“I am not sure I am a feminist…I wear makeup…”I carefully, hesitantly laid out at the desk of Claudia Camp one late spring afternoon in her office in Beasley Hall. She leaned forward trying emphatically to suppress a chuckle, getting so close the my face, removing her spectacles and triumphantly exclaiming “You can be a feminist and wear make-up–I am wearing mascara!”
Never mind that I couldn’t see a speck of Loreal on her too close eye lashes…
It took me years and a Master of Divinity to figure out exactly what I was working out and trying to express all those years ago sitting in the 1970s mass produced office chair on the third floor of Beasley. I love cooking–it is a sacrament that I offer the people I love and even people I don’t much care for. I prefer dresses and love yard work. I rock climb and do yoga and sew. And I believe in mascara. I believe in the power of choice–to choose to wear or not wear mascara. To choose to work outside the home or to fully put your education and passion to shaping the next generation living in your home. But most importantly I believe that women are powerful and that we are most powerful when we support one another in growing into the people God created us to be.
Fast forward a little over a decade from that warm spring day in Beasley…I am a full-time vocational minister who serves women and children specifically and a mother who grew and brought into the world two bright and energetic girls. My oldest daughter’s favorite game to play in the yard these days, donning a tomato stake as a staff is “girl-Moses” because why not? Moses was powerful and so is she. Moses was called by God and so is she. God had a heart for Moses understanding who he was and God has a heart for her learning the same thing.
I know what I was getting at all those years ago and realize that Claudia and I were sitting there trying to wrap our arms around the same thing, although from different directions. I believe that there is power in choice, there is power in what we choose to wear or not wear and that that power belongs to each and every human God has created. Mascara, clothes, names, identities, they belong to us because ultimately when we exercise our power to choose, we exercise our listening to who we are and who God created us to be. And I believe that whoever that is, is beautiful, thoughtful, powerful and kind–mascara or not.
Cara Gilger serves on staff at First Christian Church, McKinney, Texas, with a focus in Christian Education. Cara grew up in Oklahoma, but crossed the Red River as soon as possible to attend Texas Christian University, graduating in 2004 with a Bachelors in Religions Studies. Cara continued her studies in Nashville at Vanderbilt Divinity School where she received her Masters of Divinity. Cara lives with her husband Tim and two daughters and when she’s not doing ministry or chasing two active girls she can be found practicing yoga, reading or gardening.
Author: Dana Nottingham, TCU Student, Fall 2014
I believe in a third culture.
Finding out I was white came as quite a shock. After four and a half years of believing I was Salvadoran, my nationality was revoked. Everyone around me thought it was so funny that I had mistaken my very fair skin as brown, and my very blond hair as black. Kids. They’re so cute. They laughed and I let them, neither one of us realizing quite the impact that moment would make.
When my family moved back to The States, I went ahead and conformed. I unconsciously forgot an entire identity; I let go of my Spanish, forgot El Salvador, and attempted to proceed as usual. I faked it very well—for most of my life I even had myself convinced that I was American. Yet something just wouldn’t click. There were so many aspects of life in the US that I tried desperately to distance myself from; I began to hate the association, wondering why there was so much I didn’t understand and so much I couldn’t get other people to understand. I looked the part, but I couldn’t play it. Just hearing someone say “El Salvador” made me jump, desperately trying to become a part of the conversation. I kept meeting girls from San Salvador who didn’t understand why I considered their country to be mine as well. I didn’t even speak Spanish anymore, so in most eyes I had no credible claim to the Latin American culture. Even I started feeling like I didn’t, and between losing a nationality and a language, I lost a big part of who I was. It is only recently that I began to come to terms with the fact that I don’t really belong to any culture. And it was in expressing this to someone that I found out there was a third culture, for people who felt just like me.
Being classified as a “third culture kid” means living outside your passport country for a significant portion of your developmental years. Essentially, TCKs are people who don’t have a country because they were never able to firmly establish their roots. When asked, most people can tell you where they are from. I can tell you where I live, but where I’m from has always been tricky. Because, true to the TCK formula, I’m not from anywhere. I belong to two countries, two cultures, two languages. I cannot define myself by either one, and I learn everyday that I don’t have to. I’m developing an entirely new perspective, coming to understand that weaving together both parts of who I am connects me with people on an entirely different level. Suddenly I understand the plight of the foreigner, I get the loneliness of the outcast, I appreciate the importance of origin—and it isn’t merely from an empathetic standpoint. I am on the same journey of self discovery, to reclaim my identity, and it has been incredible to see just how many others are on it too.
Author: William Norris, Spring 2014
Great strides have been made over the last couple centuries with the goal of eliminating gender double standards. However, they are still prevalent in today’s society, and people often question if women are equal in terms of how they are observed and assessed in the world today. Often times, females are held to a different standard of conformity in the world, as opposed to men. While it is universally accepted that women deserve complete, justified recognition in every facet of today’s society, awareness must still be promoted in order to totally reject and change the sexism that some individuals continue to show. The first personal example of the double standard that I have encountered is in the sport of golf. Interestingly, many are unaware that golf was first founded as G.O.L.F., meaning Gentleman Only Ladies Forbidden. Although today’s sport has undoubtedly shifted with society to become accepting and welcoming to women, it is relevant that sexual discrimination is something that has been around since the 17th century founding of the game. Today, there is a professional tournament association for women called the LPGA, or Ladies Professional Golf Association. Stereotypes such as the belief that men are superior to women in the sport are common, and are extremely ignorant. In fact, most of the women on the LPGA tour can hit a golf ball farther than 90% of golfing men. Ironically, distance is something that many men take pride in and use as an example of the superiority that they assume. I believe that great measures have been taken in order to promote the awareness of ignorant sexism today, but some people continue to discriminate, sometimes without thinking twice. Existing in both the sport of golf and also in today’s world is another topic that many address when referring to the double standard, which is dress. While women can be scrutinized for wearing something that certain people can judge them for, men seem to not have this problem. The question that nobody has a valid answer to is, “why is it this way?” There is no basis for argument here, and with today’s movement toward total equality I believe that over time, we will see a change in everyday activities regarding women. Lastly, the thought that men are generally the superior of the two sexes because of the idea of masculinity is one that needs to be seriously addressed and changed. It comes from the tradition of men being the working partner in a relationship and women staying at home and raising a family, which is how American families functioned following the Revolutionary War. However, this idea also has no foundation for an argument either. Looking at the statistical facts, data shows that women actually hold more positions of authority such as executive or manager in the present business world. I believe that participation in all activities should be welcomed to all, regardless of gender. Additionally, women should not be considered as less capable than men, or judged for a matter that men have no issues with. It is my belief that the sexual double standard will be disposed of eventually, but already it has taken too long. Hopefully sooner rather than later, gender stereotypes need to be disregarded by all, and I believe that lies in our near future.
The idea of gender double standards is critical in today’s society. There are different expectancies in the ways which women should act, dress and even take part in certain activities versus men. One idea that I am very familiar with is the gender double standard of male dancers versus female. As a dance teacher and student myself, I have been exposed to many stereotypes that it is acceptable for a girl to dance but if a boy dances, he will be considered “gay.” I believe that a boy can be just as talented in this form of art as a girl can be. Only a couple of years ago, I had a friend at my dance studio that was a male who was a fantastic dancer and even went off to college as a dance major. He danced from the time he was two years old and all the way up to eighteen years of age. Through the years, I am sure that he was teased about dancing instead of participating in a more male- like activity, such as sports. Currently, I have two young boys in my classes where I teach little kids. Of course, the number of girls in the class is much greater, but the amount of talent is equal. We strive to make all of our students aware that it is perfectly acceptable for a boy to dance as well as a girl especially the younger girls who are already being told that a boy should play sports and a girl should be a dancer. I believe that anyone can participate in any activity whether it is a boy in dance class or a girl in football. It is all about taking part in something in which you enjoy and with practice you can achieve the same goal. This sexual double standard is one that may never go away, as there will always be those who believe as well as convince others that girls should be dancers and boys should be football players. I am hopeful that as time goes on, the amount of people who believe this stereotype will decrease and that they become more open-minded about the idea of a male dancer as well as the talent that they can hold.