And now, to the links:
First up, a writer at foxnews.com warns parents not to let their kids watch Dancing with the Stars - at least, not the episode with a transman, Chaz Bono. Why is this Dr. Keith Ablow so concerned? Well, he's arguing that kids who watch a transman dancing on TV might decide to become transsexual too. While Ablow is absolutely right to point out that humans model behavior, I hardly think that pretending transsexual folks don't exist is a healthy response. I also find it very hard to buy Ablow's assertion that he wishes Bono well - when you wish someone well, you don't boycott their decision to dance on TV. If Ablow is really concerned about the way kids will respond to Bono's decision to become a man, he should encourage parents to have healthy and open discussions about these issues with their kids. You don't have to agree with sexual reassignment, but Bono is simply dancing on TV, so why encourage ignorance by refusing to watch him dance?
Next up, I have a couple items of note relating to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church). As a member of this faith, I was excited and thrilled by the release of Daughters in My Kingdom, a book that is all about the history of The Relief Society, which happens to be the world's oldest and largest women's organization. For those who are unfamiliar with it, The Relief Society is an organization that is part of the LDS church, and through it women teach and serve one another and their communities. It is an organization I have belonged to for more than seven years now and one which enriches my life more and more as time goes on. This book is historic, for all the reasons you'll find at the above link, but I want to point out something very unique about it: this book is written and designed by women and for women. Already the entire Relief Society in my ward (congregation) has received copies, and we're eager to study them. I'll probably blog about this book once I've read more of it.
On a much less inspiring note, feminist Mormon housewives has brought a rather horrifying blog to our attention. While I hate to add to this
"...men are more inclined to be objective about the reality of fitness tests. Tests are an aspect of a woman that are more ingrained and subconscious than a cognizant choice on her part. My wife saying she wasn’t testing me is a perfect example. Just because she doesn’t consciously believe she wasn’t, doesn’t make it objectively true."
At the risk of sounding pretentious, dare I mention hegemony? Anyway, as I've discussed with several female LDS friends, the thing that's so infuriating about this man's blogs is that he reinforces sexist, misogynist beliefs that in no way jive with current counsel from the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Where President Thomas S. Monson warns against unrighteous dominion and counsels couples to act as equal partners, this man has somehow interpreted the phrase "equal partners" to mean equal in worth but different in power. Please know, all readers who are not LDS, that I view this man as an aberration. His complaints about all the "beta males" in his ward (congregation) who disagree with him go a long way toward restoring my faith in LDS men. Know too that men like this exist, in so many organizations, and what they do to the women in their lives is unacceptable. I'll just let the words of President Thomas S. Monson condemn this man:
Your wife is your equal. In marriage neither partner is superior nor inferior to the other. You walk side by side as a son and a daughter of God. She is not to be demeaned or insulted but should be respected and loved. Said President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Any man in this Church who … exercises unrighteous dominion over [his wife] is unworthy to hold the priesthood. Though he may have been ordained, the heavens will withdraw, the Spirit of the Lord will be grieved, and it will be amen to the authority of the priesthood of that man.”