Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I went to see a film today at the Div school. It was a 10 minute film made in the 1970s called "Period Piece," by Emily Culpepper. Dr. Culpepper made the film as part of her MDiv senior thesis, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women at HDS they showed the film and had responses and discussion. The movie, made in the 70s (1974 maybe?), explored issues of women's menstruation, showing a woman removing and inserting a tampon, and another performing a self-gynecological exam. There was an interesting mixture of people in the room...some who were older and professors during the women's lib movement (for example Mary Daly was there, as well as Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza), people of Dr. Culpepper's generation, and people from the Div school now. I have always considered myself to be a feminist, but as I sat in this room full of women I really wondered about where I fit into the whole scheme. Here were these women who had really struggled for the movement; they had taken radical steps to try and ensure that women would be treated equally (which is work that sometimes, I fear, will never be finished). And I have friends who are definitely into the more radical side of feminism; my friend Sarah directed to Vagina Monologues at HDS this year, for example. And I really admire her for that. But it's not for me, and I can't figure out why. At first I felt that I was betraying my feminist roots (props to my mom here). Why is it that I don't feel the need to make or even talk about menstruation in a public forum, or to take part in the Vagina Monologues (even though I will gladly attend and support it). I thought about this for hours today, and finally it dawned on me. So many people I know who are radical feminists in their actions, both young and old, are so because they felt some keen sense of disempowerment, or society's attempt to make them feel disempowered, during their lives. And that's what I don't have. I've never felt disempowered because I'm a woman. It was never and issue. Not once in my life do I remember thinking that I couldn't or shouldn't do something because I am female. Even in the realm of religion, which is where so many women feel disenfranchised, I never felt that calling God "Father" or "King" was a major problem. While most of the time now I refer to God as God, and not Him or Her, or sometimes both Father and Mother, even as a child I didn't think that "Father" in reference to God meant that the Creator was male. Never crossed my mind. I remember in college being told that I wasn't asked to do research for a professor overseas because women aren't allowed to ask certain questions of monks in Sri Lanka. That really hit me hard for a few days...I couldn't fathom that my sex had prevented me from doing something I felt I deserved to do. But even then, for some reason I got over it. It didn't mean that I couldn't go into just meant that I had to be creative. And I like a challenge :) So anyway, that's where my thoughts have been today.

That and the fact that I'm trying not to be too intense about my whole vocational path. It's just hard...I'm so excited about the prospect of going to seminary and really getting to start on the path for my vocation, that I'm afraid I'm too enthusiastic for some people. I really really really want to do an internship at my church next year, but I don't want to harass the person I'd work with too much and make him annoyed. But the passion and excitement inside of me about this whole path is like this...I don't know. Force that's driving me on. And it's amazing, but I feel like at the moment I'm at kind of a resting point while I wait for some things to fall into place before the summer hits. Maybe the Good Lord is trying to teach me patience, which God knows I need.

Oh yeah, and it snowed all morning this morning. Got soaked going to class so I just came home to work for the afternoon. Fun times. I read all of Deep River by Shusaku Endo today. If you haven't read that book, you definitely should. It's amazing (although I found his book Silence to be even more of the best books I think I've ever read). And now I'm going to study some more.

Sorry if this has seemed to ramble a thoughts tend to go on for a while sometimes...

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