Project Wonderful ad

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

On Target, Toys, & Gender

This post has more links than usual, so it might take a while to get through them all.

So in (the unlikely) case you haven't heard, there has been a storm of debate over gender and whether or not society is about to collapse because of godless heathens. This reached a new point sometime after a mom tweeted about her disappointment with Target's "building sets" versus "girls' building sets". And now, the powers that be at Target have decided that they will no longer label toys according to gender. Many Christians are outraged over this decision to the point that they have declared Target has lost a customer.

And if you ask me, how upset people are over this is just plain ridiculous. It's not like we've suddenly been commanded to ignore gender altogether. We've just seen strict, arbitrary definitions of what it means grow less powerful.

And especially after the "Trophy" shirt fiasco, the fact that Target is doing something about double standards is a good thing. There's still a lot of work to do in breaking down gender-related prejudice, but this is a small step in the right direction.

And much of the focus in this debate seems to be the concept of manliness, which frankly, needs to die. It teaches men to hide their feelings (by telling them real men don't cry, or that being perceived as feminine is bad) and see women and gays as having lesser value as human beings.

Now, with all that said, I'm not certain what God thinks of transgender issues, and at this point, I'm not quite sure about homosexuality either (please don't yell at me "The Bible clearly says..." because it's not actually that clear). But I do know that the apathetic, objectifying attitude expressed towards them by both many Christians and "manly" men is not something God condones.

So stop flipping out over this. There are bigger threats to biblical morality that are hurting far more people. Could we direct at least a little of our outrage over there instead?

© 2015 by M.R.R.


Tizzy Brown said...

I think you're spot on with this. No one is saying that we should abolish the idea of gender, just that the so-called 'rules' about how each gender should behave are out of date. I find the idea of labelling children's toys as either for boys or girls is silly, as kids will normally play with anything-and why not? I spent a lot of time playing with toy cars and dinosaurs and my sister had a collection of both barbies and action men figures, yet amazingly neither of us turned into lesbians!

It's so true what you said about 'manliness' too. Men suffer from these stereotypes just as much as we do. If they show any weakness or real emotion they're ridiculed for it, by both men and women alike. It's crazy. Caring, showing sympathy and nurturing are not exclusively feminine traits. I saw a good meme once that had a picture of a little boy playing with dolls on and the caption read: "You let your little boy play with dolls? Aren't you afraid he'll grow up to be...a good father!"

I respect you for your open-mindedness on the subject of homosexuality. Despite what some claim, I don't think the Bible is crystal clear on this because of the context in which it was written. At the time, homosexuality was only known of in terms of slavery and pederasty (obviously sinful), not in terms of loving consensual relationships-so it's difficult to know what Christ would have taught about that. I think you're right in saying that He wouldn't have condoned persecuting and discriminating against homosexuals anyway.

M.R. R. said...

@ Tizzy Brown
Well said.

Storm Lantern said...

You made a couple good points that I forgot to address in my post. Nice work.

I'm also unsure about transgender people, but regarding homosexuality, I'd suggest reading Genesis 2:24, Leviticus 21:13, and Acts 15:28-29.

Storm Lantern said...

Sorry, that should have been Leviticus 20:13. My apologies for the error.

Storm Lantern said...

One more: 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23.
Paul could be very eloquent, couldn't he?

I very much want to tell you my opinion, but in the end, this is something that's between you, the scripture, and the Holy Spirit.

M.R. R. said...

@ Storm Lantern
Thank you for not just lecturing me. I've been finding a lot of the arguments against homosexuality to be weak. (For example, the one that kids do best when paired with their heterosexual biological parents would also mean foster parents who are infertile or just don't want a biological baby take heat. Plus, I haven't seen accounting for the fact that most kids who can't be raised by their birth parents could also be struggling with knowing they were given up or going through the foster system.) Not to mention the ambiguity of the original Bible verses.

On the other hand, all the times it's clearly mentioned are in a negative context. More significantly to me, Jesus didn't mention it (need to do more research on homosexuality in His lifetime, but if there was a lot of homophobia, it seems like something He'd address).

In the end, I don't know for sure. But Christians have done a terrible job of loving and welcoming people who aren't straight and cisgender, and it's having a strong negative impact.

Storm Lantern said...

Back in June, I wrote a post on that very subject. I've put the link below if you'd like to read it.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm giving you a hearty amen! First, I'm no Bible scholar, but I do recall Jesus not being overly happy with man's (and by man, I mean mankind) interpretations. Each and every one of us has to read the Bible for ourselves and pray for God's guidance in our own lives and our own choices. I know one thing for certain- I hardly qualify for salvation based on my good deeds and behavior. I'm as broken and as screwed up as they come, so like any good name dropper- I'm going to ask for Jesus when I get to the Pearly Gates.

The one thing I am pretty certain of- Jesus did NOT teach us to hate, so whether we agree with someone's choices, our one obligation is to treat them as we would the person we agree with 100%. Passing judgment is way above my pay grade.

Patricia Lynne said...

What makes this even more ridiculous is not that long ago pink was considered the color to dress boys in because it was a stronger color and blue was for girls because it was delicate and dainty. The way we perceive things change and shift with time. This is just another example of that. One day in the future, they might look back and this and be amazed we had girls and boys bedding labeled for gender.

M.R. R. said...

@ Elizabeth Seckman

@ Patricia Lynne
We just might.