Tag Archives: platitudes

International Women’s Day, or here we go again with the platitudes…


I’m all for a celebration of women. As a gender, I think we’re pretty cool. And hard done by, in general. Just look at the housework balance, the pay disparities, the parenting gaps. The complete erasure of women’s accomplishments in so many spheres. So the idea of celebrating women’s accomplishments seems like a good one.

BUT. I can’t help but feel a day just isn’t enough. I’m with the folks at Black History Month who want to extend the celebrations to more than just the minimum. I mean, isn’t it a bit…urgh…to give Black History the very shortest month in the calendar? Whose bright idea was that? Was it a bit of a dig? 

Or the pink shirt anti-bullying day. Ugh. Kids are bullied if they don’t wear pink to school that day. I can’t help but feel this is a bit counterproductive.

‘I wonder if I can reschedule the grocery delivery for Thursday instead of Tuesday?’

Besides, shouldn’t recognition of bullying, women, black history, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and plain old white cis men go on all the time? Of course it tends to run to the latter in this list, so I understand completely the need for emphasis on the other groups, but it is beginning to seem to me that there are so many different ’cause’ days that the serious problems are getting lost in the shuffle.

Like the ongoing, paralyzing racism present throughout the world. Like capitalism’s driving of starvation and grinding poverty

Or the bad behaviour by so many men towards so many women. I heard this AM on the radio of a city councillor in Ottawa who has been sexually aggressive to his female staff to an unbelievable level, who is still being paid with the taxpayers dime and has not received any serious repercussions. He is still the representative for the women he abused. Gawd. 

Story after story of men being jerks scroll across my timeline (and trust me, I’m not looking for them – I find them triggering as I have experienced my full share of jerkish experiences) I DO know there are good men, I know they can act humanely and kindly and do good things. I also know women can be jerks. No need to differ with me on that score. But the balance seems to still be off. 

And I simply don’t believe waving an “International Women’s Day” heart on one’s sleeve will do anything to stop honour killings, rape, aggressiveness against women, even forced intimacies of the minor kind. I don’t think men fully understand the feelings of danger we feel when alone with them. 

Even friends can’t be trusted. An old (married) friend of mine once took the opportunity of us being alone in my apartment to press himself on me. I was shocked beyond the ability to respond. It’s damaged our friendship beyond saving, in my mind anyway. I doubt very much he even considered it out of line. I remain baffled as to why he thought he COULD do such things.

But I’ll just bet he celebrates Women’s Day. 

You good men and true, I salute you. You, too, deserve recognition. Maybe having a “Decent Men’s Day” would help rebalance behaviour. We could celebrate it on February 28th? (Just teasing…)

I’ve written a book about a woman who was massaged like Coca-Cola into a merchandiser’s dream. It’s called Recycled Virgin, and it’s an alternate history of Mary and her role in the Christian story. It puts her where I think she should have been, somewhat more in the centre of things.

While I was writing it, I was taking a course on Mariology at the excellent Atlantic School of Theology, under the patient guidance of David Dean. I remember knocking him off his heels by suggesting that all the difficulties with Mary (her ever virginity despite giving birth, her pure blood line, her lack of sin, her assumption into heaven in her full body – all things created well after the fact by clumps of men trying to persuade people to join the church) could be completely explained by making her the god part of the god-human connection, as vs just the receptacle. Those of you who read Catholic doctrine for pleasure (I realize there may be few) might look at the stories through that lens and see how they think they might fit. I found it fascinating to contemplate.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, such that it is, I’ve put my book on discount for March 10-17. The ebook only, as this is all the mighty Amazon allows at present. Why not take a look and see if you can challenge that prevailing belief that Mary didn’t really matter, but was just a womb on sanctified legs. It’s alternative history. It’s fiction, but then, aren’t most of the stories we tell ourselves?

Check out my book here. If you like it, or hate it, or anything in-between, please take the time to write a review. 

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The Beplatitudes


You’ve all read them. Pithy statements about the meaning of life, how to be kind, how to find joy, blah blah blah. Blah. “Your most prized possessions are your unspent years”, “Happiness is like a butterfly…”, etc. etc.
I particularly like the “author unknown” ones, which generally means someone has spliced some words together from the ether and doesn’t want to quote themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with these things. They are good for coffee mugs, scented candles, even the occasional T-shirt (though I still prefer the one that says “You’re just jealous because the voices are speaking to ME!”).
But when they come from someone who is supposed to have a deeper understanding, well, they just piss me off.
It’s like going to hear the Dalai Lama speak and having him come out with tra la pop sayings. Or having the Pope say something like, “God loves you”. Or a famous scientist say something like “You are a caterpillar, growing into a butterfly”.
I know, if you love something, let it go, but there really should be a restriction on letting some of these sayings go. Especially if you are a person who provides guidance.
I’m thinking of a minister I knew once. Every word out of her mouth was some sort of prayerful platitude. I found it made me feel distinctly unChristian, as I cheerily contemplated ways of making the noise stop. Yes, I know, you have to speak to your flock in ways that they can understand, but all of us were over kindergarten age and well past the age of believing in unicorns and magic bubbles. We sat, in various states of discomfort, on our wooden chairs, being told cheery slogans instead of thoughtful commentary.
Maybe I expect too much. It’s probably because I am still agog at the mystery of a religious calling. As a nurse, I know what a vocation means. It invades your DNA. Now, even though I can no longer legally call myself a nurse, I still react as a nurse.
But I know, also, that sometimes my nursiness has limits. Sometimes I don’t feel the magic, you know? Sometimes I react with an ugh, or an I don’t want to help, not this time. And I wonder about ministers and priest and such and how they manage to make the magic every service, every contact. Do they?
When I was a nurse, I took my profession very seriously. I regularly upgraded, studied constantly, tried to be an expert in the field if I could. I was probably insufferable, but at least I was well-informed. I expect the same thing from other professions, especially those that involve a vocation. So I expect religious leaders to rise above the coffee mug sentiments and pull out something wise. Some do, and they reach me, deeply, and make listening to them worth the uncomfortable seating.
Some, like this lass, just drive me to write murder mysteries where people are pushed off cliffs while the murderer recites the quote about the road less travelled. And tosses the T-shirt after the body. Or maybe a coffee mug. All the while hollering, “And they said you can’t take it with you!”