Saturday, May 5, 2007

Do you know what bothers me?

People who say that feminists bother them and that they should just "get over it already." Get over what already? Equality? Working against systemic oppression and the objectification of ourselves and bodies? God, equality is so overrated.

Super hardcore Christians bother me as well. I'm all about the tolerance, but what really overrated is this whole notion of being super tolerant of those who are intolerant and ignorant. Really, why should this continue to be acceptable? My friends Mira and Maria and I went to go see a lecture by the Dalai Lama this past Friday here in Madison. As we were walking up to the Kohl Center, there was this woman holding a sign that said JESUS SAVES. Then there was a guy literally standing on a soapbox (okay, some kind of box) and preaching about Jesus, etc. Okay, really? Who in their right mind would be protesting the Dalai Lama? He's one of the most peaceful, spiritual people in the world! His lecture was called "Compassion: The Source of Happiness." Boy, that sure sounds heathenistic to me. Actually, ironically he spoke a lot about the basic human values of kindness, compassion and love that he believes transcend any type of formal religion, so that non-secularism and "good values" do not necessarily go hand in hand. One can be purportedly religious and not practice these values (which, by the way, I think can definitely be classified as "Christian values") and one can be secular and be an extremely good person. It's all about how you live your life. Those extreme Christians treat other people badly. They "protest" whatever is different, without even understanding. I bet they don't even know anything about the Dalai Lama or Buddhism besides that it isn't Christianity and doesn't have to do with Jesus. Except that in a way it does, because the way that the Dalai Lama lives his life is so similar to the way that Jesus lived. The values that he promotes are very much in line with those of the New Testament. It just frustrates me to see people so ignorant. In his lecture, he spoke about how he is optimistic that through the human values of kindness, compassion and forgiveness we can have a better and less violent future. But without those values we will continue to be divided, and that division and lack of understanding leads to violence. It's so nice to see Christians standing in the way of coexistence and peace. (That was sarcasm, by the way). Here is an article about a Christian response to a visit by the Dalai Lama to Minnesota last year. It's interesting how Buddhism has been around since about the 5th century BCE, yet Christians seem to equate it with New Ageism. Oh brother.

Finally, the way in which our society deals with gender drives me crazy. I was at Target today buying birthday gifts for my little sister, who turns six later this month. I bought her some classic games, such as Connect Four, Checkers and Jenga because she already has enough My Little Ponies, Barbies and other useless toys that she plays with only once or twice a year. Anyway, I was over by the card aisle picking out a birthday card for her. I went to the "Kid's Birthday" section and it is so annoying how there is the "Girl" section and the "Boy" section and one section is seriously completely pink and purple and the other is blue and green. The cards are so gendered, it is unbelievable. Well, I got fed up and decided that I didn't want to get her a card with a little cat wearing a frilly dress or a princess or a My Little Pony. So I went to the "Boy" section where there were some much more amusing cards. There was one with an adorable little alien on it, underneath was written some goofy "alien" sounds. But then inside it was like "For an out of this world boy" or something like that. Then I saw a dinosaur card. Emily loves dinosaurs, so I thought "Awesome!" But no, it said "For a dinorific birthday boy." Why can't a little girl get a card with a dinosaur or an alien on it? And on the flip side, why couldn't a little boy get a card with a cat or a pony on it? Why couldn't they just have them all in one section and leave off the gender specific pronouns? So many people talk about how there are all these really innate differences between boys and girls, but if they are being indoctrinated into one gender from literally the time they are born, how can you really separate what is innate and what is taught? There has been plenty of research that shows that from birth, baby boys and baby girls are treated differently. The way they are described, the amount of affection they are given, the way they are held ... it is consistently different. And as I have learned, challenging gender norms is hard to do. You can't even get a gender neutral birthday card for crying out loud!