Sunday, February 14, 2010

Christians and Skirts

Some people I've talked to - specifically some strongly opinionated Fundamental Christians I know - sometimes reject the idea that men should wear skirts on religious grounds. This is just the usual repression and if thought out rationally the arguments don't hold water. A skirt is obviously a modest garment. Of course a lot of the argument surrounds Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
 We aren't talking about that, though. We're talking about wearing 'gender correct' clothing. I'm really not interested in wearing high heels, tights or even ruffled shirts - even though that particular fashion was invented for men too... If someone hits you with Deuteronomy 22:5, have them read verse 30 in the same chapter. "A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt." A skirt is traditionally a male garment.

Well, lets go ahead and ask the usual question, "What would Jesus do?" Specifically, what did Jesus wear? Well, he wore a tunic or Alb, tied with a sash or cord. Looks remarkably like a dress, doesn't it?
Jesus was rather comfortable with himself, as evidenced from John 13:4-5
"He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself."After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.."
 Jesus was comfortable using a towel as a skirt. I don't think that anyone would suggest that Jesus was a cross dresser.
What about the prophets? What did the prophets wear? Traditionally, sleeveless cloaks - just like the alb above - and the Priests all wore them too. If you read Isaiah 20, you can see that Isaiah prophesied for three years while completely naked, but that was rather unusual. Maybe it's a bad example to use here...

Interestingly enough, we can ask the question, "What does God himself wear?" The Bible provides the answer in Ezekiel 16:8
Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.
Jesus the son of God wears a skirt! Imagine that! I could go a lot further and give a lot more references. Let's just say that the Pope doesn't wear pants and leave it at that. If a fanatic gives you a hard time about being in women's clothing, show them your scriptures and challenge them to show you where the Bible says that men have to wear pants. Trust me, it ain't in the Bible.

Don’t measure my efforts by your expectations.

The subject of Kilts/skirts has brought me to thinking about my life a lot lately. So many adults are badly 'broken' by our society in ways that are hard to fix. In our society, from the time we are born, we are exposed to negative conditioning. This conditioning usually comes from our parents, grandparents, religious affiliations, and the media.

We are taught to be uncomfortable with our thoughts, our bodies, and even our joy. In many ways the twin fangs of guilt and sin are sunk into our souls and the joy is sucked out of our lives. Effectively, this causes us to deaden parts of our minds and bodies to awareness, sensation, and, ultimately, a joyful life. No one should feel guilt over their strife to well being.

When we suffer emotional hurts and disappointments in the course of our lives, we further armor ourselves to protect ourselves from pain - physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual pains - but this only hampers our ability later in life to seek out our individual truths and experience true joy freely. This armoring is heavier than steel, and greatly interferes with our full realization as human beings, and with our enjoyment of our senses, our emotions, spiritual acceptance and indeed our entire psychological well being.

People can learn to deal with their pain, not hide or suppress it; the pain may never go away, but it does not need to control our life. Finding a way to deal with one’s pain can take many turns. When one path does not work you should not quit, or feel as if it was a failure, more as elimination of paths. Gaining a true understanding can take many years and is not easily found….. unfortunately.

I have been told many women deal with the trauma of rape with overeating. Some turn to drugs still others may confront the pain by working as a rape crisis counselor. No one “fix” works for everyone and often it takes more than one approach to deal with it effectively. Most often the “fix” seems only to separate the problem from the person, not solve or overcome.

Emotional / psychological / spiritual / physical well being all go hand in hand. Everyone should have a balance between all, but equally important; should give up one to achieve another. If someone give up their emotional health in order to gain physical well being… what have they gain?

The trauma of rape creates an emotional trench. A person’s happiness and wellbeing has fallen into it, this happiness is not gone, but it will take work to get it back. Dealing with crisis is not easy and its effects are different for everyone. Contrary to the TV ads no magic pill can fill in this trench thereby floating happiness to the top…. It WILL require work.
Don’t measure my efforts by your expectations.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It isn't a hat, it's a cap

Just know that when you're having the, "It's NOT a skirt, stupid, it's a KILT.", that you aren't fooling anybody. A Kilt *is* a skirt by definition. You'll do better to stop arguing and start educating. In the consciousness of society there are things that are decidedly male garments and things that are decidedly female garments. Men don't wear bras or string bikini bathing suit tops. Women don't wear... Ah... What don't women wear? Ties? I think I've seen women in ties... Hmmm... The thing to remember is that in our gender confused world is that most garments are worn by both sexes at the right time and place. The best example for the Men in Skirts idea is hats. There are men's hats and women's hats. Some of them have different names, but they're all hats. If someone says, "Hey! I like your hat!", it's kind of silly to say, "It isn't a hat, it's a cap." Just take the compliment and move on. Educate them! Save them from the slow strangulation of their manhood by the evils of modern fashion!
 The bottom line is that there are skirts for men and skirts for women. Even those without much fashion sense ought to be able to tell the difference in about two seconds if you point it out to them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don't call it a skirt

While all of this applies to women too, it's harder to get men to think about the practical usefulness and comfort of skirts, so this is directed at the men.

"Self-respect is the noblest garment with which a man may clothe himself, the most elevating feeling with which the mind can be inspired." - Samuel Smiles
I know that for some men in our culture, the idea of wearing something commonly seen as women's clothing is a Very Big Deal, so let's get over that hump first. We aren't talking about wearing women's clothing here. We aren't talking about cross dressing. Hey, if that floats your boat, then go for it, but I look lousy in a sundress. What I am doing is inviting you to consider wearing a traditional MALE garment. Alexander the Great conquered the known world in a skirt. Think about it.
In modern Western Civilization, the appearance of a man in a skirt - unless that skirt is part of some kind of costume - engenders a range of response from total disregard to curious inquiry to obstinate denouncement. Masculinity is a fluid term, applied to men across class and racial backgrounds. It is a product of society's need for classification to keep people in constant relation to each other. Masculinity serves a useful purpose, but it creates problems by creating standards of thought, personality, and fashion for all men, regardless of other forms of individuality. This is the problem of clothing, and there are many books on the subject. Because we wear clothes and no longer have access to sexual and gender clues, our clothing takes the place of these cues and being able to classify people as the appropriate gender according to their clothing has become second nature in our society. Anyone who violates the common perception of these gender cues will generate a little attention - no matter how flawed or uninformed the common perception actually is. The common result is that even many men are confused about how to play out their own gender roles.
Even some men who wear skirts are very insistent that they aren't wearing a skirt, despite the obvious fact that they are. I mean, if you're walking around with a turtle on your head and someone asks you why you have a turtle on your head, then to say, "It isn't a turtle, it's a tortoise.", isn't useful. You haven't made any real distinction or answered the question of the inquirer. But, if it makes you feel better, then go right ahead and play the semantics game. Don't call it a skirt, it’s a Kilt!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are you brave?

Bravery comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts". Let's put it this way:... being brave is all about moving out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself and doing things or saying things that you are just not used to. Others gain from these acts as well as they too gain bravery from those who are brave.

Do one little thing outside your comfort zone every day. It doesn't have to be a big step, just something different from what you normally do or say. Even changing your thoughts about someone or something that has been bothering you can have a big impact on opening yourself up to new perspectives about the world and ways of coping with difficult situations.

In ordinary life, we tend to live in our own little area of comfort. Often referred to as our "comfort zone", this is the safety barrier that we build around ourselves to protect us from feelings of hurt, upset and a desire to react defensively. Every day, it helps to take a step outside this comfort zone to extend our limits and explore more life. Healthy challenges help us to build courage and strength!

Start off with small goals to make changes to your everyday life that will help you to grow more courageous and forthright in your approach to your goals. Start small and be more open and trusting of your wife, acquaintances, then your community, then your region and finally, your world. Over time, your goals can grow bigger and bigger, as you grow more and more courageous about interacting with others

Do not listen to unhealthy criticism from others, but be respectful.
Know your physical limits. Don't do something stupid just to be brave.
Know your emotional limits. For example, if doing something in a crowd sends you into a panic, do not force yourself to do it.

Some of us are built more sensitive to such situations than others, and with good reason, for some people are the risk-takers and some are the risk-averse. Without both kinds of people, societies would not thrive.

Avoiding the situation completely only results in strengthening the association since our beliefs about it become stronger. Lots of people avoid a situation all together when they fear it for example a women might decide not to get into relationships because of believing that she will get hurt or a man might prevent himself from having intimate friends because of trust issues.

If you avoided your fears they will keep growing bigger and bigger while if you faced them while learning how to control your emotions they will gradually decrease.
Being brave doesn’t mean to stop feeling afraid but it’s the ability to face your fears until you stop fearing them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Masculinity: is it what is used to be?

I see Masculinity as an inconsistent epoch. So is Femininity, however women are free to change at will (and do quite often).

Masculine definitions are: I can solve it. I can MAKE it happen. I am more powerful than the problem I face. I will show no weakness! Men are significantly less likely to visit their physicians to receive preventive health care examinations. Why? Too many see it as a sign of weakens.

In many cultures displaying characteristics not typical to one's gender may become a social problem for the individual. Among men, some non-standard behaviors may be considered a sign of homosexuality or femininity. Within sociology such labeling and conditioning is known as gender assumptions. These can have a powerful impact on people, and is a part of socialization to better match a culture's mores and acceptance. The corresponding social condemnation of excessive masculinity may be expressed in terms such as "machismo" or "testosterone poisoning."

Research on beer commercials show some results relevant to studies of masculinity. In beer commercials, the ideas of masculinity (especially risk-taking) are presented and encouraged. The commercials often focus on situations where a man is overcoming an obstacle in a group. The men will either be working hard or playing hard. For instance the commercial will show men who do physical labor such as construction workers, or farm work, or men who are cowboys.

Beer commercials that involve playing hard have a central theme of mastery (over nature or over each other), risk, and adventure. For instance, the men will be outdoors fishing, camping, playing sports, or hanging out in bars. There is usually an element of danger as well as a focus on movement and speed. This appeals to and emphasizes the idea that real men overcome danger and enjoy speed (i.e. fast cars/driving fast). The bar serves as a setting for test of masculinity (skills like pool, strength and drinking ability) and serves as a center for male socializing. Thereby drinking this beer you are displaying your masculinity by association.

The reverse can be true for car commercials, how many women are shown as the driver with a male passenger? Laundry commercials: men doing laundry? Dish soap, furniture polish, any cleaning products at all? Even Mr. Clean doesn’t DO anything other than display his masculine figure as a symbol of strength. The media displays a very definite icon of masculinity.

Cultural reflections on things show we can want changes, and I want to help to shape those changes. Let's make it okay for men to wear kilts, let's make it okay for anyone to be courtly and accept change. Let's make more options for more people, regardless of presentation. We can help shape this change if it is something we all believe in.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not everyone likes kilts... so what!

Not everyone likes the idea of men in kilts, and you know what?
That’s Great!!!
The world is made up of all types. No one person gets to decide what is best for everyone! Thank GOD for that.

On one end of the scale of wisdom we have the enlightened ones who understand on a deep and personal level that all life is an illusion, matter is merely condensed energy and we are one great consciousness experiencing.
On the extreme other end of the scale we have those who live their lives in an unconscious stupor, blindly accepting whatever social morays and practices they happen to have been exposed to as children without question and getting very upset indeed when it turns out that not everyone agrees with their particular set of beliefs. (guess you know how I feel about this one)
People like this are unable to comprehend the concept of being wrong. But more importantly, they buy into the idea that everything is either right or wrong. They are unable to see that nature, which has borne man, is a lover of variety. Very few things in nature follow strict laws of duality, as those who would put clothing into “men's” and “women's” boxes would like.

These people lack the empathy to imagine themselves as they would be if their lives had been different. They seem to believe that, had they grown up in a dung hut in Africa, they would have naturally adopted a Western gender appropriate style of dress (without ever having seen it,) worshiped the Christian God they would have never heard of, and followed the model of the one man, one woman nuclear family, in spite of that being rare among many African tribes.

If you honestly believe that the culture and customs you grew up with have some divine moral backing, you're an idiot. Seriously!!! If you believe the styles of dress which are currently common amongst the people of your local geographic area in this particular era are somehow more moral and proper than any other form of clothing one's body, then I actually wonder how you manage to get through the day without swallowing your own tongue.

It is a great big, wide world out there, and all cultures and customs are different. If it does no harm, then, what right do you have to say it is right or wrong? If it brings joy to people, then, what right do you have to judge it against the template you were handed at birth and declare it wrong? Are you truly so blind? Or does your narrow focus give you a sense of peace in this wild and beautiful world which is rocked by constant change. Those who fear the nature of life itself are often unable to deal with variances from whatever was taught to them as being proper. They'll never question it, because questioning it would open the door to the chaos of the real.

So what should you do if you don't like men who wear kilts? I recommend taking the same approach to it as you take to the rest of this beautiful, chaotic and wonderful world. Put your fingers in your ears, squeeze your eyes tightly shut and shout “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA” at the top of your lungs.

Oh look! It went away!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Are we "Herd Animals?"

I have noticed that the modern man choice in clothing has shifted towards total conformity, with an accompanying drop in personal fashion sense. Women now dress more like men, simply out of laziness, and the fact that women are tending towards male characteristics in general. I can remember when my mother would never even THINK about appearing in public without being 'presentable', but now a trip to your local Wal-Mart will show how much THAT'S changed. People actually wear their pajamas and house shoes shopping.

What's revealing is that the American male will spend millions on things that he is assured will make him sexually irresistible, but will not move one inch beyond what is accepted as normal male clothing. A fashion conscious male is automatically suspected of being gay. Men dress to fit in, not stand out . . . not what they want but what others want of them.

I think that men in general are herd animals when it comes to outward appearances, and seek conformity. Women tend to seek individual expression in their dress, and that may be one of the first manifestations of evolving gender unification. I've read where many women have stated one of the greatest pleasures they get from their femininity is in clothing, and freeing themselves from their male counterparts.

Women have FAR more latitude in what they can wear. Men wear pants, shirts, shoes, and jackets (which serve as a social status indicator) and that's pretty much it. Hats are rare, are generally just caps anymore, but up until the '50s, a well dressed man
ALWAYS wore a hat. Suits haven't changed fundamentally over the last 200 years, while women's fashions have gone through some extreme changes.

But I think my point is that people are so bound up in gender identification modes that they have been conditioned to react negatively to ANYTHING outside the strictures social norm. Women can wear male clothing, as that projects an image of masculine strength, which modern society has accepted. But for a male to wear anything even subtlety outside the norm gets him looked at with suspicion. A kilt is not a skirt, it is a male article, I can not understand why some people want to try and make something out of it other than what it is; Masculine male attire.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Road Higher Consciousness

Do you seek a happier, healthier life and one that is more fulfilling? If so you must look within yourself, and gain some degree of understanding.
Do you like what you see? How do you feel? Do you condemn yourself for lacking in something? Do you demean yourself for not having enough? Do you feel that you aren't good enough? Do you feel you need more material goods? Are you are always coming up short? Or maybe you feel that you aren't measuring up to a particular standard of norm that people in general have decided / considered to be the norm?
Far too often people will allow themselves to be told they are abnormal or don’t fit the norm, when in fact the very person making you feel that way is only looking to elevate themselves.
No two people are the same; yes we can have similar likes, taste, but we are separate in many more ways. Being different is the true normal that is what everyone should accept. Break free from the stigma of being something other than yourself. No one really cares what you wear, eat, drive or where you live. They are looking only for the comfort they themselves can’t find.
You are on a path called life. Sometimes you end up on at dead end, you have to start all over again, or end up on a road that takes you not where you thought it would. Life is like that. You are only here for a short time learning. 100 years is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the bigger picture of it all.
What will you reflect on in your last days? I hope I can look back and be happy, laugh at silly things and know I enjoyed my life. A memory of regret, missing small things that may have made a simple day a great one... not something I think would enjoy.