Camouflaged Society

A couple weekends ago at my church, our pastor of 32 years preached a sermon about gender roles in the church and how he believes that women should be allowed to be pastors, elders, and deacons.  He based this off of plenty of scripture and it was so fascinating to listen to because everything he was saying, I have thought about at one point or another in the past year; not knowing that the elders of our church along with the staff members were studying this very topic.

Now, I’m coming from a more secular perspective in the fact that I want to talk about all of society and not just gender roles within the church.  I have strong opinions about that too, but I am taking a bit more time to organize my thoughts on that before I go spit firing all around with nothing prepared for when someone retaliates and wants to know more.  Granted, I don’t have much to back up my opinions on society either. I am fed up with acting how we are told to act because someone in the public eye decided it should be that way.   In any case, I wanted to voice my opinion on some things that have been burning in the back of my head for a while now.


The past few years I have been involved in planning girls retreats for my church in which we take lessons from the Bible and encourage girls to be confident in themselves and who they are in Christ.  We have specific topics each year that we discuss.  For example, the first year our theme was beauty, the second year was chasing God, and this past year was realizing your worth.  When studying for all of these retreats and compiling content to teach the girls and then to try and further empower them to become their more true selves, I have realized how brainwashed we are by society.

It started off by seeing the impossible standards Hollywood has set for us.  We come back to this time and time again, but no one is meant to be a size 0 and be 6 foot tall.  Did you know the average plus size model is a size 8?  How absurd is that!  And that’s only for the women.  Hollywood sets impossibly high standards for men as well.  Have you ever considered what makes a man hot?  You know, the six pack, the super muscular arms, and so on.  It is good to be healthy and work out, but to be ripped like those celebrities you see?  That isn’t practical.

And while we are talking about looks and beauty, the double standards we can have is absolutely shameful.  Now, in church, girls are always taught that we should dress modestly so that we don’t lead men into thinking sinful thoughts.  And that leads girls into the discussion of, “well boys shouldn’t be looking at me that way anyway. Let me wear whatever I want.” and then someone will come back with, “You should help the boys help themselves.”  And if girls show a little too much skin they are all of a sudden a slut.

But what about coming from the other side?  Because in this case we are assuming only guys have dirty thoughts?  What about girls looking at guys?  What if some guy having his shirt off makes a girls brain go bad places?  Are you going to talk to the guy and tell him he has to always wear a shirt so that girls don’t think dirty thoughts like that?  No.  Because in society guys are allowed to be half naked but girls must cover everything (including their shoulders) to be considered modest.

Let me just tell you, it doesn’t matter what either gender wears.  Those thoughts still go through everybody’s head.  And I know we all know that.  Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t matter what you wear.  I think that you should still dress modestly but more to respect yourself than anything.  I like dressing nice because I feel more confident dressed up.  Not because I’m looking to get a guy’s attention.

The next thing that really bothers me is gender barriers.  Now, this has been pointed out to me more by males than females, but it goes both ways.  Typically, in society, girls are allowed to like more things that are considered “boy” things and they won’t be judged too harshly for it.  But, if a guy all of a sudden likes girl things?  Oh you better watch out because they will not stop getting teased and bullied for a long time.

For example, a girl wants to play soccer.  No problem, go ahead and play.  Granted, there are the exceptions to this when parents would rather their daughter be into dance and playing with dolls, but typically the vast majority of parents will let their daughters play sports.  However, if a boy wants to go to dance class or play with dolls they are gay somehow?  Two things.  1. Since when is dance not a sport?  2. Why is being gay a bad thing?  Now, I’ll get back to my view on gay (LGBTQ+) people but for now, the gender barriers.

In a little more of an adult setting, a woman wants to become a pastor, or maybe she wants to run for president, or maybe she wants to work in construction.  Why can’t a woman be whoever she wants to be?  If she has a passion for politics and wants to run the country, good for her.  If a woman wants to wear a suit instead of a dress, we wouldn’t blink an eye.  But now if you flip the tables, things could get crazy.  For males, I don’t think the career is as much of a problem as it is for women.  Granted, there are some professions where males are looked down upon for taking that type of career.  E.g. Nurse, Broadway star, librarian, etc.

More specifically though, males have more of a problem with clothing and emotions.  Emotions, it is easier to understand.  To be a “strong” man you shouldn’t show your emotions.  Do not wear your heart on your sleeve because you will be made fun of for it. But I think that that is growing to be too much of a problem.  For example, I currently know more males that are depressed than females. Now, the statistics say that females are more likely to have depression than males, but sometimes I wonder if it is just diagnosed in females more than males because females aren’t as afraid to open up about their emotions.

Now, I can understand where men come from in feeling weak in admitting they have depression or have had it at some point in the past.  I have had depression for the past year and now finally admitting it to myself and my family and friends, makes me feel weak.  I thought I was a happy person, which looking back on things I wrote during that time, I most definitely was (and still am) not.  But admitting that you cannot handle all life has to throw at you and because of that you are extremely sad?  That does not make you weak.  And you are not any less of a person in God’s eyes because of it.  Even in the midst of one of the happiest years of my life, I have dealt with being sad like this and I hate saying that.  Because this truly has been one of the best years I’ve ever experienced.

Anyways, enough about me.  Back to the topic.  I mentioned that there are gender barriers in which the men dress.  You see, men are allowed to wear suits, and jeans, but they aren’t allowed to wear dresses or skirts.  But, why?  Girls are allowed to wear what guys wear, so why can’t boys wear what girls wear?  I guess since I’ve seen more male celebrities start testing the borders with that, it makes me realize how unfair we are to the men too.  Once again, this isn’t negating everything that has ever been wrong with the woman like unequal pay, unequal rights, and unequal job opportunities and such, but I think that we are putting a little too much emphasis on women’s rights and not enough on human rights.

I know that some of these concepts can be hard to swallow, especially because we have all grown up in societies that have made us comfortable in our little spot, but maybe we need to push back those borders a little.  And maybe, if someone does try to be a unique individual amongst a sea of camouflage, we can embrace them for stepping out of their comfort zone instead of judging them for not being like us.  Just because someone doesn’t dress the same way you do, or talk the same way you do, or eat the same way you do does not make them bad.  That just makes them different.  And different is one of the best things we could ask for.

This is in no way saying you have to like everything someone does.  But judging a guy because he decided that he wanted to wear a dress instead of pants?  Yes, I’ll admit that I think that is quite strange, but it isn’t your body.  And is it really effecting you directly?  In most cases, I would assume it is not, so why not just let them live their lives and let them do what makes them happy?

Wow.  Ok.  That was a long portion of the rant.  However, I did say that I would get back to my view on LGBTQ+ people in general.  Let me start off by saying I am a straight Christian, and I support gay rights.  One of the most ridiculous things I think I have ever heard happened right after the shooting in Orlando.  Gay people were turned away from donating blood for the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse because of their sexual orientation.  According to CNN, the official law was that any gay or bisexual man that had had sex with another man in the past 12 months was not allowed to donate blood. (link to where I saw this : http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/health/orlando-shooting-gay-men-donate-blood/ )  Now, I know I don’t know everything that was going on surrounding this law, but to me, that seems ridiculous.  It’s like women not being able to vote.  Why couldn’t we?  Because we were born female?  I’m sorry, did I choose that?  Absolutely not.  So, you’re saying because of who these men are by nature, that you won’t let them help out fellow humans who could be needing that blood?  That is messed up.

This next part doesn’t necessarily have to do with gay rights, but more just a pet peeve of mine.  To intro this, my favorite band is Pentatonix.  They are an amazing acapella group and 2 of the members are gay.  Now, there have been people that have listened to their music with me before and they love it.  We will watch videos of them together, and then all of a sudden I will let it slip that 2 of them are gay and it’s like these people think that the band members have changed all of a sudden.  That makes me so upset, every time someone does that to them.  Just because I have told you a fact about them, does not change who they are.

What if your best friend, or child, or grandchild came up to you and said, “So-and-so, I’m gay.”  Does that change who your best friend, or child, or grandchild is?  Or would you still love them because of who they are on the inside?  Have they changed all of a sudden?  Did you watch them poof into an unrecognizable human being who you can’t stand to be around?  I don’t think so.  And I think we need to realize that being gay, doesn’t make you a bad person.  It’s just a part of who you are.  But these people aren’t all that different from you and me.  In fact, they may even have an advantage compared to you and me.  Because of their sexuality, they have had to become a more courageous person to let people into their lives and really get to know them.  So many gay people tend to be happier and more confident in themselves because of this.

Once again, someone not being exactly like you isn’t bad.  It’s just different.  And different is good!

Anyways, I want to know your guys’s opinions on these topics.  Comment below if you have any thoughts.  I just want to know if I stand alone, or if other people have noticed these things too?

Until next time my friends,
Aly

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