Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Daring? Ya, I can do Daring.

At the bookstore, finishing my Christmas shopping yesterday, I finally looked at The Dangerous Book for Boys and the Daring Book for Girls.

These two have been around for a few years, but I've always walked past them disdainfully. Their titles were enough to turn me away. For Boys? For Girls - come on! We're all equal, right?

I have some fight in me to make sure all things gender-related are totally equal. I'll spare you the details of how I got to be this way.

I don't think this fight is all bad. It's served me well in certain cases. But I've gone so far in reacting to the gender inequalities all around that I don't always look for equality, I look for same-ness. It's dawned on me that I've ignored some very basic differences between men and women.

It is hard for me to even talk about this, so instinctive is my disdain for categorization based on gender. Remember, my life is only possible because courageous people fought against unjust gender-based divisions.

There's the obvious: I am a pastor. If you forget how rare and recent it is that women can be pastors, remember that the first woman Lutheran pastor in the US isn't even retired yet.

But there's waaay more. I've travelled the world on my own; I have financial stability and independence; I have a good education; I've cultivated a love of sports and the outdoors; I can drive; I have a set of friends that include men and women; I signed the lease on my house. You get the point. I love my life.

Because of so many people's struggle, I can occupy spaces that used to be reserved for men. But I also occupy spaces where boys are not allowed: women's book group, the clergy chicks.

I struggle for the middle ground between "Boys and girls should occupy the same space" and "Put the girls in the kitchen and the boys on the football field."
This is especially apparent in working with the Sr. High youth group. We've just started dividing into gender-specific conversation groups in order to allow for conversations that don't happen in a gender-mixed group. Is this good? I hope so. Does it also run the risk of diminishing the healthy friendships across genders? Probably.

So, back to the Dangerous Book for Boys and the Daring Book for Girls.

True to form, I looked through both of the books. I first read Dangerous for Boys and I felt the fight of gender rise up. Tying knots and reading the night sky is for boys? I want to learn these things too!!!

And then I read Daring for Girls, and, well, it was girly in the way that I am a girl. It talked about hiking and Africa and playing jacks and jump rope. It hit the mark.
I love these books. I think they are good, helpful, needed. But still, something nags at me...
Does it nag at you? Let me know your thoughts and experiences on gender differences.

1 comment:

  1. I understand....but no I don,t agree....just do them!

    ReplyDelete