Four things I learned about gender this week.

warning: this in one way is a stream of conscious blog. (some people will be frustrated by the rhythm of these sentences)

Ok, so for whatever reason, I spoke about gender, cultural norms, sexuality and dictionary definitions a lot this week. I read a book, I spoke to my mum, some anonymous Dads, a stranger who is gender fluid, a pastor, some friends and a girl who can’t figure out if she is gay or not.

These dialogues have had moments of “thats so stupid… can’t they see the holes in that argument” and “woah… thats what you mean when you say that?” and “yup… heard this one before” in amongst sharing stories I’d never heard or told, and seeing the fruit of certain peoples conclusions being beautiful even if I strongly disagree with how they got to the fruit.

So lets boil all these musings down to some interesting dot points yeh?

  1. Fear and ignorance is never a good reason for making a conclusion about people.
  • If I have never met a gay person, and therefore have never been wronged by a gay person, maybe the first words out of my mouth when I meet a gay person should be “whats your favourite…. etc” instead of telling them about my opinion of them.
  • Fear is amplified by chosen ignorance. If I assume that all Lithuanians are thieves. But I never ask, or I never make efforts to meet a Lithuanian (and therefore disprove my assumption) then I choose ignorance, and therefore choose to believe a lie and this belief gets stronger and stronger, and is then echoed into my childrens lives, and then I get to choose their ignorance as well. Love, and healthy dialogue  shows that all Lithuanians are not thieves, even if at one stage in their history, a large portion of them might have been.
  • If one out of every million Buddhist is a raving lunatic who likes stabbing people, it means that there are 999k Buddhist who could be your best friend without stabbing you to death. It does not mean that it is likely that every Buddhist will stab you. It also doesn’t mean that Buddhism as a communal ideology promotes the stabbing of everyone. If it was… there would be a lot more stabbings.
  • If a person wears, acts or labels themselves something that is counter cultural, they are not doing it for kicks, because swimming against the stream of cultural norms is an exhausting struggle. Their conclusions and reasons are usually larger than simple “insanity” and have had quite a back story that may interest you to know and understand more about them and how they became who they are.

2. If a hammer is an appropriate tool for the job, that doesn’t mean that a spanner doesn’t do the job just as well if not better.

  • If it is proven that more positive time spent with your children is good for their development, then the argument that women should stay at home is a moot point. Because both parents “should” stay at home if that is the best for the childs development. But, as children “need food”, there needs to be some kind of money brought in to the household. Now, in some version of work force, men, having more physical drive, could bring in more money to the household. Back when farming was the main source of income, or in a mining town. Then one could argue that the man would be more effective at bringing in the money. But that doesn’t automatically mean that having the mother stay home with the baby equal better development of the child. AND in a cultural context and a technological context that enables effective parenting to look different with either parent in the work force or seasonal working having both parents at home for times, the paradigm shifts.
  • Also, having a man trained in leadership because for generations only men were allowed to be leaders because the men were the main source of income for families and therefore the holders of more influence in the families ability to eat or not… means that any women that show leadership potential have to fight bias and opposition. So yes, men are great leaders, but that doesn’t mean that women are not also great leaders. Especially if women were given the same framework of leadership opportunity and training that men are given.

3. Words need to mean the same thing in communication otherwise you are talking about different things.

  • If I say pants, when I really mean shirts, conversation can get a little confusing. For my entire life, the word “gender” meant the labelling one gets from having a penis or a vagina. Penis meant your gender was male. vagina meant your gender was female, and there was a tiny fraction of humanity who had both or the possibility of both and they had a different gender, but more often than not swung towards one of the two formerly mentioned options. This week I spoke to someone who used the word gender to mean “how I feel concerning my cultural gender roles in the moment”. So not, how do I feel which genitals I will have in this moment. But which of my cultural gender norms (that which the culture I reside in has decided to label norms.) do I resonate with, with my feelings right now. So the sentiment of this person, I began to understand a little. But what was so confusing was, the use of the words. Which after researching a little, the definition seems to refer more to cultural gender norms, than biology. But as culture had a very black and white stance on what men and women were expected to do, we never really needed to reflect on feeling a little feminine in a moment of our day.
  • A mirror is not inspired by my image. It is a reflection. Almost the same thing, but 2d. If I am inspired by a tree to draw it, that drawing, even if very good, is still my interpretation of that tree, through my skill sets and tools, to recreate it. If my recreation with “without error” it is still not the tree. It is still not the same. It is different. And if i then keep that tree for 2000 years, art will change, the context of creating art will also change, and one will need to understand more than just the tree to understand the tree.
  • If I say “best” but I really mean “the best I could find without really looking for better” it is not really the best. Because, I have not the collective knowledge of all. I have a very limited knowledge, especially if that limited knowledge wasn’t stretched to find the “better”.  And if we influence our communities to also not stretch their limited knowledge but to stay in our small echo chambers that quickly agree that “yes… we have collectively found the best”, then we increase the amount of confusion we will have, when or if we communicate with any out side of that echo chamber.

4. If you have 2000 years of authority on agreeing whats good and bad, it makes more sense that you would stick to party lines. But if you keep changing and progressing, whenever you dig your heels in… it can make you look petulant.

  • If we choose holiness only in certain areas, it kind of weakens the whole idea of holiness. As if we are trying to say “if we are holy in this one area… we will become holy in all right?” no… Holiness is bigger than that, and holiness is perfection in LOVE not in judgement. If WE are holy, and if WE have God living inside of us, wouldn’t love just spew out of us and give people a natural place to belong with almost no effort? But, if we monopolise holiness to a specific time and place, wouldn’t if make sense to make that time and place available to all those that crave holiness, irrelevant of how unholy they may or may not be. (depending on which set of rules we are holding)
  • When our highest value is life. And life to the full, then even small “death” to be meted out so that we can see more life, begins to make less sense. The little and big “deaths” should only be meted out by the author of life, as he has experienced both life and death and has been victorious over both.
  • When you change a whole school of theology just so you can get your own way. Or when you ignore something large so that more people come to your gatherings… or when the poster boy for your whole “club” points at the AD30 versions of you and says “nope… you don’t get to throw any stones” it cuts your gravitas a little when you throw lots of stones.

maybe to be continued. i should conclude something i suppose. its 12:45am thp

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