Tag Archives: Owning It

#LikeALayWoman

“We’re so excited to have you here!”

“Thank you!”

“Yes, it’s always great to have more lay women here with us.”

I am a lay woman. That is my label. I’ve never really thought about it before, but as of yesterday I’ve been called that twice. Not only that, but I’ve been heartily welcomed into my Eastern Christian Theological classes because of that. Not because of my personality, or my obvious thirst for knowledge and a deepening of my faith, but because of my gender and vocational orientation.*

This would never happen to a man. There is no such thing as “Men’s Studies.” Whether due to historical tradition or patriarchal hierarchies, a man** is always the default setting, the norm, and anything outside that (i.e. a woman) is abnormal and therefore solicited. In this case, I am praised for having chosen to study a subject that, like many, is chalk-full of the male perspective, no doubt so I can chime in with my (supposedly) opposite, female perspective.

This begs the question, “What if my views aren’t any different from a man’s?” Does that all of a sudden make my opinion any less female and relevant? Of course not! Because my opinion comes from me, it is automatically a female perspective (see Always’ “#LikeAGirl” video to see what I mean).

That seems like a lot of pressure, to be welcomed into an area of study because of one’s gender and vocational orientation, almost as if one is a mythical creature. Because the truth is, I am just like any man, lay or otherwise, who comes to study the same subject. We all come because of an itch, of that thirst to know more, to have a deeper understanding of things we can never fully know. Yes, the product of our studies may be different, but our faith and scholastic journeys are the same. We’re all going to the same place, whether we’re female, male, religious, or lay. So why does the distinction need to be made here and now if in the end it doesn’t really matter?

Food for thought. Your turn.

Joyanne 😀

*Not true for all of my classes, but I’m simply making a point.

**If I’m being completely accurate, I should say a white, straight man is the default setting, but since I’m only discussing gender, I thought I’d stick just with men in general.

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Owning It!

Today I went back in time: I got a retainer.

See, since the time that I had braces many years ago, my teeth decided that they weren’t quite happy with how they were being forced to be positioned, and, as a result, kind of moved back towards where they started from. Therefore, Joyanne needs to get not one, but two retainers in order to fix this rebellious movement. I only got the bottom one today, though, because the orthodontist said that two is a bit much and it would most likely be more comfortable to do them one at a time.

Well, comfortable or not, I definitely was having a bit of a pity party as soon as I left the orthodontist’s office. Once again, I had this appliance in my mouth that felt awful and gross and made me feel ugly and like I had to hide it. I mean, I’m 22 years old! I shouldn’t be getting a retainer; I should be spending that money on something else, something adult, like, I don’t know… like a martini… lots and lots of martinis at this rate…

And I was sitting there in my car looking at this thing in my mouth and I was starting to think about what people were going to say and how they would look at me, and then, I stopped. Again, here I was thinking about what other people were going to say about my having a retainer at 22. I started to feel a bit silly. After all, this retainer is going to help my teeth get back in line so that I don’t have to go and get braces again (and some people have to do that). I should be thankful that at least I don’t have to go get braces again. And other people (if they’re really my friends) will recognize that this is something I need to do in order to be more comfortable in the future. Yes, my teeth moved and now they’re going to move back. So what?

So, after having my little tantrum and complaining to select people, I am now deciding to own my retainer and be proud that at least I have the guts to take this little problem and nip it in the bud. Sure, I might look a bit silly, but, heck, I act silly in any case. This retainer will just add to my whole personality.

So, to all those who might try to make fun of me for having a retainer at 22, check this out:

Here’s me owning my new retainer!

Joyanne 😀

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