Tag Archives: SCM

Gender liberated?

How many aspects of our lives are gendered, tailored towards one sex or another, without our even realising it? What makes me think that Chris’ shaving gel smells masculine while mine is ‘girly’. What told the young girl we saw in WH Smiths that she wanted a globe in various shades of pink (wrong I tell you, so very wrong) rather than a ‘normal’ one?

While this question itself wasn’t one asked at this weekend’s SCM conference on ‘Liberating Gender’, we thought a lot about how the ways in which we are categorised and stereotyped based on gender extend into pretty much every aspect of our lives. Whatever your interest or personal perspective of gender, from feminine ideas of God to exploring Queer theology, there was something to inspire and make you think. For me, the roles of masculine and feminine resonated most with my own experiences.

In exploring ‘masculinity, men and violence’, I realised that, to start with, whenever we think of ‘gender issues’ or ‘gender inequality’, the immediate focus is on women, but that the same things apply to men also. We looked at the roles we push men and boys into, which force them to conform to the ‘tough macho man’ image, and leave no room for individuality or vulnerability. Society has forced ideal body images, attitudes and personalities on men just as much as it has on women, and they are no less difficult to ignore or stand against.
Scanning the BBC news website as I do, an article prompted by Barbie’s 50th birthday on Monday, caught my attention, looking at whether the Barbie figure is possible if scaled-up to life-size, and the possible effects of having this kind of ‘role model’ for young girls. I imagine it goes without saying that such toys create unattainble standards for young girls, but the responses from women and girls who honestly can’t see the damage this causes, and think that “there’s nothing wrong in using her as a role model when it comes to looks, as well as attitude to life. it’s empowering for women”. This from the woman who has had plastic surgery to make herself look like Barbie. The mind boggles.
We need to ask ourselves where these gender stereotypes come from, what tells us that conforming to these ideals is necessary. We need to realise how damaging they can be, how easily they are perpetuated, and how important it is that we challenge them.

Bits and pieces

So that last post was inspired by (and has inspired) thoughts for my sermon this weekend. But to go back to the more mundane stuff thats also been going on..

This weekend just gone was the SCM annual conference, always a thought-provoking experience, and this year was no exception. I’ll come back to that sometime. Aside from the ‘official’ bit of the conference, its always good to see people. New friends and old friends, getting together again and chatting in the pub or singing till the small hours, and then realising that two nights of little sleep is not a good way to start a new working week!

The heating problems continue, three visits of the manufacturers engineers down, still no  better. |Apparently after three visits they send out a ‘lead engineer’. Which means what? Is that jargon for ‘someone who knows what they’re doing’? In which case why didn’t they send them first?! The mind boggles.

Last night I spent a happy, err, while, organising my posts and adding categories (sermon which needed writing might have had something to do with this sudden urge!). Hoorah for another form of organisational procrastination! I’ve decided tagging will be restricted to newer posts, or I may never post again for spending all my time tagging. Which would somewhat defeat the point.

Job hunting continues, jobs come up and I think will continue to do so, we’ll see where that takes us. Hoping and praying that sometime soon something will change and this half-life will be transformed. Although the idea of that is so mythical and far off that in some ways it doesn’t quite seem real.

And talking of which, I should draw your attention to a new wibber who has appeared this week, who I now can’t refer to simply as Mr RF. Some of you have spotted him already, but if not, wander over and say hello.

It was a very good year…

Obviously I can’t be in the same place without a trip away for more than 2 weeks, so this weekend I made the trip up to Sheffield for the SCM summer gathering. This promised to be a fairly action-packed weekend, with meetings a plenty, things to organise, plan, present and decide on, and trying to ensure various people were in the right place at the right time, as well as maybe trying to squeeze in some time to relax and enjoy the company of some good friends.

The weekend went well, I might even be tempted to say very well. Meetings were successful, decisions made were (in my opinion) the right ones and had few objections, and for the most part everything went to plan. Even if I do say so myself.

In the middle of all this craziness it was inevitable that I would be thinking and reflecting a little on the past year, on everything that’s happened, and all the changes that this weekend represented and reminded me of. In the last year I have learnt so much, about SCM, about the people I’ve been working with, the job I was doing and about my own ability to do so many things. This time last year I was wondering what on earth I’d let myself in for, and yet, even though nervous at times, I managed to chair this years AGM, including presenting some rather complex ideas and leading discussions. Its amazing what a year can do! Now I’m still involved, but I’ve handed over my ‘crown’, and with it a lot of responsibility and headaches. Though I do know my successor just a little bit, so I have a feeling I’ll be hearing about those..

During the year I’ve also made some very good friends, people who I may only see once every two or three months, but who I share many things in common with, and really enjoy spending time with. I have found myself part of a community, which is unique, and very real, despite it coming together only once a term, and which has in a year become a huge part of my life. Not to mention changing it rather significantly in more ways than one.

All in all, I’m glad I did it. There has been stress and difficulties, and times when I wanted someone else to worry about it instead, but its been good, and if I could turn back the clock, I’d do it all over again!