Still Genderizing After All These Years

A brief outline of 2 little books, written by Emilie Barnes, published circa 2007:

A Little Princess in the Making

“Before a princess blossoms into a queen, she learns the way of royal manners – how to speak politely, set a pretty table, be helpful and more. Written especially for younger girls, this book is filled with royal imagery and colorful pictures that point the way to good manners. The regal theme will inspire little girls to behave like perfect little princesses.”

A Little Hero in the Making

“Heroes do incredible things, and they can do them because they work hard and have good, brave hearts. Listening and sharing and caring are all things heroes do. Manners aren”t boring or stuffy; manners are heroic. This book provides an excellent start in teaching manners to younger boys.”


This HURTS ME!

This is SOOO Terrible!

What century is this?

Girls can’t even AFFORD to be Princesses anymore – even if they wanted to be!

Now I’ll admit, I’ve got Princess in me: I’ve even got a pink Disney cup with Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella on it in my bathroom, and I do love dresses, and pretty shoes, but DANG:

“speak politely, set a pretty table, be helpful”

vs.

“do incredible things”…not to mention: “good, brave hearts”

what the hell? – oh, not very Princess-like of me…

This is the work of Emilie Barnes.

Now, I only came across this while buying some English Breakfast Tea from a website full of all kinds of tea and crumpet type goodies.

I do love my tea and crumpets.

I also love aprons, and baking, and assisting others, but oh my goodness!  I’ve been struggling my whole life to make it okay to speak my mind, and to achieve my own selfhood; trying to step into my own power so I can make things happen, and here comes this!

Now, “Emilie is listed in 100 Christian Women Who Changed the 20th Century. She is a frequent guest on numerous radio and television programs nationwide, including The 700 Club, Focus On The Family, Family Life and Moody Broadcasting Network, and is currently featured in one-minute national radio segments entitled, ‘Keep It Simple with Emilie.’” http://www.emiliebarnes.com/home/BioPages/BioEmilieBarnes/tabid/61/Default.aspx

And she probably speaks politely.

But if all she’d been doing all her life was “assisting” others – a woman’s job to be a helpmate – I wonder how far she’d have come?

Maybe I’m, as some have said, too sensitive, but why can’t boys learn to speak politely and assist others, and why can’t girls have good, brave hearts and work hard?  Why would someone put this kind of stuff out there in this day and age?

Because we all long for a time when our roles and the world were “simpler”?  Clear-cut, like the caste system in India: everyone knows their role, no agonizing over what to do with one’s life…

jeeez….

and another thing that always strikes me about this paradigm is the absolute weight of everything on the shoulders of boys, which often translates into power tripping, or simply stressed-out men.

I hope Emilie is having a wonderful life, but JEEEZ!

I thought we’d gotten beyond this!

Letters to Pakistan

Oh Pakistan…

to watch your plains flood,

and your villages disappear,

your future drowning before your eyes,

death glistening under the sun,

waiting for you in the

months ahead…


Come to my house, Pakistan,

tell them to bring you to my house…

Somehow,

we will get along…


Dear Pakistan,

How my heart wrings and

twists into knots for you…

I want to come there,

to be there, to

lift you out of the

waters rising

over your heads,

to put up tents,

to cook, to clean, to…

to…

what?


I would only be

one more mouth to feed,

one more arm needing a vaccine,

one more body for anti-biotics…


No,

hand to hand contact

makes no sense, coming from

where I am…

I am here, without even

the money to get out,

let alone to get there –

money better spent,

better sent…


But I want to ship you my clothes,

my sheets,

my tent, my food stuffs,

vegetables and lentils,

water, sweet water,

and love…


Dear Pakistan,

I am not

a Muslim,

but I love Urdu,

Pashto,

Qawwali,

the call to prayer…

I am not a Muslim,

and you are

a Muslim state –

who knows how I’d fare in your hands,

me and my American woman ways –

but when one is

drowning, there is only

one, or some other

god to call on.

When children

have no food, no water,

no crops to grow,

are starving,

dying,

there is only

the hand of

some one, or some other

that can save, heal, feed

that child,

that adult,

that village,

that country…


Dear Pakistan,

For how long will your

thighs push through that water, as

the bodies of your families,

your neighbours, your animals

float bloated by,

dry out,

dessicated,

by the river side…?


And even when that water has

finally seeped into the Earth,

for how long

will your body feel

weighted,

bruised,

delirious,

hungry…?


Oh, I can send that ten, or twenty dollars,

(being of meager means myself)

but what good can it do?


Hah, you say,

that’s a week’s worth of food,

that’s three tents for three families,

that’s fuel for many fires,

and more…


But with those dollars,

I wish I could

touch your hand,

cook you a meal,

carry a burden for you,

wrap a dry blanket around

your shoulders,

give you a drink,

sing you a song,

rebuild your house,

keep you on your land…


Dear Pakistan,

I wish we could

scoop the water

out of your house

and give it all

to Syria.


Did you know

there’s a drought there?

No water, no rains

for four years…


Things are happening,

making people uproot,

and die.

Hard times,

hard

times…


Maybe we could build

special irrigation lines

all across the lands,

divert the too much water

to where there is none;

can’t we try that?


Someone should work on that:

Huge rain barrels

dispensing to pipelines

dispersing to dry cracked lands…


That way,

Syria could feed Pakistan, and

Pakistan could feed Syria, and

we could work this system out

everywhere.


How hard could that be?

Shouldn’t we try that?

We can get to the moon;

we can create

and drop

nuclear bombs;

but we can’t figure out

how to get

the water

out of Pakistan

and into Syria???


Dear Pakistan,

Who are you to me,

that I should be so

torn in two

seeing you

inundated,

drowning,

washed away into

the vastness,

the past,

the silence…?


Who am I to you

that I should care

so

much?

That my throat should

close up, my knees buckle,

and my body sob tears

at the sight of you,

trudging through;

that I should want to

put my hand out and

pull you up, to say

Here,

Come here,

to My house,

there’s plenty of room…


Dear Pakistan…

Morning After

Today is

the morning after

Yom Kippur.

I find it hard to

put food in my mouth.

I woke with

a subtle headache,

undoubtedly from

going without

coffee for 48 hours,

and though I’ve

made myself a cup,

I don’t really want

to drink it.


I want to go outside

and drink in

the wide silence,

to be with

the earth.


On the radio

Joanna Macy is

reading Rilke to me,

reminding me

to remember

the beauty

of this world…


“World is lover,

world is self;

it’s okay for our

hearts to be broken

over the world…”


For this

I’ve needed

permission,

for I am just

a foolish woman

crying

over the world…


to listen to Joanna Macy on Speaking of Faith:

http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2010/wild-love-for-world/