Sexy Talk -- An Introduction to a Series on Gender & Sexuality



"You are a fool if you try to define masculinity and femininity....But you're also a fool if you don't try." - Dan Allender


Gender and sexuality affect our every day lives.  We interact with each other in heavily nuanced ways, often unconsciously exhibiting our belief systems about how men and women SHOULD act or think or feel.  It is everywhere we go, whether we have eyes to see it or ears to hear it. 

For example, on Kingston's first day of preschool the Teacher's Assistant, a precious elderly woman, greeted him at the door and said, "Oh, good!  Another little boy!  We have so many girls in this class and the other boys will be happy to not have to just play with the girls!"  She then went on to show Kingston all the "boy" toys in the classroom so he knew just what to play with.  

For ages, I have been enamored with the extreme ways in which our cultures treat gender and sexuality.   I wanted to start a series about practical ways to engage with topics of gender and sexuality because of just how much it affects us, often in very unconscious ways.  
DISCLAIMER: I am far from an expert on this topic.  I am very passionate about it and have spent quite a bit of time reading and learning and thinking about it, but an expert that does not make.  My hope for this blog series is to simply put my thoughts out there and perhaps give a safe place for others to think through different perspectives and come away considering more healthy ways to treat one another.  

This topic is too intrinsic in our lives to dismiss.  When Kingston's teacher unwittingly discriminated against the little girls in his class I simply said, in as polite-I-am-not-a-bitchy-mom-I-swear-voice as I could, "Kingston loves playing with boys AND girls!  And we play with all kinds of toys at our house and he's gonna love exploring ALL the toys in the classroom!"

We can change the tide with simple actions like paying attention to how others talk about our genders and sexuality and voicing that we see a world that is equitable and won't participate in cornering people into a box that is labeled 


"YOU SHOULD"  

After watching Miley Cyrus perform on the VMA's last night, it is obvious that when we live long enough under the expectation of others we can become angry and have an "Eff You!" attitude to those who have demanded we behave in a certain way to earn their approval.  When we place unhealthy genderized expectations on our children (think: Girls should be pretty and Boys should be strong) we can create an expectation that proves to be too heavy a burden to bear.  What happens when a girl doesn't feel pretty or a boy doesn't feel strong?  The conclusions drawn can be disastrous.  Miley isn't unusual in her coming-of-age-reactionary response to the heavily gendered expectations we all live under on a regular basis.  Hers' just happens to be more public.  

The first installment of the Sexy Talk Series will discuss Good Reasons for Bad Practices.  We often set up rules and regulations around our gendered interactions that are meant to keep us "safe" from inappropriate behavior but inadvertently often marginalize women and encourage men to keep their struggles with sexuality locked up and hidden in shame.  



The second installment of the Sexy Talk Series will be around healthy sexuality in different stages of life [childhood, adolescence, adulthood etc.] and in particular the Purity & Modesty Movements and how they have affected our psyche towards our bodies and sexual relationships. 

I will also provide a few resources that I highly recommend regarding each topic and give space for feedback and recommendations for other great articles, podcasts, books etc.  I think this conversation will be much richer if you can come to the table with honest and respectful questions and ideas about how to find a new way forward. I look forward to hearing your inklings and reflections.


Stay Tuned. 


***Many have asked for a resource on gendered expectations.  Here you go!  Enjoy!

Here is a link by Rachel Held Evans on The Extreme Legalism of Gender Roles

2 comments

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August 26, 2013 at 6:52 PM ×

You know how to jog a brothers mind lol. I enjoyed reading this.

Balas
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August 26, 2013 at 8:00 PM ×

Chepe, I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas throughout the series! Let me know what kind of conversation you are having around this topic.

Balas
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admin
Thanks for your comment