I teared up watching the Dove commercial and here’s why. We are more than what we see in the mirror. The personalities of the women showed through, making them more beautiful to those describing them. And that to me is worthy of a tear.
To which I said: Yes. Absolutely, yes. I teared up too, and I watched it several times, including with my teenage daughter. It really does resonate.
The part that felt a bit funky to me was when the one gal said, “It’s so important…I need to be more grateful for my natural beauty.”
I watched it several times, and that bugged me increasingly with each viewing. I felt like something more subtle than the usual selling of discontent and insecurity was happening: I was being sold my own positive emotions, with the company’s products as a rider. But how? It doesn’t have the usual feel of marketing. They don’t even tell you to buy anything.
Or do they?
I’ve used Dove products since long before I heard of the Real Beauty campaign, because I have sensitive skin. So after a bit, I got to thinking about what’s in my bathroom cabinet. Continue reading →
Why are so many females I know having such a strong reaction to the sketches video, being moved to the point of tears?
Because the message that we constantly receive is that girls are not valuable without beauty.
Brave, strong, smart? Not enough. You have to be beautiful. And “beautiful” means something very specific, and very physical.
So here’s a weird life choice I’ve made, or at least, in this culture’s context it is: The conscious choice to be overweight.
Let me clarify that. What I mean is the conscious choice not to manage my weight or worry about it. For me, in my current lifestyle, that translates to overweight. For somebody else, it’d be something different, and that’s normal.
Guys, I love you. But even those of you who are deeply aware of women’s issues in the wider culture (and my friends all are, they have hearts the size of a whole continent), sometimes seem to be unaware of what it’s like to be a woman in a conservative Bible-believing faith community.
Which is as it should be, to some extent, I suppose, since you’re men.
But, my beloved friends, you have a charge to keep. I hope you’ll bear with me, and find some encouragement for your great responsibilities, and hold me accountable without dismissing my thoughts, and listen deeply.
Being the Majority
When I’m the white North American woman at the evangelical publishing conference, I’m oblivious to the challenges being experienced by the male minority. I’m oblivious to the challenges being experienced by the black and Asian female minority. I have only the slightest understanding, as a Canadian, of the challenges being experienced by the attendees from overseas cultures that operate very differently than the American business culture.
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy….I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted.
1 Cor. 4:1-2, 4a
When we get to a place where we’re reacting to secular reactionism, we’re almost guaranteed to have hermeneutical issues. A.W. Tozer famously said that the historic role of the church has been proactive, one of speaking into the world, that the world may respond to its Creator and Redeemer; it has only been in the last hundred years of Western Christianity that the church has abdicated its calling and become a responder to the world, founding its responses on the premises and biases of secular society.
Well, I’m paraphrasing to some extent. But the point remains.
Do men and women have inherently different emotional constitutions? I think it’s fair to say they do, but the older I get, the more I am aware that we’re all people with the same kind of heart. We do have differing social responses, and we do have different natural expressions of the same heart. Sorting out which is which, though…aye, there’s the rub. 
Let us proceed with some anecdotes. This is not an analytical post, just a collection of personal experiences for context.
As a new Christian, it was easy to embrace a theological teaching that men and women are inherently different. I was fresh from an upbringing where, in the abstract at least, gender was considered largely an environmental construct, and from a family where I saw the women ruling the roosts, often to the detriment of their daily relationships. Somewhere along the way, I came to an unspoken decision that I wouldn’t ever marry a man I could rule–because I knew I simply wouldn’t be able to respect a pushover.
That wasn’t about gender ideology. It was about how human relationships function.
This week, Christians in bikinis, and some great commentary on extreme patriarchy’s unique gestation in the American-cultured petri dish. At the intersection of both, the nature and roles of the genders.
And in both instances, I fell to thinking on the nature and role of men.
Perhaps it’s because, as a woman, I feel pretty settled in my thoughts on my own nature and role. Perhaps it’s because there’s plenty of women’s advocacy in society, but little institutional recognition for straight males, and even less for straight males of a chivalrously traditional mindset.
Perhaps it’s because I’m married to such a man, and my spouse has amply earned the deepest compassion and fidelity I have in my personal fibre.
‘Ware the Beast
While its message is a needed wake-up call to teens in particular, I lost patience with the bikini article at this point:
Your brother and his friends (and cousins and uncles and probably grandpa) cannot help that their brain and body have a physical and chemical reaction to seeing your breasts and almost naked body.
Which means that you are putting these guys in a very, very difficult position. Many of them control themselves when you are around, but don’t even ask what they say when you are not. Trust me… they do say things, and even do things!
Yesterday, cover designs. Tomorrow, Kerry Nietz. What, you might ask, is the connection between a parenting theology study and swashbuckling Christian science fiction? Between an examination of areas of the Christian subculture in America and an examination of the potential impact of Islam on the future?
In the course of research and keeping up to date on the freedom-from-false-religion parenting community, I found a blog called Baptist Taliban Memoirs. The author documents the contrast between the life she lived in a rigid religious community and the freedom in Christ she’s now found.
I found out the reasons.
We connected on Facebook, and I commented that I appreciated the train of thought in her latest post, Prodigal Malpractice. Now, I want to document what happened next, because there’s a definite countermove which insinuates that those Bible-believers who call a snake a snake have shifted into liberalism, or even (gasp) apostasy. Continue reading →
In order to charge God with condoning crime, it needs to be shown that His laws condone crime, or that God is indifferent to crime.
If the Bible’s God is not real, the only important thing is how the fantasy of him affects people who live with it–whether it causes draconian and unjust laws or social hardheartedness toward injustice.
Fortunately, this can be tested out in detail with very little work. For our study, we have an entire national constitution and criminal/civil code claiming to come directly from God. It forms a great part of the first five books of the Bible. Jews simply call it “the Law.”
Today, kids, let’s do a little Women’s Advocacy 101.
First off, what is rape? I’ve had some experience dealing with the different scenarios people find themselves in. Some have been heartwrenching and sickening; some have been as arbitrarily revisionist as a friend who wanted a divorce saying to me, “But he raped me. We had sex when I didn’t want to.”
If I had a dime for every person, male or female, who’s had sex when they didn’t want to out of a sense of obligation to their partner, or their vows or commitments of whatever kind…So I’d like to start by drawing a distinction between rape and charity. Continue reading →