprit and their motive is clear, and time is us essence to their apprehension. Rather, it is for us to look to the hurt and offer assistance and comfort and support, when those are most needed. It is not assistance to call for heads to roll, it is not comfort to point fingers of jealous blame, it is not support to pontificate on what might’ve been.

Anyways, read Mr. Cards article, you’ll find it after a brief review of his beefs with a newly ruined revised game I’ve never heard of and Amazon.com’s terribly designed and thought-out back-end user interface.

“I’m OK With You Not Voting.”

I saw a statement from John Stossel, 20/20 reporter, this morning and it got me thinking.

“[S]tudents often ask what can be done about the ‘problem’ of young people who don’t care enough to vote. I always say that I don’t see it as much of problem ‘because most of you don’t know anything yet. I’m OK with you not voting!’ The students laugh, but I’m not joking.

I agree. Often, voters make decisions without considering their options or looking at the secondary effects of political policies. Take, for example, Social Security.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the relative benefits of a 401(k) versus Social Security.

We were discussing our God-given responsibilities to care for our families and, if given a choice (we don’t have one right now, but hypothetically.) how this responsibility would affect our decision whether to put all our eggs into Social Security or into a 401(k).

At my friend’s current salary, we calculated that he will put $300,000 into Social Security (including the employer portion) over the next 40 years.

Then we calculated the “return” on his investment.

Social Secuirty: If Social Security pays my friend $25,000 a year, he must live 12 years beyond “retirement” to recoup his investment into Social Security. Unfortunately, at this rate, it is not likely he will recoup his investment because his life expectancy is only 75.15 years (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html).

Although his wife will receive a small stipend, his children will get nothing from his investment. Further, $25,000 is close to or below the current federal poverty level. In 40 years, it will be even more so. In fact, it will probably be unlivable.

To be technical, some of these figures are variables. As Social Security becomes more unsustainable, benefits will be cut by increasing the “retirement” age. Also, the average life expectancy will probably be a few years higher in 40 years because of advances in nutrition and medical technology.

401(k)’s: Now for the alternative: If my friend puts the $300,000 into a 401(k) over 40 years until the age of 65, he will have $3,452,839.

Further, if he dies at 75, his wife will have plenty live off of and he will be able to pass the remainder on to his children (more Biblical mandates).

401k.JPG 

To finish up, here’s the remainder of Stossel’s quote:

… I only started to think I knew what ought to be done after years of reporting and reading voraciously to absorb arguments from left and right. The idea that most voters vote without having done much of that work is, frankly, scary.”

Scary indeed. We live with the repercussions every day.

Evil Still Exists & Forgiveness: Islam Versus Christianity

The International Herald Tribune, Europe edition, writes a story on the case of 10 doctors and nurses who worked in a hospital in Libya and were arrested 10 years ago on charges they’d knowingly and maliciously infected several hundred children with HIV. This was the Libya of Qaddafi, brazen and belligerent supporter of terrorism and tin-hat despot. Qaddafi has since renounced all ties with terrorism and has by all accounts become quite the nice guy on the African continent, but apparently his underlings and the mobs which rule the provinces and cities are still small evil men.

You can read all the details of this terrible story, but consider this: evil comes in all shapes and sizes, labels and categories, but the religion of peace once again shows while it may consider itself peaceful, it’s god and therefore it’s very identity is unforgiving.

Adherents of Islam, Muslims, hope that their righteous acts will outweigh any marks against them and that their god, Allah, will be merciful to them when they reach his judgment. God, worshiped by Christians, is also a just God. When His commands are violated, the price must be paid. God is also a merciful God, not that He does not hold sin against a person, but He desires that person to be free from sin and its eternal punishment. To bridge this obvious divide He sent Jesus to live a perfect, sinless life, and to die a horrid death. Crucifixion is an incredibly torturous death, the Romans even invented a whole new term for pain “ex crucio”, literally from the or of the cross, to describe the pain suffered by those being crucified. We have taken the term, transliterating it into “excruciating”. Harry Potter experiences the pain in the Cruciatus Curse, where the spell caster speaks the word “Crucio”, a deep and bloody history for a word of terrible import. But it was through this excruciating pain and terrible death that Gods justice was satisfied. The punishment was taken away from us. This is salvation: God is Holy, He allows no sin into His Glory. God wants us to be near Him, to enjoy His Glory. We are sinful and unable to enter His Holiness. God sent Jesus, Holiness and perfection embodied, to live among us and teach us His way. Jesus did not sin, and therefore, but accepting death at out hands He took out punishment on Himself. This allows God to forgive us, His justice is satisfied and His mercy is set free to us. We must accept the forgiveness, admit our own inability to become holy on our own strength, and accept His covering and cleansing for our sins. There is no chance, there is no worry. Once we have accepted Christs’ payment we are free to do as we ought, secure in the knowledge that before God we will be clean and pure, and the only judgment will be over our work bring glory to Him.

That is true forgiveness, that is what separates Islam from Christianity. There are good people and bad people who claim both faiths. But at the heart, the Christian has true forgiveness given them, and is able therefore to show true forgiveness, while the Muslim has not received forgiveness and therefore finds it difficult to give forgiveness.

Compare also the thoughts on retribution: The Muslim must do things and accomplish works to bring before Allah to present in hopes of exceeding his sin balance. The Muslims described in the article above are expecting remuneration to the tune of 10 Million Euros per child infected, this in excess of the approximately 10 million per child already invested in Libya by various members of the EU with the specific intent of getting these ten people freed.

Rights Versus Rights

The term “rights” is often misconstrued to include entitlements not necessarily human or constitutional rights. I saw this quote recently and it resonated well.

“Liberals love to talk about this or that human right, such as a right to health care, food or housing. That’s a perverse usage of the term ‘right.’ A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. … If one person has a right to something he didn’t produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That’s because, since there’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American. I’d like to hear the moral argument for taking what belongs to one person to give to another person.”

~ Walter Williams