Sunday, September 22, 2013
consideration by the individual churches. For now, it has created a study for people to work through. Its part heavy feminist theology and part conscious raising. Geared to individual reflection and corporate action
The first study begins with a focus on power. It reframes interpretations of biblical text used to justify subordination. (Following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her first feminist interpretation of biblical passages in The Woman's Bible.). Mark 9:34 states that people must deny themselves and take up cross. This passage has and is used to justy women's subordination, for example counseling women to stay in marriages despite abuse and violence. The feminist study distinguishes human suffering from religious persecution. Human suffering is not a mandate, and instead all are called to heal and help end the suffering of others. The passage has to be placed in the context of its time, when self did not mean our contemporary notion of individualism but rather the connection of the patriarchal kinship group. Thus, and here's the big takeaway, the passage is instead a radical call to subvert basic social patterns by renouncing accepted social patterns, such as inequality in marriage or subordination workplace.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Justice is often represented in visual form by the proverbial Scales of Justice.....What happens when it takes on an alternative, less intuitive guise?.....
Friday, September 20, 2013
Apparently, the good justice is irate about Pope Francis's heretical remarks about gay marriage and abortion, and so has set up this committee to replace Pope Francis (or, as a law professor, I should say in deference to Justice Scalia, "Pope" Francis)...... (When asked about his membership in the committee, Justice Thomas remained silent.)
As John notes, the pope’s interview is drawing headlines. And rightly so, for its refreshing and powerful statement of a social gospel. What I’m not sure about yet is what this means for women. In the interview, the pope criticizes the church’s obsession with doctrine and imposition of rules about divorce, abortion, homosexuality, and contraception. In a little-noticed part of the interview, he says the church needs a deeper “theology of women.” The church, he says “needs the feminine genius” and the full participation of the women’s role. He says that Mary is greater in the church than any bishop or apostle. On the other hand he talks about the distinct feminine element, the caregiving function of women and the bread winner role for men, and women's separate role in the church, sounding more like complimentarianism. Actions though, speak louder than words. Last spring, as Slate reported, the pope endorsed his predecessor’s crackdown on so-called radical feminist nuns (80% of American nuns) for their focus on economic justice and serving the poor rather than the anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage message.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
I just finished, last night, reading Shamus Rahman Khan's The Privilege. Khan is an alumnus, and was a teacher at St. Paul's School, in New Hampshire, one of the most well-regarded boarding schools in the nation; Robert Mueller and John Kerry both played on the school's hockey team. One of the sections in the book, the one that was most surprising to me, harped on how girls at the school deliberately mobilized their sex appeal.
They did so to contest the school’s administration and to assert their power as students; they did so both to please and to intimidate boys; and to experience the pleasures of self-definition and because they had caved-in to social pressure. Sexuality, then, was a most barbed thing at St. Paul’s (and presumably, similar boarding schools). It was gratifying to read such a wonderfully rich and paradoxical explanation of sexuality.
I wondered, though, what happened to these girls. The girls at St. Paul’s (many of them, I would think) would become lawyers, doctors, professors, business executives, and influential government officials. How were these early, adolescent experiences impacting how they would view gender relations, and politically ancillary ideals of justice and opportunity? That would make for an arresting book in its own right. . . ..
The New York Times reports on France’s proposed ban on child beauty pageants. Fearing the “hypersexualization” of young girls, the law penalizes anyone who “helps, encourages or tolerates” children’s participation in pageants. The main sponsor of the ban says the pageants teach girls it is about beauty rather than that “what counts is what they have in their brains.” Certainly we have seen feminist challenges to women’s beauty obsession before from the protest of the Miss America Pageant in 1968 (at which no actual bras were burned) to The Beauty Myth and Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Beauty pageants raise other issues as well, like the recent racially vitriolic reactions to the crowning of a Miss America of Indian descent. Feminists, though, have also challenged the broader concept of fearing women’s sexuality, and have often opposed attempts to regulate and criminalize sexual behavior as in bans on birth control and reproductive rights.
It’s telling that the headline is the Toddlers and Tiaras amendment rather than the heart of the gender equality bill. The main French law proposes a “sweeping gender equality overhaul” of equal pay, domestic violence, paternity obligations, sexism in the media, and participation of women in business and government. Significantly it includes tangible remedies and penalties for violations of the new laws. But that apparently is not front-page news.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
This is the sort of story that, to me, would seem intellectually vexing in the most rewarding of ways. It raises, I'm sure, many questions. Perhaps one such question is: Can your "manliness" (if that is what it should be called) remain unimpeachable even after you become a woman because you had proved your guts (or some appropriately named male anatomy) as a Navy SEAL? And, indeed, what takes more courage, that prime male virtue--being a Navy SEAL who endures stunning risk, or being a SEAL who comes out as a woman, a form of stunning risk in its own right? Which is the more "manly" decision?
Tuesday, September 17, 2013