Friday, October 30, 2015
You can't beat hard-wiring (genes)
As the feminist below found out. I know another mother who was herself a Tomboy (but never a feminist) and who still rarely primps, who has been puzzled to find that she has a very girly little girl. At her 4th birthday party, the little girl was wearing a plastic tiara and someone said to her, "You're a princess today". The little girl replied "I am always a princess". But that mother is amused rather than bothered as she has a sister who is very feminine. It was there in the genes all along, as it obviously was in the case below
Why do I care that my daughter's a girly girl?
My three-year-old daughter Alice is obsessed with pink and princesses. She spends most of the day pretending to be a princess (I'm the prince and I get to rescue her on my horse), or a bride (I have to propose, give her flowers and then we get married) or a mummy (there's nothing quite as humiliating as a three-year-old pretending to change your nappy [diaper] and calling you stinky).
She almost always wears pink and has as much interest in stereotypically 'boy' toys as she does in my imaginary smelly nappy.
A few days ago, she told me that boys can't wear dresses. Surprised, I told her that anyone can wear whatever they want. It made no difference: she was convinced that this was the rule and I was wrong.
Last week, when she asked me to be the prince and rescue her from the monster, I suggested she rescue me instead.
She looked at me like I had lost my mind. At this point I was rolling around on the floor crying 'Help! I've fallen off my horse!' Unmoved, she asked when we were getting married.
I'm a feminist, and I hate it when people decide a car is a toy for a boy, or a fairy outfit is for a girl. People should be able to like whatever they want and dress however they want.
Yet I'm also a huge hypocrite - Alice has girly girl tastes, and I'm embarrassed by it.
I find myself making excuses for her love of pink dresses and frilly aprons. Every time she asks me to buy her a doll, I secretly cringe.
I've tried to push the princesses I think are better role models – 'Oh Belle, she's so clever and she likes reading books!' 'Isn't Elsa a strong, independent female!' I can hear myself but I can't stop.
In stories that only praise girls for being pretty and nice, I add in a bit about them being clever or interesting too.
When I decorated Alice's bedroom, she was still young enough not to care about how it looked. I bought a jungle themed duvet and covered the walls with stickers of animals and trees. This was for selfish reasons. I didn't want to spend every evening reading her bedtime stories staring into the glassy eyes of Disney princesses.
Last night came the moment I was dreading: Alice asked me to take down the animal stickers and put up pictures of princesses.
I said yes, hoping she'd forget. She hasn't forgotten. I'll put up the princess stickers and tell her it looks lovely, but really I won't like it at all.
It's not for me to tell her what she can and can't like, and it would be weird to push her to play with cars and train sets when she doesn't want to, but still. I still feel it.
Why do I feel this way? Why do I feel I have to justify her traditionally feminine tastes? Why do I think other people are judging me for having a girly girl?
I think it's because I worry people will assume I've encouraged Alice's interest in stereotypically 'female' things, as though I've told her pink is for girls and blue is for boys.
Partly it's because I don't like the message many of the older Disney stories convey – that girls are damsels in distress, waiting to be rescued by a man.
I want my daughter to be strong and to save herself. I also know this is ridiculous. She is a strong-willed, confident child. She isn't remotely submissive to anyone.
Alice's fascination with girly things looks like she is just doing what society is telling her to do, rather than making an independent decision. Yet it is her decision. So maybe as a feminist I should embrace it. She is being who she wants to be, after all.
It's no indication of what she'll be like as an adult, or even as a teenager. If she likes pink, so what?
I doubt she ever looks at one of her Barbies and feels upset that her own body doesn't match the dolls'.
I don't think she sees the doll as a mini person. It's just a thing to wear dresses and get married.
I do wonder where her interest in pink has come from, and why she is convinced that boys can't wear dresses.
At her nursery, I've seen boys in princess dresses, complete with tiaras and sparkly kitten heels. Why has she decided it's wrong?
As a feminist, I believe people shouldn't be forced to act in a certain way based on what gender they are.
It's an effort, but I'm going to embrace the pink. Maybe my younger daughter will be into monster trucks and burping contests.
New Petition Wants Victoria's Secret to Feature Transgender Person on Runway
A new petition at the website Change.org is asking women’s clothing store Victoria’s Secret to hire Carmen Carrera, a transgender person, to model as one of their "angels."
Carrera, 30, was born Christopher Roman. He was a reality TV star on the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and also appeared in the Meryl Streep film “Ricky and the Flash.”
The petition has nearly 50,000 signatures. It was launched by Carrera fan Marco Regalado, who writes on the page:
"By asking Carmen to be a model, Victoria's Secret would show the entire community that they embrace trans patrons. There are so many prejudices toward the trans community, even within the LGBT community, and many trans individuals are not seen as real people. To see a transgender model walk would show that trans women are to be taken seriously and that Angels are selected because of their character and talent. As a brand, Victoria's Secret should feel comfortable marketing towards ALL types of women".
Carrera was asked about the petition by Time magazine and replied:
"I want to do this for the 50,000 people who signed the petition on Change.org. I want to do this for, of course, me and my career. I’m a show girl at heart. If I’m going to do fashion shows, this is the one to do. And I want to do it for my family. I want them to be proud of me. I want them to be like, that’s our kid, we raised that girl right there. And my community, for sure".
UN Official Warns of 'Amputation' of Christianity's DNA in the Middle East
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres expressed concern Tuesday over the exodus of Christians in the Middle East because of the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
Guterres said that speaking “as a Christian,” he was “worried about what’s happening in the Middle East.” Guterres referenced the Middle Eastern origins of Christianity and said a religious cleansing of Christians from that part of the world would be “an amputation in the DNA of Christianity and in the DNA of the Middle East.”
“Allow me to speak here also as a Christian, which I probably shouldn’t,” Guterres said at a discussion of the Syrian refugee crisis at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “I must say that I’m worried about what’s happening in the Middle East.
“People in my country, and of course I cannot mention the United States because it’s a young nation except for the populations that were here already long ago, but in my country (Portugal), people were still worshipping the trees and the rivers; and the Christians in the Middle East, in Alexandria, in Antioch, in Caesarea…they were discussing whether the Holy Ghost was coming from the Father or from the Father and the Son,” said Guterres.
“I mean that is where Christianity was born, and to see these communities at the risk of being eradicated from that area is something I consider with horror. So independently of the importance of the resettlement program, I think that the international community must do everything possible to create the conditions for these communities to be able not to be religiously cleansed, I mean from that part of the world that would be to really do an amputation in the DNA of Christianity and in the DNA of the Middle East.
“This has nothing to do with the support to individuals that need resettlement, but we need also to mobilize the efforts of the international community in order to preserve those communities that are in the very origin of Christianity as Christianity exists today,” Guterres concluded.
Pope Francis also expressed concern over the exodus of Christians from the Middle East in a meeting Monday with Chaldean Catholic bishops from the region.
“Today the situation in your lands of origin is gravely compromised by the fanatical hatred sown by terrorism, which continues to cause a great hemorrhage of faithful who leave the lands of their fathers, where they grew up firmly rooted in the furrow of tradition,” the Pope said.
“I pray that Christians will not be forced to abandon Iraq and the Middle East,” he added. “I think especially of the sons and daughters of your Church, and their rich traditions.”
So what if Ben Carson is a creationist?
by Jeff Jacoby
THE TV NEWS was on, and there was a story about the leading candidates in the Republican presidential field. "So if Donald Trump gets the nomination," my liberal friend needled me, "are you going to vote for him?"
"He's not going to be the nominee," I said, "but I wouldn't vote for him in any case."
"What about Ben Carson?" he wanted to know.
I like what I've seen of Carson's personality and character, I replied, but I couldn't imagine backing someone so inexperienced for president. Then I added: "He'd make a great surgeon general, though!"
I meant it lightheartedly, but my companion was appalled. A surgeon general who doesn't accept Darwinian evolution? I couldn't really imagine Carson in that post, could I?
Now it was my turn to be amazed. Carson is an eminent physician and surgeon. He was a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, and spent 29 years as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In a 2001 celebration of "researchers and doctors who are changing our world," Time magazine hailed Carson as one of America's best scientists and physicians. The Library of Congress, no less, declared him a "living legend." Surely even the most impassioned liberal couldn't argue that Carson, whatever his political or religious beliefs, would lack the scientific and medical chops to make a fine surgeon general, the nation's leading spokesman on matters of public health.
Nonsense, said my liberal friend. Someone who questions the fundamental scientific understanding of the development of life on earth would have little credibility on any scientific topic, including public health. Carson may be a great surgeon, but if he rejects such bedrock scientific findings, who knows what other well-founded data he would refuse to acknowledge?
It is certainly true that Carson denies that life developed through random, unguided genetic mutations over millions of centuries. It is also true that he believes in literal six-day creationism (though he's agnostic on the question of the planet's age) and that he attributes the rise of Darwinian thinking to the influence of "the Adversary," — i.e., Satan. Those are not mainstream views, but Carson has plainly thought about the subject and hasn't been shy about explaining his conclusions, in both religious and scientific terms.
To be sure, he is seeking the presidency, not the office of surgeon general or any other science-related position. But would Carson's views on evolution and Creation be such a red flag to Democrats if his views generally were more in line with left-wing priorities?
A trailblazing pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson specialized in traumatic brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, and congenital disorders. In 1987, he was the first to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head.
The best-known and most beloved surgeon general of all — C. Everett Koop — is remembered for his early leadership in fighting AIDS and for warning bluntly that smoking was harmful. Liberals admired him for putting public health before politics or ideology. Yet Koop, too, was skeptical of Darwinism. "It has been my conviction for many years that evolution is impossible," he wrote in a 1986 letter. Like Carson, Koop also believed that Genesis should be taken at face value, not as "something like parables." Yet those views clearly were no barrier to Koop's nonpareil service as surgeon general.
Similarly, Carson's decades of remarkable medical achievement should quell any suggestion that his biblical views about the development of life "in the beginning" have impeded his scholarship and skill at saving and improving lives in the present. All faiths (including dogmatic atheism) incorporate teachings that cannot be supported by mainstream science. Water into wine? Manna from heaven? Golden plates from an angel in New York? A universe that spontaneously created itself?
Can you regard someone's religious creed as preposterous, yet entrust the person who is faithful to that creed with public office? Of course; Americans do it all the time. I can't see Carson as president, but what I really can't see is why his religion or his doubts about evolution (neither of which I share) should even enter the conversation.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.