Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

I hope this post finds you all enjoying a blessed and happy Christmas season. I wanted to share a video clip from one of my favorite Christmas shows, A Charlie Brown Christmas, about the real meaning of Christmas. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I love you....who says it first?

My boyfriend (I shall refer to him as "B") and I recently said those three little words to each other for the first time; "I love you". This was even after B bravely met my family for the first time at my brother's wedding last weekend (no pressure there!). But, I digress....

I found it interesting that my female friends, both Christian and non-Christian alike, universally agreed that the woman should wait for the man to say "I love you" first. The reasons for this included:
  • The man should lead in the relationship.
  • I would be embarrassed if I said it first and he did not reciprocate.
  • He would feel "pressured" if I said it first.
  • And, other variants thereof.

One friend suggested I "plant the seed on the sly" by signing an email "Love, Learner" and see if he noticed and said anything. I opted not to do that because I figured I was either going to tell him so or wait, not go half way or be "sly".

In the end, even though I knew that I loved B for a while, I decided to wait for him to say it first while doing what I could to express my love to him in ways that did not include just saying the words. I decided to wait because since we started to get to know each other he has had a good feel about when to move forward in our relationship, and I trust his judgement and want to follow his leadership. I later told B about my friend's opinions that I should wait for him to say "it" first and his response was something like "hmm, interesting".

After thinking about this some more I have wondered about another possible reason for waiting for the man to say I love you first. Given the masculine ability to separate emotions from thought and logic better than many women seem to be able to, myself included, perhaps it is prudent to follow the man's lead for when is the right time to say "I love you"?

What do y'all think?


In other news, I just recently noticed I had a follower named Jody! Hi Jody and thanks for following my blog :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Female-centric assumptions in academia

One of the courses I teach this semester has a lab component where I work with groups of 10 or so students on specific skills. These lab courses are conducted in a fairly informal manner and there is a lot of casual conversation going on as skills are practiced. I have the opportunity to hear and participate in some interesting and sometimes disturbing conversations among the students. Mostly I just ask questions to hopefully encourage them to think about what they are saying.

A few weeks back I alluded to one such conversation where a female student claimed a young man who was a neighbor of hers in one of the student apartment complexes was a “loser”. She made this claim following a few minutes reporting how he helped her move heavy objects and how he gave her back rubs. He had asked her if she would knock on his door and wake him up the next morning when she left for class. She said she told him, “No, I’m not your mother”. Apparently asking her to do something helpful for him after doing helpful things for her was just too much to ask and thus earned him the title “loser”. I asked her, “So, what exactly makes him a “loser” and she had no answer to my question. Other young women in the class did proclaim her “mean” but most of them (not all though) still laughed.

This week I also had a conversation about the ever present myth that men are unfairly paid more than women. One of the young women was talking about when she worked at a local Halloween haunted house/ hay ride type of attraction last year. During the conversation she mentioned how cool all of the make-up effects were and that going through the attraction was so scary that she was scared when she went through it even though she worked behind the scenes regularly. She talked about how during the hay ride young men dressed in black with scary masks etc run out of the corn fields and chase and actually jump up on the hay wagon and grab at the people in it. She mentioned that the owner only hired males to do this job. Later in the conversation she mentioned that it was common knowledge that the owner paid the men more than the women. Another female student agreed that was unfair. I asked, “Do the guys do different jobs than the girls?” She answered, “Um, well, yeah I guess they do, they do the chasing the wagon where they stay outside all the time and have to run after and catch the wagon and jump up on it.” I asked, “Are there no women that earn more money too?” She answered, “Well, yes, the make-up artist is a woman and she earns the most.” Hmm….that is always an easy conversation to have, as such it is amazing to me the “it is unfair that men get paid more” myth endures because it is so easy to refute that any difference is due to different types of work and or lifestyle choices made.

Today, a female student was talking about her out-of-state internship this past summer where she dated a medical student she met. She was joking with one of the male students who was also on an internship in the same state who came to visit her one weekend had “chased off” this medical student. “Thanks a lot , he was going to be a doctor!” she joked. “He kept asking me ‘Is he your boyfriend’ and I said that you were just a friend.” She then went on to relate the last conversation she had with the medical student. “He invited me to the lake. He said ‘You’re so pretty, let’s go to the lake. The atmosphere will be perfect.’ Isn't that creepy? Ha ha! And I said, ‘Um, perfect for what?” I asked her “Did you really say that to him?” and she said she did. I said, “Hmm, maybe it wasn’t your male friend visiting, maybe he didn’t take kindly to your assumption that he had some nefarious purpose in mind?” She seemed stunned at the thought, for a second, and then laughed.

Not that the news is all bad on that front. Some of you may recall me mentioning a student complaining to my boss that I had insulted her when I was attempting to give her some feedback about immature behavior. I have not had much more contact with that student until this semester when she is in two of my courses. She has remarkably matured and is taking constructive feedback very well. I am impressed. I guess the threat of my being “reported to social justice” was worth it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I am following Professor Hale's advice...

...and doing a short post.

Do you ever see bumper stickers or emblems on cars that drive you crazy? I do.

This one for example:

Apparently women need to "misbehave" to make a difference. I guess that goes with the "bitches get things done" attitude.

Or this one:

I dislike this one because it kind of smacks of the "I'm in the club and you're not" mentality.

I don't like this one either:

I have God along for the ride to help me out!

Or this one:

As though evolution was a theory that could be tested through experiments like gravity.

On the subject of evolution, here is the latest installment in the "Christian fish" vs "Darwin fish"
emblem battle:

I guess I just don't like things based on mockery. I've never seen the symbol of another religion such as Judaism or Islam treated in this manner.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why my blog is pathetic

Dear blog readers,

Hello, it's me, Learner. I know I have not been around here much here lately. Life has become rather busy since the semester started and I have not had much extra free time to write here. I have been rather occupied with some increased teaching responsibilities (14 graduate credits, yikes!), professional writing projects, dissertating (yes, it is a verb, as in to work on a dissertation), going to help my dad care for my mom who is home after spending 3 months in a nursing home and daydreaming about a certain wonderful gentleman.

I have had ideas for posts such as:
  • a rant about going through the review and publication process for a journal article (which I am sure most of y'all would find mind numbingly boring)
  • a discussion of a recent conversation I had with co-workers where a family court judge was described as "biased toward fathers" because they tended toward 50/50 custody arrangements more often (er....isn't 50/50 kinda unbiased?)
  • recounting a conversation between several of my female students about why a male neighbor of one of them was a "loser" (made no sense to me)
  • describing a conversation from my single women's Bible study where a sermon one of the women heard was shared which the pastor specifically said was for "single men" though everyone was invited to "listen in". The subject of the sermon? Sexual purity. Yeah, no one but single men need to learn about sexual purity.
  • a list of verses from the Bible about how God wants us to live as men and women outside of marriage, children, and sexuality for Catwoman since she doesn't seem to know where any of them are.
  • a post about why some women don't seem to able to be happy for you when you meet a great guy (to quote one of my friend's after I said I had a wonderful time with the previously mentioned gentleman, "Gag")
Yet, none of these posts has come to fruition. At the moment I don't think any of them will. I also have a few more C.S. Lewis quotes I'd like to share, but that doesn't seem to be happening either.

So, if you'd like to read an interesting post, may I recommend this one over at Imonk about how to talk to Christians of other faith traditions or this one from Terry at Breathing Grace about the difference between falling in love and living in love, because you likely won't find one here! :)


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Love, marriage and politically correct research

More on love and marriage from C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis has interesting things to say on love and marriage in the The Screwtape Letters. Senior demon Screwtape writes letters to his junior demon nephew Wormwood on how to take humans from "the Enemy" being God, toward "Our Father" being Satan:

Now comes the joke. The Enemy described a married couple as 'one flesh'. He did not say a 'happily married couple' or 'a couple who married because they were in love', but you can make the humans ignore that. You can also make them forget that the man they call Paul did not confine it to married couples. Mere copulation, for him, makes 'one flesh'. You can thus get the humans to accept as rhetorical eulogies of 'being in love' what were in fact plain descriptions of the real significance of sexual intercourse. The truth is that whenever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured. From the true statement that this transcendental relation was intended to produce, and, if obediently entered into, too often will produce, affection and the family, humans can be made to infer the false belief that the blend of affection, fear and desire which they call 'being in love' is the only thing that makes marriage either happy or holy. The error is easy to produce because 'being in love' does very often, in Western Europe, precede marriages which are made in obedience to the Enemies designs, that is, with the intention of fidelity, fertility and good will; just as religious emotion very often, but not always, attends conversion. (emphasis mine)

When we come from the place that elevates "being in love", a temporary feeling which should not be confused with love, to the pinnacle of human experience, we create an environment where the loss of the feeling of "being in love" can be used as an excuse for all sorts of behaviors destructive to marriage, including infidelity. After all, God wants us to be "happy", right? Right?


Politically correct research

You never know when you are going to run into examples of political correctness when it comes to the differences between the genders. I attended a dissertation defense on Friday in preparation for my own defense one of these days. The study being defended examined a certain type of knee injury in sports that is more commonly experienced by women than by men, the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL tear. The researcher outlined the anatomic and kinematic differences between men and women related to this injury. Basically, men tend to land from a jump in more knee flexion than women due to different factors, not the least of which is better balance between the quadriceps and hamstring muscles (ie; women tend to overly rely on their quads resulting in greater knee extension upon landing). And, the ACL is more at risk for injury in extension.

The researcher then went on to describe the study she carried out which involved a way to change landing kinematics such that the women in the study had more knee flexion when landing. After her presentation the audience had the opportunity to as her questions and one of the female anatomy profs asked the following question; "In essence aren't you trying to masculinize these women's movement patterns?" I thought to myself that was true, and that it would make sense to do so to a certain degree if the goal is to prevent ACL injuries among female athletes. But, the researcher answered, "Well, I suppose you could look at it that way, but I prefer not to. It is, in a sense, true, but it isn't appropriate to consider the findings in that manner". The prof who asked the question nodded her approval and from the back of the room I could observe several other profs shaking their heads a bit. Brilliant! Never mind the truth if it makes you uncomfortable to think of it in that way or you find it "inappropriate". We can't imply that men in any way have any inherent superiority to women, now can we?

Monday, August 31, 2009

A milestone

10,000 Visits here at Learning to Balance. Who'da thunk it?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love and competition

In 1942 Christian writer C.S. Lewis published The Screwtape Letters. The book is a series of “letters” between Screwtape, a senior demon and his nephew Wormwood, a junior demon about how to ensure the damnation of people. Lewis makes some chilling observations in the book about many subjects including love and marriage. In this passage “the Enemy” is God and “our Father” is the devil.

The Enemy’s demand on humans takes the form of a dilemma; either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy. Ever since our Father’s first great victory, we have rendered the former very difficult to them. The latter, for the last few centuries, we have been closing up as a way of escape. We have done this through the poets and the novelists by persuading the humans that a curious, and usually short lived experience which they call ‘being in love’ is the only respectable ground for marriage; that marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent, and that a marriage which does not do so is no longer binding. This is our parody of an idea that came from the Enemy.

The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses….’To be’ means to ‘be in competition’.

Lewis seems to have nailed the basis of the struggle in the current culture with marriage 67 years ago.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Game", Marriage and Football


It seems that "game" is a hot topic in many of the blogs I read lately. Anakin, Novaseeker, and Amir and others have written posts about "game" and PUAs (pick up artists) recently. This is not a subject that I know much about but I have recently done a little reading on the subject to try and understand it a bit more. It sounds to me like "game" is like many philosophies (does it qualify as a "philosophy"?) in that people will argue "it doesn't have to be like that" about the seedier or more objectionable elements. This "don't throw the baby out with the bath water" sort of approach can be seen in various situations such as when people argue that feminism is simply the "radical notion that women are human beings" and reject or down play the radical parts such as the belief that men are scum. Or, when people vilify Christianity because of the Crusades or because Hitler was supposedly a nominal christian.

In this way, Novaseeker writes that "Game is a way for generations of men who have been feminized to become more masculine again." I think it is very true that most women are attracted to men who are competent/confident and who understand their role as the leader and behave accordingly. If "game" helps men learn how to do that I don't think it is a bad thing. But, a lot of what is called "game" on the Internet seems to not just be about being masculine.

Some of the elements that I have read about are quite distasteful to me. For example, one well known blog on the subject of "game" put forth the idea that women are turned on by being afraid of their husbands. I find the idea repulsive. I have experienced very real fear of a man in a romantic relationship and it certainly did nothing to attract me to him and in reality resulted in only bad. I do think there is such a thing as a healthy "fear" for a leader that is about respect for the leader and concern about not displeasing the leader per se. But, I don't think it is good for that respect and "fear" to be a fear of physical violence.

So, I think when more "conservative" people (including yours truly) look at blogs about "game" that all of the distasteful parts are pretty tough to weed through to recognize whatever value there may be in some of the ideas. If there are ideas of merit for men who want to live a life that is pleasing to God in the philosophy of "game" it seems to me that it needs to be presented in a context that eliminates the godless elements.

Marriage: then and now.

I went to see the movie Julie and Julia today. I quite enjoyed it though perhaps many men would consider it a "chick flick" (there were 2 men in the theater with their wives/girlfriends). It was funny and touching and was about a subject interesting to me (and Meryl Streep was fantastic as Julia Child and had the most wonderful period wardrobe). It is a film about Julia Child, iconic American chef, cookbook author and pioneer cooking show host, and Julie Powell, a young woman who blogged her way through cooking all of the recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. I have loved Julia Child since I was a child for some reason. Maybe it was because I found her quite funny and she really was a marvelous teacher (I learned to make a fabulous brioche from one of her cookbooks among other things.....very user friendly). And, I read through the archives of Julie Powel's blog back in 2003 . So, I wanted to see this movie when it came out.

In the movie both Julia and Julie are married and their relationships play a large part in their stories. Both relationships are portrayed as good ones in the film and the husbands are portrayed positively for the most part. But, I noticed definite differences in the relationships of the two couples. Julia Child willingly accepts her husband's advice and help while Julie Powell states she does not need her husband's help yet runs to him when a lobster needs killin'. Julia Child is never portrayed as putting her interest in cooking and writing in front of her husband's work. Rather she moves from diplomatic post to diplomatic post across Europe with him and conforms the work on her cookbook to the needs of his career. Julia and her husband Paul Child are portrayed as having a very loving, playful, and sexually fulfilling relationship where Julia is always shown as welcoming of and enthusiastic about her husband's advances. Julie Powell complains that between her full time job and her blogging project that she doesn't have time for her marriage. In effect she puts a blog before her husband to the point that he complains about the lack of sex in their relationship and she is seen rebuffing his advances in order to cook recipes for the blog.

So perhaps it is not surprising that in the movie Julie Powell's husband walks out on her for a day because she is an admitted "bitch" (and apparently Powell has written another book called Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession to be published later this year about an affair she had after her book about her blogging experience was published). I found the juxtaposition of these two marriages interesting though I doubt that the film makers (the film was produced by Nora Ephron) intended to present the picture they did. I think perhaps Julia Child's marriage would be viewed by many as more confining, however her more traditional model of marriage was "happier" than the "modern" version for both the men and women involved.

Preseason football

I would just like to say that I don't care how many pre-season games the Steelers lose now that they have beaten the Cardinals once again in a Super Bowl rematch. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pictorial Evidence (Warning- possible "ew" factor)

Amazingly enough, two of my plants have managed to remain alive. Please note, I have not watered or otherwise cared for them in about 6 weeks since they looked like they were done for.

Resilient things, aren't they?

My finger is healing well. I'll spare you any of the more gory pictures* [you're welcome Ame :)], but here is a view from the front after one of my friends debrieded** it where you can see how straight and neat I cut it. I honestly had no idea that rotary cutters were that sharp. It seems a challenge to get it through more than 4 layers of fabric. It looks so much better already, I think it will be barely noticeable. Here's hoping all of the feeling comes back.

* I am not as weird as that sounds. I took the pictures for my students...a good step by step example of wound healing.

** Sorry if the word or image of debriedment gives you the heebie jeebies. I should also point out that the friend who did so is a qualified medical professional....not just a random "buddy" :)

Maybe one of these days I'll write a well thought out post.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Advice for single Christian women

Blogger SingleChristianMan offers the following advice to Christian women:

Well, single sisters, you know the pickle you are in given the disparities in numbers. I suggest you do something about it.

I give permission for all to widely distribute this prayer, written as a poem as a mnemonic device. Do something beyond virally distributing this across the Internet to all your readers: Actually pray.

For Them (The Prayer for Single Christian Men)

Father, for our brother’s sakes, we ask of you
that you would open the eyes of their hearts, to see
Your leadership, wisdom, and love; and a true
picture of their sonship. Help them be always free
of the love of this world, and to have courage. Soothe
the wounds of this world and the church on them.
Come against their sin with your Shepherd’s love,
Your rod of correction. Cut and polish the gems.
Bring Your staff against their enemies. Reconcile
their questions. Give danger and keep them safe,
teach them Your ways of war and peace; defile
the plans of the accuser. Give power from above
as they wait on You, and bring them back from exile.
We accept them as Your sons and as His brothers.

Not for the squeamish

I like to live on the edge. I have dangerous hobbies like quilting. And, tonight, my obsession with the adrenaline rush of quilting has caught up with me.

I have suffered my first quilting injury. Tonight I sliced a part of the tip/side of my left index finger/fingernail off with a rotary cutter.

It was bound to happen sooner or later with a hobby as dangerous as quilting.

It is pretty swollen and throbbing (the orangey stuff is the antibacterial they slathered on), but at least the doc said she was hopeful I would not lose my fingernail and that once it heals it shouldn't be, in her words, "too badly deformed".

190-something comments?

I had no idea that when I asked "what is a good woman?" that the post would end up with 190-some comments, so thank you to everyone who contributed to the conversation.

That said, c'mon people! 190-something comments? We are too close to 200 comments to stop now! Doesn't anyone have anything else to say??? :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is a good woman?

Over at Anakin's blog a reader who goes by Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech, left a comment that contained the following statement:

"There are very few good women out there. Good women are only two steps from being unicorns (as in completely mythical). It doesn't matter if I find one or not. Even if I do that means somewhere between 99.98% - 99.996% of good men will NEVER find a good woman."

I responded, 'So .004-.02% of women or 1 in 250,000 to 1 in 5000 women meet your definition of a "good woman"? That kind of begs the question...what is your definition of a good woman?'

This certainly is not the first time I have heard this sentiment regarding the rarity of the "good woman". I usually wonder what exactly a "good woman" is when I read it. So, I thought I would ask you all.

P.S. You don't have to believe good women are almost as rare as unicorns to answer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Men and women are different

Men and women are different.

Shocking, isn't it? I have recently been spending some time in the anatomy lab examining cadaveric specimens and I have been struck, once again, at the anatomical differences between men and women. I am not referring to the obvious external differences in reproductive organs, height or body hair either. The muscles of men are obviously thicker, and longer, and even the muscle fascicula (bundles of muscle fibers) of men are visibly larger in girth. Combined with the greater force available via the longer lever arms associated with longer limbs on average, is it any wonder that men are so much stronger than women?

The other difference I noticed was the variation in subcutaneous fat between men and women. Women have an obviously thicker layer of the fat that lies directly below the skin (I am not referring to general body fat, just to the layer of fat that is sort of attached to the skin). It is what makes women's bodies generally more rounded and less angular than men's.

So, yes, men and women are different on the inside as well as the outside.

The generous people who donate their bodies so that those of us in medical professions can learn about anatomy come in all different shapes and sizes. And, sadly, different ages. The specimens currently in the lab ranged in age from early 30s to 80s at the times of their deaths. The youngest was a woman who died from cancer when she was 31 years old. 31 years old.

This week I also attended the funeral of an elderly family member. During the service one of the thoughts that ran through my mind was this, life is short. Whether you die when you are 31 or 88, life is short. Make the most of it. Take some chances and live.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Peepul R Dumm

When on vacation last week my glass of iced tea was placed upon this cocktail napkin depicting the southern coast of Maine.

A closer look at the napkin reveals this important warning: "Not to be used for navigation"

It reminds me of the therapeutic whirlpool at a clinic I used to work at. On the side of the tub it said, "WARNING: DO NOT HOLD THE PATIENT'S HEAD UNDER WATER WHILE IN WHIRLPOOL."

Of course, it's probably better to be stupid enough to try to navigate from a napkin or hold your patient's head under water than to be a PLANT KILLER! This is what I came home from vacation to:

I've been watering them hoping they bounce back. But, it doesn't look good :( (especially the middle one)

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Maine, that is.

Old Orchard Beach with it's cool tidal pools and patterns in the sand

Portland in the fog

Orr's Island

Lands End

Bailey's Island Bridge, the world's only granite cribstone bridge being repaired

Random vacation thoughts:
- One of these days I am going to learn to take pictures of water with the horizon actually horizontal.
- Boston drivers = crazy
- Connecticut waiters = rude
- Maine = beautiful, but rainy
- Me = Had fun and glad to be home :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chick-Flick Lies

By way of Carolyn McCulley I came across an article from a Christian perspective by Beth Spraul about what has been referred to as "chick porn", titled Chick Flicks and the World's Approach to Men and Marriage. While I would guess that some men (and probably women too)would disagree with some of Mrs. Spraul's points in places (feel free to point them out if you wish), I think, on the whole, the article makes some excellent points.

Mrs. Spraul asks,

"Does watching such movies actually affect our understanding of romance or shape how we go about looking for this ideal husband?

I think the answer is yes.

We may think we are savvy enough to detect the subtle lies present in this genre of films. You might be reading this saying, “What’s wrong with a little escapist entertainment every once in a while? It’s just a Hollywood story, and I know it’s just fantasy.” If that’s the case, then why is there still that sigh or even a tear(s) after the 20th viewing of your favorite romantic movie? Something in us is stirred."

This is a point well taken. When something like a book or movie plays on what deeply affects you, such as a woman's emotions, it is undeniable that will have influence over you. Mrs. Spraul compares so-called "chick-flicks" and "chick-lit" to pornography in their ability to create unrealistic expectations.

"In this article, I’d like to discuss briefly what I think are three powerful lies communicated to and believed by women through this genre of “chick-flicks” as well as “chick-lit” (literature). The lies told to women are introduced at the level of women’s emotions (less harmful, right?), in how they dream about men, and in what they long for relationally. Like pornography, chick-flicks take a good gift from God (romance, relational intimacy) that women are created to desire, and distort it by presenting as “normal” an unbiblical and unrealistic picture of men, love and marriage. And just like men who buy into the lies of pornography, women who believe that their husbands and marriages should always be like what they see on the screen will be sinfully dissatisfied with God’s good gift to them of a “normal” husband and marriage."

She then outlines the lies that these sorts of books and movies tell to women.

Lie #1: Men think of romance and relational intimacy exactly like women do!

This one was shocking to me. I mean, who knew that men and women think differently!?!? I would say "duh!" to this one except that often I think both men and women expect the opposite sex to think about things the same way they do. We think they should know what we mean and know what we need from them without telling them and that the other should "understand" without having to explain it.

Lie #2: If I marry the right man, all will be right in my life.

Mrs. Spraul makes some excellent points about the fact that even a great marriage will not, and in fact can not, make all things right.

"If we as women approach our husbands with expectations that he will be the primary source that takes away all our loneliness, insecurities, fears and longings for love, we hold him to a standard no human being is able to meet in this life. We set ourselves up for great disappointment through these unreasonable expectations. When our husband doesn’t deliver such total sweeping happiness to our lives, we can be tempted to blame him when it is our own worldly and idolatrous expectations that are to blame! Such expectations can even lead us to be discontented wives who are unsatisfied with the day to day realities of life and responsibility in marriage. We can become unsatisfied with our husband’s love and service and care because marrying him didn’t cure our deepest emotional struggles."

I wonder how much of the current epidemic of divorce is the result of such thinking?

Lie #3: I will know that a man is right for me by feelings I get when I’m with him.

In a recent post, commenter SA related a story about a woman who rejected a man out of hand without getting to know anything about him. Perhaps this is an example of what Mrs. Spraul was referring to here:

"The dangers of putting all of your stock in emotion are serious. First, you can easily convince yourself that you are experiencing “true love” while having little regard for a man’s faith, character, service or ability to sacrifice himself for others. Second, for women considering a man who initiates a relationship with them, this over-emphasis on the emotional experience and level of attraction/chemistry can influence such women to dismiss possible suitors based on her “intuition.” I’ve seen it happen—a woman doesn’t immediately “feel” that a man is her “type” or the “ideal” that she’s had in her mind for her husband—so the man is simply dismissed without ever having a chance to demonstrate his possible worthiness."

Good points, I think, both for single and for married women.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Yes, but is it really a paradox?

This deserves a well thought out and concisely written post, but unfortunately I am currently incapable of that. I'll just do the best I can.

Anymore when I hear the word "paradox" the first thing I think is, "oh, they mean some data or evidence that does not fit their firmly held assumptions has come up". Recently I read a post at Carolyn McCulley's blog about an opinion piece in the New York times about a study recently reported on "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness". The study is a meta-analysis of data from multiple sources which uses logistic regression (beyond my statistical pay grade) to describe "happiness" for men and women for the last 40 years. In a nut shell the findings say that women are less happy now than they were 40 years ago relative to themselves and relative to men.

In his op-ed piece, Ross Douthat offers his opinion that this relative loss of happiness in women is ambiguous.

"All this ambiguity lends itself to broad-brush readings. A strict feminist and a stringent gender-role traditionalist alike will probably find vindication of their premises between the lines of Wolfers and Stevenson’s careful prose. The feminist will see evidence of a revolution interrupted, in which rising expectations are bumping against glass ceilings, breeding entirely justified resentments. The traditionalist will see evidence of a revolution gone awry, in which women have been pressured into lifestyles that run counter to their biological imperatives, and men have been liberated to embrace a piggish irresponsibility.

There’s evidence to fit each of these narratives. But there’s also room for both."

Douthat then goes on to say "Feminists and traditionalists should be able to agree, for instance, that the structures of American society don’t make enough allowances for the particular challenges of motherhood." Sounds more feminist than "traditionalist" (whatever that really means) to me, as in society should support women's choices. He also says that feminists and traditionalists "should also be able to agree that the steady advance of single motherhood threatens the interests and happiness of women. " This actually sounds feminist to me too, because it refers to the happiness and interest of women rather than the disastrous effects of single parenthood on society as a whole. He also advocates that both feminists and traditionalists should be able to get "behind a social revolution that ostracizes serial baby-daddies and trophy-wife collectors as thoroughly as the “fallen women” of a more patriarchal age." Hmm...okay this may get him into trouble with the feminists....

A blogger at the feminist blog Jezebel has a post on the op-ed and on the study itself. What did she focus on? This statement by Douthit: "But all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness. " And of course she objects vehemently. Because feminism has brought only light and rainbows and flowers and butterflies to the world, right? She postulates the unhappiness felt by women is not because feminism has screwed society up beyond belief and encouraged women to become dissatisfied with, well just about everything, but rather because feminism has not brought enough equality and so women are pissed. The idea that women are discriminated against is highly debatable in the current culture (and I would say not true). But, what she also doesn't get is that any group of people who share characteristics and are different from another group of people are gaining nothing by comparing themselves.

I am 5'5" in height, not short, but hardly statuesque either. What if I compared myself to people 6 feel tall and over? I bet they don't have to get on a kitchen chair to reach the top 2 shelves in their kitchen cabinet! These tall people's feet probably touch the floor when they sit in restaurant booths or when riding in an airplane! It's wrong I tell you. Houses, restaurant booths and planes should be built to accommodate me! I am discriminated against! Woe is me! No wonder I am less happy! The idea that it is reasonable to compare yourself with others who are not like you to begin with makes no sense to me.

Of course that completely misses the fact that like tall people who don't have enough leg room in planes or restaurant booths and probably hit their heads on things far more often than I, just like men experience things differently than women. It seems to me that women would be happier if they stopped comparing themselves to men.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

An invitation to women

Over at Biblical Manhood, Anakin has a post about women finding his blog and or MGTOW/MRA misogynistic. Perhaps Suzanne and Janet would be willing to answer the following question here: What on Biblical Manhood did you find misogynistic?

Come ladies, let's reason together.

(Suzanne I am sorry for the recent loss of your father. Please feel free to ignore me at this time if this discussion may cause you further distress)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Insert snappy title here

Still struggling with brain freeze, though I was able to finish writing a proposal (whew!) that was hanging over my head. So, again, here are some random thoughts for your consideration.

Extremism: I while back I wrote a post where I talked about the benefits of considering opinions more extreme than my own. It takes a bit of mental work, but often there is some truth at the base of many extreme opinions. I just have to be careful that I don't get carried away with it. Yesterday in the comments to a post over at Novaseeker's I made the mistake of reading the comment of someone who I had previously decided to avoid reading the comments of. However, I saw that he referred to my friend Ame, so I read it. You know, this may be the first time ever that I saw some good from porn. Perhaps it is better for women if some men prefer porn to them. Of course the reason it would be better has to do with the effects of porn to begin with, so that is rather a circular argument (and yes, entirely facetious).

Purity: Via email, a friend recently commented on some of the discussion over virginity and particularly the, um, physical aspects of it. She shared this bit of wisdom, gleaned in part from The Facts of Life: Purity resides in the heart, not in the vagina. True that.

Along similar lines, but far funnier, was a conversation I recently had with a group of single christian women ranging in age from early 20s to early 50s. We were talking about singleness and sexual temptation when one of the women, a widow in her early 50s who I'll refer to as "J", began to relate a story about a date she was on several months ago. J said that she found the man very sweet and that she really liked him and was struggling with being sexually tempted when he had his arm around her waist. She then shared that she was simultaneously embarrassed that he may be able to feel her Spanx. This lead to her conclusion that Spanx = modern day chastity belt :) (I know the ladies will think that is funny...we laughed over that one for quite a while)

Being "Normal": Or normalcy or normality? I don't know if those are even words. Anyhoo, I am participating in a women's Bible study on the book of Esther and the teacher via video (Beth Moore) did a survey of women, both believers and unbelievers while preparing for the study. One woman, married for a few years but without children, who responded to the survey said that she feared losing her uniqueness. She does not want to be considered normal or ordinary. She does not want who she is to be defined by being some one's "wife" or some one's "mother", she just wants to be "happy". The teacher made a very interesting connection between this woman's thoughts about not wanting to be "ordinary" and the current obsession with the famous and with fame, especially among women. She talked about a term from social psychology, to BIRK, or "birking", which stands for "basking in reflected glory", and how it has become so common for people to idolize the rich and famous to feel worth rather than to ground our worth in God.

In closing: If you are so inclined, please pray for my sister who had a biopsy yesterday and will likely be having a laser surgery in the next month or so due to what they are currently calling "pre-cancerous/suspicious" cells in an area the size of a quarter in her cervix (and for those of you for whom the thought may enter your mind, no, she does not have HPV and was a virgin when she married at 40 years of age).


LET'S GO PENS!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sex, marriage, humanity and hat tricks

Since I appear to currently be unable to produce an entire post on one subject that makes sense, and in imitation of Elusive Wapiti and Terri at Breathing Grace, I present to you, a potpourri of topics.

Sex and Marriage

In the comments to my post Um....yeah (brilliant title, isn't it?) Elusive Wapiti and I had a brief exchange about the role of sex in the marrying of a man and a woman. Briefly, I said that in the old testament sex = marriage, so to God, sex = marriage, and EW said nuh uh (okay, there was more to it than that...go read the comments and the post EW linked to). I'm still not sure what I think about this because of questions that I have about some scriptures. In a comment I made that was buried in the other comments, I said the following:

"I remember reading that post about Bristol and Levi last year. To be honest I am not certain what I think about this issue and perhaps it is a matter of semantics. Does "marriage" occur during the sexual act? I'm not sure, but it kinda sounds like it if you read about Isaac and Rebekah. Even so, if it is not the joining of the two into one flesh that "marries" the man and woman, in both Deut 22 and Lev 22 God commands that if a man has sex with an un-betrothed virgin that he MUST marry her. If he does not marry her and goes on to have sex with another he is having sex with someone other than the woman God commanded that he must marry. It may not be adultery by strict definition but I don't understand how the functional impact is any different.So, I guess what I would say in response is to ask what you would say about the following:- What about Isaac and Rebekah? It appears that their marriage did occur when he "took" her. -What about Deut 22 and Lev 22 that says if a man sleeps with a virgin he must marry her?"

So, what do y'all think?


I get annoyed with many "politically correct" ideas. For example, what was the point of changing the tag line "To boldly go where no man has gone before" to "To boldly go where no one has gone before" in the new Star Trek movie (which was a great flick)? However I do insist that my students use what is called "person first language" when referring to our patients/clients. This means we do not call someone a "stroke" or a "nerve injury", we call them a person who has had a stroke, or a person who has had a nerve injury. I insist on this because it is important to see someone as a person, not a diagnosis, and because calling someone a "head injury" is dehumanizing. Other examples of dehumanization include when the Nazis transported the Jews in cattle cars and called them "dogs", and those who are pro-abortion insisting that a baby be called a "fetus" before birth. It's tough to kill people when you think of them as human beings.

Lesser ill will than murder is associated with dehumanization as well. Some feminists call men "animals" to make them easier to distrust and despise. Recently a commenter at MarkyMark's referred to women as "sweaty bags of cellulite". Well.... I'm not quite sure what to say about that other than ask the following. Do you really need to dehumanize women to make the decision for yourself that you don't want to marry or associate with women? If the answer to that question is no, why do it? If it is yes, maybe you should ask yourself why.

Hat tricks

Woo Hoo!!! Geno Malkin had a hat trick last night as the Penguins beat the Hurricanes 7-4 in game 2 of the NHL eastern conference finals. First playoff hat trick for the Pens since who knows when. Stanley Cup predictions anyone? I say it will be the Pens and Red Wings again, but this time my Pens will win (Why, yes, I was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. Yes, I am a homer. Whatever made you ask those questions? ;) ).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Writer's block...sigh.

Writer's block = bad thing, especially when it comes to a dissertation. It is getting so bad that I am having increasing difficulty expressing myself in other areas as well, including on this blog. I have started to write three different posts over the course of the past week or so, and....nothing. Maybe I need to do some quilting or something.

So, brace yourselves, and please be prepared for babbling, incoherency, and errors in spelling and grammar.

-This weekend, I think I sat through the absolute worst commencement address that I have ever had the misfortune of witnessing. It was so bad that it became funny. I was very thankful I was in the back row of faculty on the platform because I had to cover my face several times to muffle laughter. The progression from polite attention to boredom to incredulity to suppressed laughter on the faces of the audience was, however, quite entertaining.

-Carolyn McCully put into words part of what I have been thinking on for a while, with regard to physical beauty, but have been unable to coherently address, in a post last week. (yes, I think I do have too many commas in that sentence)

"What about complimenting her when she is doing beautiful things? We always hear that inner beauty is supposed to be more important than outer beauty, but it doesn't seem to get praised as often--which tempts women to doubt the veracity of that statement."Why do we women doubt the appeal of inner beauty? Well, to be candid, it's because we forget that our Creator is the ultimate arbiter of beauty. We are awash in makeover messages and as such His perspective is often silenced. From TV shows to magazines, we are drowning in Before and After images. At any given time during a day, there's a roomful of people on TV gushing and crying over the physical transformation of some reality show participant. Everybody and his neighbor shows up to applaud weight loss, a new hairstyle, or a wardrobe overhaul. But where is the applause for inner beauty? Where are the TV cameras for the Big Reveal of a renovated character"

In a culture where women are judged and valued on the basis of their attractiveness is it any wonder that inner beauty has taken a back seat? Has our culture simply received what we have asked for? Is there any cultural reinforcement of "inner beauty"?

-In a related line of thinking, lets talk about virginity.

Valued by some, but not by others? While God's call for sexual abstinence outside of marriage has not changed, the secular culture appears to have lost all regard for virginity outside of the young. Otherwise it is regarded as a quaint conviction or possibly born of immaturity or some sort of pathology. Even within the church, sexual abstinence is regarded by some as culturally irrelevant or improbable.

Valued in some, but not in others? While some young women have taken to auctioning their virginity to the highest bidder, I doubt that a 30+ year old virginal woman or a man of any age would get many bids. Clearly the value placed in "virginity" for auction is not about virginity per se. Even in less crass circumstances, I wonder how much of the value of virginity that does exist is about the value of obedience to God?

Over-valued by some? How many sins are there that change how you are defined as a person after one incidence? We are all sinners, are we not? We've all joined Jimmy Carter in lusting in our hearts, have we not? Do we rule out others as mates who have lied once in their life? When it is said that you should only marry a virgin, is that because they have been obedient to God, or for some other reason?

Okay, that is enough rambling for now. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Blogging friends

One of the things that this blog has brought to me, that I did not expect, is new friends. I have found myself rejoicing with others in good things and grieving with them in the bad. In small ways I feel like I know you when I visit your blogs and when you come here and comment too.

I have been blessed to get to know some of you better than that as well through email as well as through telephone calls. Today, I was especially excited to meet one of my readers in person :) She is the reserved sort, so she doesn't comment much. I shall refer to her as The Librarian (Hi!) We met halfway between her home and mine for lunch and a visit.

We spent around three and a half hours visiting and talking about her upcoming move and marriage (first marriage at age 47...there's hope yet!), agreeing that it is a fact that bald men are hot, discovering a mutual interest in science fiction, and puzzling at the "definitions" of the alpha, beta, and gamma "types" (The Librarian hypothesized that perhaps Bill Clinton is an Alpha, Rahm Emanuel a Beta, and Timothy Geithner a Gamma....I was lost.) She is sweet and lovely and funny as heck!

I also discovered another reason to not make the title of my posts "Boobs". This morning, The Librarian attempted to access the email I sent her that contained my cell phone number. But, she was restricted from doing so because the library had a filter that would not allow her to view the email because the subject line was "Boobs" because it was a long string of emails that started with The Librarian's thoughts on my "Boobs" post. Heh

Because I am a much better verbal than written communicator (or I should say normally...The Librarian witnessed the PhD dementia in person) I sometimes wish that we all could have a conversation with each other instead of communicating through written comments. So this was a really great experience for me, and I hope for my new friend The Librarian, too :) Now, if I can only get to Dallas! ;)

Have you ever met a blogging friend in person? How was it?

(Okay, I have had to edit this post at least 5 times already because Blogger is making me nuts! And because I keep remembering other things I want to say)

Sideling Hill

I went to meet with a friend today, and on the way I passed Sideling Hill in Maryland. You can see some pretty cool strata in the rock where they cut through Sidling Hill for the highway. There is a pedestrian bridge over the highway that I wanted to go across to get some better pictures. But, the wind was blowing so hard it felt like the loose fitting top I was wearing would get blown away if I even raised my arms over my head. So.....these pictures will have to do.

The view the other way was pretty nice too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Considering a Ph.D.?

Are you considering working toward a Ph.D.?


Okay, maybe that is over stating it a bit.... But not by much. If you are thinking about it, I suggest you consider the following.

I started my Ph.D. studies a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed student, eager to learn and be challenged intellectually. I was a combination of ignorance of the true workings of the Ph.D. machine and overly optimistic naivete about what I did know of the horror...
"I can do it!" "I can do anything for a few years!" "It can't be that bad! Right?"


It can be that bad and worse. It's going to suck, it's going to suck bad, and it's going to suck bad for a really, really long time.
-Your family and friends may forget what you look like and vice versa.
-You will gradually loose the ability to form coherent sentences both in writing and in spoken word (exhibit 1, this blog).
-Ah, um, yeah....what was I saying? (exhibit 2)
-You will also loose the ability to understand normal people when they speak. Instead, you will ask innocent and unsuspecting people what evidence do they have to back up their opinion that China Garden has the best Chinese food in town.
-Over time you will feel stupider and dumber, not smarter. Ever meet a Ph.D. who made you think, "Dang, they are dumb, how did the get a doctorate?" They were probably smart when they started and the process sucked brain cells and IQ points out of their head through either their nose or ears.
-You will note an increase in emotional lability to the point that you may think strange things are funny and you may cry in inappropriate places and at inopportune times.
-You may harbor strange fantasies about printing the picture of one or more of your comprehensive examiners or dissertation committee members from the university web site, and attaching it to a pinata (perhaps shaped like a chicken with yellow and red feathers...with the picture of their face right on the face of the chicken) and then going to town with a baseball bat. (Yes, that is a rather well developed plan. To answer your next question, no, not yet. But, I have a feeling it will be soon.)
Why? Why is it so bad you ask?
-Being intelligent will only get you so far. You have to know how to play the game. Deference, paying of respect, and yes, good old fashioned butt kissing. But, really, to a certain degree you have to have pity on the objects of your kissing up. Obviously they have been permanently damaged by their Ph.D. experience. This damage leads them to say things like, "Well, when I was doing my doctorate..." until you want to launch yourself over their desk and firmly grasp their throat between your hands. (At this point family and close friends will become concerned that you seem to be having a lot of rather violent thoughts.)
-Hard work will only get you so far. You can work as hard and as fast as you can and you will still be at the whim of others. I have waited as long as 13 weeks to get feedback from a committee member. I have been told to change "this" to "that" only to be later asked by the same person, 'Why are you using "that"? You should be using "this"!'
-The higher the degree level, the less organized and sensible the whole process is. Nobody knows what is going on, even the chair of the program. The "rules" can be changed on a whim. The format of my comprehensive qualifying exams (taken after all courses are finished but before dissertation) completely and significantly changed 6 weeks before the exams were to begin...I still get a tight feeling in my chest when I think about it.
-In short you must possess a very high degree of ability to put up with bulls**t.
-You will have almost no balance in your life. Most programs require a residency which consists of taking a full time graduate load (9 credits, usually 3 courses) for two semesters in a row. This is to demonstrate your "commitment to the program" (oh, it will make you feel like you need "committed" all right.)
I still haven't changed your mind?
That probably means that you are invested enough in the doctorate that when someone asks you why you want to pursue one that you can come up with an answer better than "It would be cool to be called doctor". If that is all you want I'd be happy to call you doctor for only, say 10% of the cost of tuition, and none of the mental anguish.
Some other, perhaps more serious, things to think about (though I do really kinda mean everything I have said so far):
-If you can be a full time student, with either a very low stress part-time job, or a graduate assistantship it seems to be a bit less stressful than working full time while pursuing the doctorate (though there is additional financial stress).
-If you are married I would think about it carefully. The divorce rate when one partner is in a Ph.D. program is around 80%. It seems the couples who I know who navigated the Ph.D. waters most successfully were both committed to the idea.
-If you have children I would think about it very hard. It is a major time, financial, and personal energy commitment.
-If you are a woman and have/want to have children I would suggest not doing it until your kids are older (older teens) or until after it becomes unlikely you will have a baby.
-In my observation it seems to work better when both mom and dad are not working full time while one of them is in school. I have seen that work in various configurations (dad works and goes to school, mom is a SAHM, or dad goes to school and works part-time and mom works part-time and they juggle the schedule, or mom goes to school and works full time, dad works part time and is available for the kids. etc).
-Before you start, think seriously about if you are willing to commit to finishing. Most people who start a Ph.D. never earn their degree. Most quit (I have fantasized about that too). It is an awful lot of work and time and money to waste to not finish. Count the cost before you start and save yourself a whole lot of anguish.
I think once someone finishes a Ph.D. they seem to forget about how awful it was in the process.
Either that or they lie about it in order to suck other unsuspecting victims into the machine. I guess I'll see when I am finished if I would say that it was worth it or not.
And, yes, I know this was pretty rant-ish. I do feel better now.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder what Jesus thinks of His church here in the US? Todd Agnew's song, My Jesus, offers some food for thought.

Which Jesus do you follow?
Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Then why do you look so much like the world?

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?

Who is this that you follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side or fall down and worship at His holy feet

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part
Sometimes I doubt we'd recognize Him

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
So which one do you want to be?

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
I think He'd prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!

Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus
You see I'm tired of living for success and popularity
I want to be like my Jesus but I'm not sure what that means to be like You Jesus
Cause You said to live like You, love like You but then You died for me
Can I be like You Jesus?
I want to be like you Jesus!
I want to be like my Jesus!

By request

It was recently suggested to me that I post more pictures of flowers. That has been difficult due to the buckets full of rain falling.

But here are a few, including of my favorite scents. These grow all along the roads here so that you can smell them as you are driving.




Lilly of the Valley

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Man! I feel Like a Woman! Or not.....

The conference I attended last week was for work. My profession is historically and currently predominantly (~90%) female. Usually the conference attendees are more than 10% male because academics tend to be drawn to these sorts of events and the percentage of men is higher (~20%) in academia than in the profession as a whole.

Today at our faculty meeting when we were discussing the conference, a male professor commented on the selection of music played by the band at the opening festivities. One of the three songs the band played was Shania Twain's "Man!I Feel Like a Woman".

The male professor said that he thought it was a poor choice of songs given that we were not all women. He commented "You can bet the reaction would have been different if it was a song about being a man."

I commented that I noticed that and looked around to see how the guys in the audience reacted. Many appeared uncomfortable. I commented to my female co-workers at the time that coupled with the choice of the butterfly festooned lanyard upon which our event tickets hung, that the choice of music was not very man-friendly.

One of my female colleagues (she self-identifies as a feminist) said "I just thought of it as a popular song".

One of my other male colleagues replied "You're not thinking of it from a man's point of view".

The female colleague then rolled her eyes.

I said, "There's a shocker, (our professional organization) didn't consider the perspective of men."

My female colleague then said to the two male faculty who commented "If you don't like it, get involved in leadership. Oh, that's can't manage to get elected."

I said, "You don't have to be a man to consider a man's perspective. Somebody just didn't even consider it."

Since my clinical profession is largely female there is always some sort of feminist ideology to wade through, particularly in some more active elements of leadership. Two years ago I attended a session where we were reviewing the proposed changes to official documents of the profession which outline the terminology we use to describe what we do. One of the proposed changes was to remove the word "roles" from our terminology. This stirred much discussion and confusion in the session because those of us in attendance could not understand why the word "roles" was problematic. The session moderator explained that "If we would examine the feminist literature we would see ther the word "roles" is opressive to women". Lest you think the entire profession is so silly, there was a great deal of eye-rolling and "you have got to be kidding me" from the attendees of the session, both male and female. There was also much debate with the majority of those in attendance finding the idea that the word "roles" was opressive to women to be ridiculous. Thankfully when the final version of the document came out the word "roles" remained.

Monday, April 27, 2009

On the road

(Now with pictures!)

I have been away for the past week to attend a work related conference. Here are my impressions:

1. I live in a beautiful state.

2. I drove through/visited five states that I have never been to before.

3. Chatanooga Tennesee looks like nice place.

4. Alabama looked pretty nice too.

5. Mississippi? Hmm...flat and kinda boring. (sorry any Mississippi visitors)

6. Louisiana? Um...flat, swampy, and huge juicy bugs plastered on the front of the vehicle. Saw a snake. Looked for an alligator but didn't see one :(

7. New Orleans? Yikes, the damage. The humidity. The above ground graveyards (what would you call that? Crypts?) were pretty freaky too.

8. Texas. Good food (but eastern NC barbeque is better than Texas barbeque). Saw an armadillo. I didn't realize there would be palm trees in Texas. Flat. Boring terrain. Hot. Humid.(sorry Texans....especially Ame!)

9. I was very happy to get home to my mountains.

Oh, and the conference was great too :)

Monday, April 20, 2009


Sometimes Blogger drives me crazy. Can someone tell me why the post I published yesterday had a date four days ago on it until I went in and edited it?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How many women are feminists?

Last week over at Recon's Black Ops on a post about divorce in the comments Catwoman said:

"Of all the feminists I know (not many — there aren’t many left!), none would think that Paul was harder on the women."

Yet, others have said that feminists are ubiquitous. So, which is it?

Perhaps the difference in beliefs has to do with how one defines feminism.

It seems that many feminists look to create a sort of "big tent" of feminism by telling both men and women that they are feminists if they believe in the equality of women.

The number of women (and men for that matter) who identify themselves as feminists goes from 24% to 65% (and from 24% to 58% for men) when the definition "A FEMINIST IS SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES IN SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY OF THE SEXES" is given.

That sounds reasonable, doesn't it? After all, in Galatians 3:28, Paul said that men and women both have equal standing before God as His children. So, why don't all Christians identify as feminists? Why don't all reasonable people identify as feminists? Why don't more people identify as a feminist when a definition is not given?

I suppose the reason why most people do not identify as feminist (only 14% of men and 24% of women) is because the term "feminist" means more than the dictionary definition of "equality of the sexes" to most people.

So, is Catwoman right? Are there not many feminists around anymore?

Perhaps it is that even though many women today do not consider themselves feminists, they still are influenced by feminist ideology.

The same survey gives some insight into how many women hold feminist ideology to be true.

-69% of women believe the women's movement has made their life better, including 75% of women 18-35, 80% of women 36-44, 70% of women 45-64, and 47% of women 65 and older.

-48% of women think there is still a need for a strong woman's movement.

-According to to an online poll done by Working Woman magazine and the National Committee on Pay Equity, 83% of the respondents believe that the so called "wage gap" is a big problem in the work place.

According to another survey:

63% of those surveyed (Males [N=461], Females [N=542], Democrats [N=361], Republicans [N=301], Independents [N=341]) think women are treated unfairly in the workplace and in politics. 34% think women are treated unfairly in the home.

So, it would appear that even though most women would not automatically call themselves a feminist, that many women still hold feminist ideology.