Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some Belated February Stuff

Liberty department store

I know Valentine's day was a while ago, but I was thinking about it last week. Well, not Valentine's day specifically, but the sisters appreciation events that a lot of guys in Christian groups put together during the Valentine's season. Usually, the evening consists of the boys providing the girls with some sort of food and entertainment. Everyone dresses up and the girls relax while being catered to by the guys.

English Breakfast tea & a salmon sandwich

Btw, the pictures from this entry don't really relate to the text. The photos are from an afternoon tea at the Liberty department store hosted by the Seven College Conference of London for jya students (junior year abroad) from the Seven Sisters schools. There was also one boy there because Radcliff, a former all women's and Seven Sisters college, merged w/ Harvard, so Harvard was also invited.
The tea was nice, but honestly, I think we all expected more haha the scones were good though!

scone w/ clotted cream & jam; pouring the tea

Anyway, I've been to a sisters appreciation event before, and I've seen lots of pictures and heard stories about them. Although I enjoyed the event and can appreciate the effort put into them, did you ever think about how this reinforces gender roles? (I know, I know, I'm a sociology major that analyzes everything blah blah)
  • Why is it usually the boys doing stuff for the girls? Because girls are more into all that lovey dovey stuff and guys aren't? (related - VDay: An Opportunity to Remind Us That We Are Opposite Sexes)
  • If we are going to adhere to socialized gender roles & behavior, why would fellow brothers in Christ be fulfilling the desire of females for romantic stuff?
  • If you think about it, its kind of a like a mass date...the boys are showing the girls their potential as future boyfriends --> *cough*senior scramble*cough*
  • Why doesn't everyone do an activity together instead of the guys just putting on a show and serving the girls all night? Aren't there activities that involve everyone? Or, is there a need for a special event to show appreciation, or can it simply be shown through how we treat each other everyday?

a lot of stuff was already gone by the time I took a picture of the tower

Most importantly, what does this have to do with faith? Isn't Valentine's day a secular, constructed holiday? It doesn't celebrate the love of God, which is not about feelings and hearts. What's the need for these events? Because we might feel too lonely on Valentines day otherwise? God is good all the time, including Valentines day. By clinging to God and living by faith, we can truly know what value is and show appreciation for our fellow brothers and sisters.

Bryn Mawr representin'; shot of the tea room

Perhaps I am over analyzing this. I'm not saying the guys are secretly trying to seduce the girls or have a hidden agenda. I just felt like something was weird about these sisters appreciation events and was thinking about what their purpose is (or the social function they perform a la Gans & poverty). Honestly, I think for most girls, they use events like this as an excuse to get dressed up haha ;)


  1. Your comments about V-day… HARSH, but you raise some interesting points.
    The history of the day might inform the origin of the “day” but certainly not the practices we see.
    Why would a church affirm a “day” which has lost almost all religious significance and which is practically completely commercial… an orgy of extravagance, a way to increase financial debt and irresponsibility… a way to pretend one is loved or feel sad because one is alone ... ???

    Some positive arguments: in a chauvinistic society it might be good for men to show a little love. (in korea, I remind you, women are supposed to give valentines to boys on V-day. What a bunch of losers those guys are!! Makes me ashamed to be one, too.)

    If coupling is natural and Christian, and one wants it to happen in a “holy” way… this might be a way to advertise oneself and go shopping, under the guise of a social event. One can always opt NOT to go. But why else would girls get dressed up, and guys try to perform their best?

    One might also point out that for socially awkward people of both commonly recognized sexes, this is a golden opportunity. Score one for the awkwards!!

    Having said that, it does confirm that many churches realize that socializing is a major purpose for attending church, but yet preach such a regulated way of finding someone, they have to provide avenues of fulfilling the guidelines without violating the very same rules. But then… isn’t it all just acting?? So people find their “someone” based on how well they perform… churches providing ways for people to show others how they fit the requirements that the church already has taught. THAT is full of gender role socialization!!!

    Why on V-day? Better than doing it on Easter!!

  2. I always had my suspicions. Why is that a day must be set aside to appreciate a sister in Christ? Are we not supposed to do that all the time? If we were to take away all the flower petals, pristine table cloth, dimmed lights, and all the superfluous props and details, would that make the event less "appreciative?" i think it's great and important that you question and analyze these sorts of practices and rituals. And like you've mentioned earlier, we all need a healthy dosage of.. now what was it? skepticism? doubt? you know what i mean right?!

  3. aw thanks jackie!! and i love how we're on blogger - i love reading everyone's blogs!! and hahaha to this: "Honestly, I think for most girls, they use events like this as an excuse to get dressed up"