“Don’t Be A Girl”

Had a weird dream:

For some reason, I had to wake up two individuals to get ready for an event. I woke the girl up two hours before the event. I woke the guy up one hour before the event. The guy complained in angry voice, “How come you didn’t wake me up sooner?” I retorted, “Because I didn’t think you were a girl and would take forever to get ready.” Calling him a girl was supposed to be a jab at him.

What is with that? My behavior in my dream is just an instance of the practice of the wider culture. It seems like I hear these sorts of insults all of the time. My personal favorite comes out of the mouth of Sydney Fife, Peter Klaven’s new found friend in I love you, Man. Sydney is trying to teach Peter how “scream like a man.” After Peter’s first attempt he says teasingly, “That was really good. Now gently remove your tampon and try again.”

This quote and the general attitude of “don’t be a girl” statements betrays both a generalization about the feelings and strength of women  and a sort of negative attitude about any sensitivity that may be found in the opposite gender. As much as I would like to say that I am above this influence, I’m not entirely sure that I am. I am almost certain that I am not living in light of the fact that we are all image-bearers.

Two events in particular make me think that I’m failing to see the image of God in everyone. First, several days ago, a friend of mine who was a girl was complaining about a pain in her hand. I did not take it seriously. I could not imagine that I hurt “that badly”, i.e., I did not believe that the amount of pain she was experiencing warranted her reaction. On another occasion, girls began conversing about, what I’ve been conditioned to think as, “girl things.” I felt an immediate need to leave the room. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. I felt like the feminine-like conversation was a contagion that would infect me or something. I felt like I shouldn’t hear what was being said.

What is that? Why is it that these feelings seem so ingrained in us that it is the air we breathe? I say that this air is numinously noxious. It takes me further away from the image-bearing conception of others and closer to the pseudo-Pauline sexism we find in verses like this one, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet.” As much as this verse disappoints me, It seems that in some ways, I am just another perpetrator.

God, Give me the strength to question the conditioning of the culture (both the stereotyping and the negative attitudes), and to seek to cherish the “daughters of Eve” as images of You.

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