Wednesday, August 26, 2015
IN HONOR OF THE UPCOMING COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON AND KNITTING
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE GAMES AND SOME GOOD TIME KNITTING!
Knit one and Purl Two!
The question haunts us from dawn to dusk, from night to day. Exactly what is a woman? What is a man? Or better yet, what is a “real woman” and a “real man”? And whatever the answers, how do we show it? The issues that characterize this problem of identity are more than simple scientific ones. They are socially cataclysmic. Everywhere children learn young that invisible social barriers separate them from the fullness of themselves. Males— boys, in particular, who do not epitomize definitions of the manly man— who suppresses emotion, exudes physical prowess, and emphasizes sexual conquest— are excluded from contemporary social life for reasons far beyond their control. They are small boys who play with dolls— and are laughed at for doing it. They are young male teenagers who prefer to learn to knit or dance or sing rather than be athletes and so are hounded to an early grave because of it. They are grown men hiding the truth of their sexual identity from their mothers who want them to get married and produce grandchildren. Or they are young males hiding their softness from fathers who want them to drink hard and kill animals, rather than write poetry or join the local theater group. They are men who learn to feel diminished by doing “women’s work” like babysitting or child care. They are grown men who grow up full of self-hatred for not being muscle-bound and autocratic, loud and overpowering of others, sure of themselves, demeaning of others, rough and tough and controlling. They are men with sensitive hearts who love to hold their children, who kiss their sons and teach them to cook, who encourage their daughters to greatness, who have no expectations of being waited upon by women who have full lives of their own to live. And yet they spend their lives questioning their identity to the point that the questions themselves are madness-making. Only when we all come to the point where “masculinity” can claim for itself the kind of feminine freedoms to love and cry and care which the psychologist Carl Jung speaks about can men become the fullness of the real man they are meant to be. It can only happen when the rest of us begin to realize that the questions we’ve been asking about what it means to be a fully developed person are themselves wrong. The great question of life is not so much, What is it to be masculine or what is it to be feminine? The great question of life is, What is it to be human? Then, the humanity of all of us will be safe. Then the humanization of the human race will really be possible.
Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 100). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.