Tuesday, March 08, 2005

the dance

In his sermon this weekend, my pastor talked about some of the more blatant ways society undermines women. I think that it is subtle sexism and discrimination that will cause the most problems for the Lutheran Church, middle-class America and our daughters and sons.

For example:

Sexism comes in many different forms, including blatant, covert, and subtle sexism (Benokraitis & Feagin, 1999). Blatant sexism is defined as obviously unequal and unfair treatment of women relative to men, whereas covert sexism is defined as unequal and unfair treatment of women that is recognized but purposefully hidden from view. Both blatant and covert sexism are intended, but only covert sexism is hidden. In comparison to these two forms, subtle sexism represents unequal and unfair treatment of women that is not recognized by many people because it is perceived to be normative, and therefore does not appear unusual. Sexist language is an example of subtle sexism in that it consists of speech that reinforces and perpetuates gender stereotypes and status differences between women and men.

Subtle discrimination is so woven into the fabric of an organization's status quo, that even women who feel the impact of these insidious, indiscernible barriers are often hard-pressed to know what hit them, say the writers and professors at the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons Graduate School of Management.

A girl, forming her identity "also experiences herself missing from pronouns in scripture, hymns, and prayers. And most of all, as long as God "himself" is exclusively male, she will experience the otherness, the lessness, of herself; all the pious talk in the world about females being equal to males will fail to compute in the deeper places inside her." (Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter)

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