Friday, May 30, 2014

An Unpopular Opinion

There's always a lot of social justice talk going on on the internet. We see people blogging, tweeting, tumbling, and hashtagging away to end all sorts of inequalities and injustices that prevail in our world. But I think people, especially those who are more active in the social-justice blogosphere, are still completely ignoring one extremely unfair inequality--sexism.

I know what you're probably thinking. "But I'm a feminist! I'm completely against sexism! Equality between men and women is totally my thing! Sexist, me??" Yes, my dear feminist, that is wonderful. You want equality. Well, let me tell you a story.

There was once a career field that was entirely dominated by one of the sexes. As in, people of the other sex technically could enter that line of work, because it wasn't illegal or anything, but society completely frowned upon it. A person of this particular gender was expected to do other things instead, things that society considered "appropriate" and "proper" for that gender. There were a few people of that gender who did enter that field, but they were an extreme superminority. Meanwhile, people of the other gender were allowed to go into almost any line of work they wanted. It seemed that, shockingly, society was arbitrarily placing people of one sex in certain categories of work and lifestyle, without placing such restrictions on the other sex.

Furthermore, people of this restricted sex were not any less smart or strong than those of the not-so-restricted sex. The restricted persons were looked upon as simply being less skilled, or less naturally suited, to this job. The other gender would tease this one, generalizing them, and making fun of them for their inability to perform the tasks of this job. TV shows and movies portrayed this gender occasionally trying to do this job, and failing miserably at it, causing hilarity and disaster. People of this gender who tried to take on this certain job in real life were looked upon as odd or even as failures for not "living up" to the standards of their own "gender role".

Now, does this sound like a true story? Well, it is one. It's happening in our society today. Men and women are treated totally differently in one particular field, such that men who take this particular job are often considered failures and weaklings. This job is that of being a stay-at-home parent.

Society has developed to the extent that women are allowed to have professional jobs in practically any field, and while it is true that many fields are still male-dominated, there are many fields that are still vastly female-dominated. Women are the majority of nurses, midwives, babysitters, nannies, etc.--in short, they dominate almost everything that involves directly taking care of people. When we hear words like "nurse" we as a society generally assume "woman", even though there are plenty of male nurses. (Think of Rory Williams from Doctor Who!)
 
(Photo credit: plushieonthesun.livejournal.com)
 However, the job of staying at home to raise children, take care of the house, do the grocery shopping and cooking, etc is a field which is so completely vastly woman-dominated, it's insane. Men, even in our modern age, are told "Get out of the kitchen. Stop trying to make sandwiches. You fail at this. Go be a CEO or something. You have no business here." Maybe these words aren't said to their faces, but the meaning is there. Men themselves often don't even realize that there is a whole field from which they are virtually excluded, never even considering the possibility that that could be a man's job. How many men are out there who might actually be really good at this job, which is of essential importance, but who never have had the opportunity to try? How many are there who are passionate about all the detailed, person-oriented work that goes into crafting an environment suitable for living, the resourcefulness required to create delicious meals and beautiful settings on a fixed budget, and everything else that goes into the art and task of homemaking, but who will always be too oppressed and afraid to actually go do it?

It is time to recognize this inequality as what it is, an inequality. It is time to reassess what we believe, and make a very important decision. Are we going to promote equality for everyone, in all places, in all workplaces, in every field and lifestyle? Or are we going to consider that women may actually, generally speaking, be better at certain things than men generally are? Is it fair to say that men and women may actually be (gasp) different? As in, they are intrinsically equal in dignity while being very different and balancing each other out so that there is someone perfectly suited for each necessary type of task? Is that idea utterly ridiculous, more ridiculous than the idea of a man in a frilly apron trying to cook? (because that is kind of funny, to most of us.)

(Ricky Ricardo from the 1950's show I Love Lucy, played by Desi Arnaz. Photo credit: Getty images.)

It's time to recognize the hypocrisy in the idea that women can either stay at home to cook and clean and raise children, or go out and have daily paying jobs in a wide variety of professional fields, while men can only do the wide variety of professional fields, and can't do the staying-at-home without being regarded as failures (even more than the women who stay at home are--more on this another time). It's time to end the double standards--all of them.

Note: This post is not the summit and totality of my views on sexism, feminism, gender roles, stay-at-home moms and dads, double standards in modern society, or even men in frilly aprons trying to cook. This post is simply pointing out, in semi-satirical form, a particular flaw in the logic of feminism as it stands today. I plan to write more posts in the future on the topic of feminism, and hopefully my full position will eventually be made clear. For now, suffice it to say that I am a woman, and I do not call myself a feminist, but I do truly believe that men and women are both created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore infinitely valuable and intrinsically equal in worth. However, I do not believe that this means they are exactly the same. "Equal" means equal, but it does not mean "the same". Being equal is good, but being the same is boring. Again, there will be further posts on this later. Also, no offense whatsoever is intended toward feminists of any sort, and certainly not towards women, men, stay-at-home dads, or anyone else. Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment with polite debate and questions!

Monday, May 19, 2014

What I Learned in my Second Semester of College

So, time being the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, big ball that it is, I have somehow already finished a whole year of college?? I honestly don't know how that happened, but I do recall learning lots of important things. The list of what I learned in the first semester has already been posted, so here's the list of what I learned in the second semester. Tollete legete, mi amici!

1. There is a single sentence that can sum up all of history: "A great many things keep happening, some of them good and some of them bad." (Gregory of Tours, A History of the Franks)
2. Lists are awesome.
3. Some people disagree with the above statement, rage against lists, and write poems to that effect upon St Valentine's Day. Completely anonymous poems, of course...
4. "Luke" rhymes with many things, almost none of which are favorable, except perhaps "duke" and "Baruch". At least, this is the case at 11:30 p.m. during midterms.
5. "Jesus is my fortune cookie." -- me. Don't ask, because I really don't know.
6. Pennsylvania does not touch the ocean, and that is final.
7. (Assuming it exists, of course.)
8. One should never underestimate one's abilities to write under pressure. Blog post in less than an hour? Yep. Magazine article in two hours? Of course. Sonnet in twenty minutes? Sure thing. Paper in a night and a half? Check. Parody of "Jabberwocky" to be used as the narration for a zombie film? No problem at all. Inspirational Sherlock-themed speech for a competition the next day, being written for someone who has never seen Sherlock before? Yes, this too has been done, and even won second place. With God and tea all things are possible...
9. St Athanasius was the King of Sass.
10. So was St Peter Damian when he first saw someone using a fork.
11. Tangoing to Phantom of the Opera music is like no other pleasure on this earth.
12. When it snows, there will absolutely, positively, 100% definitely, be people randomly singing "Let it Go" on the way to class. Actually, scratch the part about "When it snows" and replace that with "Every single day".
13. Bringing a baby to campus is the surest way to get attention.
14. Rag mops are not mops, they are just things that smear the mud around.
15. A magic 8-ball is an evil, diabolical thing, but you can buy it at Kmart.
16. Twenty-five percent of Americans still believe in the geocentric theory of the universe.
17. An Aeneid/Tangled mashup needs to happen, or at least just this line: "I don't know what made Troy fall--fate, destiny..." "A horse?"
18. There is a singing group called the Suspicious Cheese Lords.
19. There is another one called the Grey Havens. (And they are AWESOME.)
20. The Catholic Church is totally sexist. Case in point: There's a rule that if a woman is kidnapped by a man with the intention of marrying her, that marriage is invalid. However, there is no rule that says a woman can't kidnap a man with the intent to marry him...
21. By the way, Sadie Hawkins was fun.
22. The World of Forms is up and to the left.
23. Cicero is awesome.
24. St Augustine is awesome.
 25. Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is awesome when-- STOP!!!
26. But the LEGO movie was actually really really good.
27. At Disney World they apparently sell "Olaf noses" just to get people to buy carrots. Advertising ftw...
28. Intellection is impossible without returning to the phantasms because the agent intellect must turn to the phantasm and abstract the nature, leaving behind the individuating aspects, and form the intelligible species, which then proceeds to the possible intellect, which speaks an internal word to itself and this word is called the concept. Pretty cool, huh?
29. Philosophical pickup lines are the best things ever.
30. But actually the best pickup line ever is to be found in the Koran. ("Come here, O you!" -- Potiphar's wife, in the Surah Yusuf)
31. Transfer students are always either really smart or really crazy.
32. Regina Doman is amazing. And her books are too. Oh, and I got to hold her three-week-old baby, nbd.
33. Some people do not know how to use microwaves.
34. When left microwave-less, the best way to deal with the grief is to write a Les Mis parody song about the situation.
35. Muffins ought not to be microwaved. (Oh wait, I knew that already. But rumor has it someone else didn't. Bless her heart.)
36. "Bless her heart" is the southern belle's way of despairing of a person's long-term well-being.
37. Two out of three theology professors will quote The Princess Bride when they get to the part about marriage. (I mean mawwiage.)
38. There is such thing as a Pope Innocent III action figure. ("With real excommunicating action!" according to the package.)
39. The best way to begin reciting a poem is to shout "HWAET!"
40. And then you proceed to "unlock your word-hoard".
 41. THERE ACTUALLY ARE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO HAVE READ THE LORD PETER WIMSEY MYSTERIES BY DOROTHY SAYERS. I can die happy.
42. The Fourth Doctor's theme is the best way to herald the arrival of pizza.
43. However the library is NOT a good place to have a pizza party...
44. The Fourth Crusade was, like, totally hilarious.
45. If everyone in the world took Philosophy of Human Nature, said world would be a much better place.
46. Liberal-arts students can take three months to notice that a certain numbered List of What is Awesome goes from 14 straight to twenty.
47. Beware of random gym adventures, and people who drive cars down the dip at night.
48. (The dip's official name once upon a time was "St Catherine's Walk", apparently.)
49. There is at least one man who watches, and has strong opinions about, Say Yes to the Dress.

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE OF ALL:
50. Pigs tails straighten out when they die.