donderdag 29 januari 2015

You Don't Need A Permission To Stay Home

I noticed that a lot of ladies quietly sabotage the society's idea about all women having to work outside home. Sometimes they'll quit their job and would say that they are going to start their own business (which they never do), or they get a burnout after the birth of the second child, or they state that they are searching for work but can never find it.

What I'm trying to say with this post is that it's OK to stay home as a married woman, if you wish to. There is no need to invent excuses and you really don't need the permission of your colleagues, parents or in-laws. There is no law in Western countries which demands married women to hold a job so it's perfectly legal to be a homemaker if you choose so. The only person in your life who has to agree with your choice is your husband, and most husbands find it a great idea as long as their wives don't turn into domestic slobs, do some housekeeping regularly and are careful with money.

You also don't need to have children to stay home. Some ladies who wanted to stay home but couldn't get children went as far as to adopt which costs a lot of money, right after which they turned in their resignation letters. It's not that I'm against adoption, I'd just like to point out a simple fact that having children isn't a precondition to staying home. Adoption is a very serious business and one shouldn't feel pressured into it, for whatever reason.

Our society prides itself on such things as "choice" and "freedom" and "tolerance", which means that any lady who desires to be a housewife is free to choose this option and that her choice should be tolerated. If people harass you for your choice, kindly ask them to mind their own business. Really, you don't have to try to please your whole extended family or all the acquaintances, as long as your husband is fine with your choice, they'll have to accept it just as you accept the fact that they might choose differently.

Women who desire to be homemakers should come out of the closet really, as they have nothing to be ashamed of.

maandag 26 januari 2015

Why Some Men Keep Dreaming About Polygamy

There are quite a lot of (Western) guys who keep dreaming about various polygamous arrangements while simultaneously complaining about Western women, gold-digging, the state of marriage and how the family can't survive on one income so that their wives have to work.

Those same men often complain how modern women are delusional and overestimate their attractiveness, while they themselves seem to be living in a dreamworld of their own making.

Apart from the question whether polygamy is allowed in the Bible (I believe it's not, but let's say it's irrelevant for the present discussion), how are they planning to support four or more wives if they can't afford to have even one at home? Here comes the most ridiculous part of the whole scheme: some of them are so deluded that they imagine themselves staying home while their wives go out and earn the living, which is truly pathetic, in my opinion.

Polygamy, as we all know, is practiced in (certain) Muslim countries, so how does it work? First, to be able to marry at all, a man has to pay a bride price and it can be very high. It often happens that poorer men can hardly afford to marry at all, while wealthier men have several wives. Second, if Western women are supposedly gold-diggers then you surely haven't met any Eastern ones.

Here is an article by an Iranian man (warning:language) which throws some light upon marital arrangements in his country. I'd just like to quote a part of it:

The husband is, by law, responsible for every dime spent in a marriage. According to Islamic law, the husband cannot ask his wife to spend a dime, or even consult her on how she can spend her money. Money for the expenses of life is called nafaqa, and the husband is mandated to give that money to his wife. She can sue her husband for not paying, and the court will order a monthly amount to be paid to the wife by her husband as her nafaqa. 

Here is an even more interesting part: The amount of nafaqa depends on the class of the woman, but is mandated that it should not be lower than her standard of living prior to marriage. Meaning that if she used to have maids, the husband now should pay for maids. This helps to make it clear that in Iran, “deprivation” of a wife from her husband’s wealth is illegal...in Islamic laws, a woman’s possession is her possession, but a man’s possession is the family’s possession.

The author of that article isn't thrilled with such patriarchal arrangements. Something tells me that the men who complain the hardest about life in the West wouldn't like Islamic patriarchy, where the man is responsible for everything, either.

Guys, be careful with what you are wishing for!

vrijdag 23 januari 2015

Feminine Manner, Part 1

Since there is so much interest in the topic of femininity I'd like to write more about it using Helen Andelin's Fascinating Womanhood as a guide. Last year I did a post about feminine appearance based on her book (for those interested, search the label Fascinating Womanhood), but she also devoted a whole chapter to the feminine manner and another one to the feminine nature. 

Mrs Andelin points out that a woman can dress feminine, but if her manners and behaviour are not, it will produce a comical effect. She also explains that men find the feminine manner attractive since it forms contrast with their masculinity.

She gives practical advice about hands, walk and voice (don't gesticulate wildly, don't pound on the table, don't slap people on the back, don't walk like men do, avoid talking too loud, but also avoid mumbling or speaking in monotonous voice) and suggests reading aloud to improve one's manner of speaking (Fascinating Womanhood, pp. 256, 257, Bantam Books, 1992).

Another thing to be avoided is to laugh in masculine manner, such as roaring with laughter, and certain facial expressions, such as deep frown and hardness in the eyes. Mrs Andelin states that such unfeminine facial expressions often are a result of a harsh, overtly critical character and suggests working at improving both.

She also gives some hints on how to bewitch a man you love by the way you talk to him and behave (p. 258, 259).

Helen then takes on feminine conversation. She warns women against talking too much and being self-centered in their conversation (talking only about one's own children, husband, problems etc), because it's boring to other people. A woman shouldn't try to dominate the conversation or speak in a vulgar, crude manner, and she should try to avoid making catty remarks about persons she dislikes. A feminine woman will also show tenderness towards children and those less fortunate and avoid heated arguments (pp. 259, 260)

In my next post I'll discuss refinement and feminine wiles.

maandag 19 januari 2015

Can You Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too?

The article has been making rounds which illustrates what exactly is wrong with modern "conservatives". It appears that a pastor in NYC wrote a post advising Christian men which women to avoid. As usual, he got lots of "hatemail" from offended females which hastened to point out how wrong he is to state that men should have standards when choosing a wife, and that they themselves are all "in great marriages" though they are proud feminists. This is hilarious in itself and provides for great entertainment value, but I would have never mentioned it if not for one thing.

The supposedly conservative pastor makes the following point:

There is nothing wrong with a woman who works (Acts 16:14), what’s wrong is a woman who puts her career ahead of her family.  Modern American society might hate to hear this, but God made men to be the providers and women to be the nurturers of the home (in most instances).  It’s okay for a woman to be a doctor, attorney, or any other professional.  However, if her career is coming at the expense of her home, then something is wrong.  If day-care is raising her young children while she’s working, then something is wrong. 

The statement in itself is problematic. First, a homemaker works at home, every single day, or at least, she is supposed to do it. I can't believe that the good preacher uses the story of Lydia and totally ignores the command given in Titus 2 which for centuries has been understood as teaching that the married woman's job is to be a keeper at home. The Scriptures often describe people in less than ideal situations, it doesn't mean we should follow them when there are clear commands on how to behave.

A famous Bible scholar, John Gill, has the following to say about Lydia:

whether Lydia was a maid, a wife, or widow, cannot be said; it looks, however, as if she had no husband now, since she is mentioned as a trader herself

Obviously, if a woman is single she'll have no other choice but to work, unless she is independently wealthy. Further, the pastor correctly states that there are distinct sex roles, but then suddenly adds that it's OK for a woman to be a professional, unless her home life suffers because of it. How can one be "the nurturer of the home" and a doctor or a lawyer at the same time, is never explained. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Since he is not afraid to make unpopular statements, such as the one about divorcees, he probably believes that a woman can have it all together, which makes him indistinguishable from feminists he set out to criticise. The choice isn't any more between Western tradition and feminism, instead it's between feminism of the Right or of the Left. It's like watching Tweedledum and Tweedledee fight. It's little wonder the Right keeps losing. At least, the other side comes with a whole freebies package.

vrijdag 16 januari 2015

Feminine Clothes, Part 2

So today I finally have time to upload the pictures I took two days ago. Here are examples of different styles from an old copy of Verena, my favourite knitting magazine.

Formal:

Formal, evening variety:





Ethno:

Casual:






Sportive (a skirt is a bit on the short side, but you get the meaning):


The styles are obviously different but still distinctly feminine.




woensdag 14 januari 2015

Nihilism vs Faith

Modern Western society is chiefly based on humanism which is described by a Longman dictionary I possess as "a system of beliefs and standards concerned with the needs of people and not with religious ideas". In other words, the immediate and often subjective concerns of human beings are considered more important than objective reality and any system of religious beliefs. When you keep this in mind, you'll begin to understand the roots of some problems which plague the modern Western society.

Christian preachers used to teach that holiness or salvation existed outside of man, not within, while humanism searches for the ultimate good within a person, hence the belief that human nature could be improved by progress and education. However, in my opinion, humanism also directly opposes any system based on idealism, since such a system will hold (some) ideas and concepts higher than the material needs of the people and worthy to sacrifice one's life for, if necessary.

A society based on the concept that material needs are everything that matters will inevitably grow more nihilistic and hedonistic as it will basically teach its citizens that eating, drinking and having fun is the most important thing in life and will ridicule such abstract concepts as "duty", "honour" or "patriotism" since they exist outside of man.

Idealism has dangers of its own since it can breed fanatics ready to kill and die for something they hold dear, and it could very well be that modern materialistic hedonism is the reaction to the 19th century idealism which brought us revolutions and two most horrible world wars, and yet I'm not sure that nihilism is a good substitute or that such a society can survive for a long time.

Since I now have new readers I'd like to repost one of my favourite poems by Robert Service which illustrates the point I'm trying to make. The hero of it is not a believer yet he has a concept of honour, which exists outside of himself, and his adherence to it outweighs his desire to save his life:

Soldier Of Fortune

"Deny your God!" they ringed me with their spears;
Blood-crazed were they, and reeking from the strife;
Hell-hot their hate, and venom-fanged their sneers,
And one man spat on me and nursed a knife.
And there was I, sore wounded and alone,
I, the last living of my slaughtered band.
Oh sinister the sky, and cold as stone!
In one red laugh of horror reeled the land.
And dazed and desperate I faced their spears,
And like a flame out-leaped that naked knife,
And like a serpent stung their bitter jeers:
"Deny your God, and we will give you life."


Deny my God! Oh life was very sweet!
And it is hard in youth and hope to die;
And there my comrades dear lay at my feet,
And in that blear of blood soon must I lie.
And yet . . . I almost laughed -- it seemed so odd,
For long and long had I not vainly tried
To reason out and body forth my God,
And prayed for light, and doubted -- and denied:
Denied the Being I could not conceive,
Denied a life-to-be beyond the grave. . . .
And now they ask me, who do not believe,
Just to deny, to voice my doubt, to save
This life of mine that sings so in the sun,
The bloom of youth yet red upon my cheek,
My only life! -- O fools! 'tis easy done,
I will deny . . . and yet I do not speak.


"Deny your God!" their spears are all agleam,
And I can see their eyes with blood-lust shine;
Their snarling voices shrill into a scream,
And, mad to slay, they quiver for the sign.
Deny my God! yes, I could do it well;
Yet if I did, what of my race, my name?
How they would spit on me, these dogs of hell!
Spurn me, and put on me the brand of shame.
A white man's honour! what of that, I say?
Shall these black curs cry "Coward" in my face?
They who would perish for their gods of clay --
Shall I defile my country and my race?
My country! what's my country to me now?
Soldier of Fortune, free and far I roam;
All men are brothers in my heart, I vow;
The wide and wondrous world is all my home.
My country! reverent of her splendid Dead,
Her heroes proud, her martyrs pierced with pain:
For me her puissant blood was vainly shed;
For me her drums of battle beat in vain,
And free I fare, half-heedless of her fate:
No faith, no flag I owe -- then why not seek
This last loop-hole of life? Why hesitate?
I will deny . . . and yet I do not speak.


"Deny your God!" their spears are poised on high,
And tense and terrible they wait the word;
And dark and darker glooms the dreary sky,
And in that hush of horror no thing stirred.
Then, through the ringing terror and sheer hate
Leaped there a vision to me -- Oh, how far!
A face, Her face . . . through all my stormy fate
A joy, a strength, a glory and a star.
Beneath the pines, where lonely camp-fires gleam,
In seas forlorn, amid the deserts drear,
How I had gladdened to that face of dream!
And never, never had it seemed so dear.
O silken hair that veils the sunny brow!
O eyes of grey, so tender and so true!
O lips of smiling sweetness! must I now
For ever and for ever go from you?


Ah, yes, I must . . . for if I do this thing,
How can I look into your face again?
Knowing you think me more than half a king,
I with my craven heart, my honour slain.
No! no! my mind's made up. I gaze above,
Into that sky insensate as a stone;
Not for my creed, my country, but my Love
Will I stand up and meet my death alone.
Then though it be to utter dark I sink,
The God that dwells in me is not denied;
"Best" triumphs over "Beast", -- and so I think
Humanity itself is glorified. . . .


"And now, my butchers, I embrace my fate.
Come! let my heart's blood slake the thirsty sod.
Curst be the life you offer! Glut your hate!
Strike! Strike, you dogs! I'll not deny my God."
I saw the spears that seemed a-leap to slay,
All quiver earthward at the headman's nod;
And in a daze of dream I heard him say:
"Go, set him free who serves so well his God!"


As a P.S. I'd like to add that I took some pictures to add to my previous post on different clothes styles but by some reason, can't upload them now, so I'll try to do it later.

zaterdag 10 januari 2015

Feminine Clothes

Some time ago I was asked the following question by a commenter from Finland:

I would like to ask, if you could concider writing a post about how rather unfeminine woman can become more feminine... I do wear mostly skirts at home...The problem is that I really don't like "feminine staff", ruffles, pastel colours, jewels and make up. Last one is easy because my hubby doesn't really like makeup or polished nails etc. My hair is long,but I like to keep it on simple braid or ponytail. I like collar shirts (from ladys department) and hate high heels -which is good because I couldn't were them anyway. I also like rahter plain style.

She also adds in her next comment:

I thought a lot about this being-more-feminine -matter yesterday evening. I think I must have misunderstood something. I started thinking about my both grandmothers. I am quite sure, that nobody would never ever have described them "manly". And yet they both were very strong women, farmer's wifes, and used to hard work. Neither of them were make up or jewellery (the latter was only worn in parties.) They wore dresses and skirts mostly, of course, but the colours were usually rather dark - they were that generation who concidered it inappropriate for elderly women to dress in light colours.

So I guess behaviour is the key word here? I know it is propably obvious to everyone else but here in Finland people usually do not behave very well. Women with most feminine attire can swear, yell on their children or husbands or behave very aggressively. My grandmothers would have never done that.


Writing about feminine clothes is difficult on its own because people often take offence at what you say as they tend to take everything personally nowadays, but since I was asked a question  I'm going to try to answer it according to the way I see things. Please note that it's not my intention to criticise or attack anyone who thinks differently.

From a historical point of view, traditional clothes for men in Western Europe were trousers, while for women it was long skirts/dresses. (It goes back to the Germanic tribes, because as we know, previously, in Ancient Rome and Greece, the difference between  male and female clothes was shorter robes for men vs longer robes for women). Things started changing when women moved into traditionally male occupations, went into professional sports and the equality of the sexes became a general principle. Yet, perhaps quite hypocritically, while the society accepts women wearing trousers it still doesn't react all too nicely when a man dons a skirt.

This fact above all demonstrates that deep down inside people still think that skirts/dresses are distinctly female clothes and can't be an appropriate garb for men.The same is true about hair, men generally have shorter hair than women, the majority of them prefers women with long hair as evidenced by this blog post. For those who are Christians among us, there is also the biblical admonition about women having long hair as a natural covering. So a lady who has long hair and mostly wears skirts, is already distinctly feminine.

As for other things mentioned in the comment, it's noteworthy that in the times past when women didn't normally wear that which pertains to a man heavy makeup was considered the mark of a prostitute, as we can read in old novels, such as Gone With The Wind. I don't think there is anything wrong with makeup, however, I wonder sometimes if there is a connection between women switching to wearing traditionally masculine clothes and heavy makeup, to highlight the fact that there still is a difference between male and female.

Now a collar shirt isn't always a very feminine thing to wear (it depends on a sort of shirt though), but it could be easily substituted with more feminine style tops. They don't have to have ruffles or only be in pastel colours. As for high heels, again, it's proven that men  react positively to women wearing them, but they aren't always convenient and can cause back pain, especially as one gets older. High heels are generally a must with formal wear, but outside that you can just wear some nice-looking flats. Here it would be probably a good idea to post some pictures, but since it costs so much time to find appropriate examples of what I'm talking about, it's probably better to write a separate post about it.

The second comment is very interesting because it shows that people in the previous generations knew the distinctions between formal and informal wear, something which we have chiefly forgotten. Makeup, jewellery, high heels were reserved for special occasions. In fact, a book I have suggests that women use plain woolen/cotton skirts for housework and reserve nicer clothes for going out, it also teaches that the day wear should be in dark colours as not to attract too much attention in the streets, which was considered indecent. (Here I'm not sure if it was more typical for European countries than for the USA).

Since in Europe there always have been a strong class distinction, the clothes one wore were also dependent on one's social position. Nowadays the rules have become more relaxed, or I'd rather say, there are few of them left, at least for lower middle/middle class. In my opinion, it's still helpful to distinguish between formal and casual wear ( I have done a couple of posts on this topic, unfortunately, some of the pictures I linked to, have been lately deleted), however, since we live in the times when anything goes, you don't have to depend on one particular style, but can choose something which is more suitable for your figure type and your personal taste.

There are various feminine styles which are popular nowadays, such as more formal (think stewardesses), neo-Victorian, romantic, 1940s-1950s retro style, ethno style etc. This topic probably deserves a separate blog post, with pictures to illustrate my point, however, it's important to remember that there is space enough for individual choice. As for feminine behaviour, again, it's probably better to discuss it in a separate post.

I hope it was helpful!

vrijdag 9 januari 2015

100,000 Page Views.

I have been blogging for a little more than two years now and finally I reached it:

Pageviews all time history:
101,188

As of now.  I haven't even noticed when I crossed a hundred thousands views, must have been a couple days ago.  Well, it's a cause for a celebration of sorts, I guess.

Cheers!

donderdag 8 januari 2015

Can Violence Solve Anything?

I remember while I was a uni student I had a writing assignment and chose the topic "Wars Are Always Wrong." Yeah,  I still feel ashamed but as I was only 19, you'll have to cut me some slack:)

Now in connection with  the yesterday events in France, every time a similar attack happens, there will always be someone writing comments about how we never should react back with violence because violence is always wrong, violence begets more violence etc etc. On the surface, it sounds nice and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, however, is it practical?

Let's first look at the term violence. Pacifistic-minded individuals among us mostly don't explain what sort of violence they mean precisely, individual violence, violence in self-defence, organised violence employed by the government or any other form of violence. Sometimes if they are cornered during a discussion they'll say that they are against all forms of violence including the violence wielded by government on their behalf (used by army or police). They never explain how this ideal world without violence would work except for talking about love, holding hands, no borders and general kumbaya.

I'll talk about individual violence first. A (not criminal) individual can use violence in self-defence or as a matter of taking justice in his own hands (vigilante justice). The latter is prohibited by the Bible and it's easy to understand why: a society where people are engaged in fighting their own private vendettas won't be stable or peaceful, it will tend to anarchy and clannish warfare. However, here is the caveat: for the individual to forswear vigilante justice, he should expect the state to wield the sword on his behalf and punish the evildoer. If the state consequently fails in this important duty, the citizens sooner or later will take justice into their own hands, leading to chaos and the end of civil society as we know it.

Now as for violence in self-defence, a lot of liberals are against it, as proven by their crusades against private citizens carrying arms and similar enterprises. They think that they are taking a moral high ground by allowing a criminal to rob or harass them, suggesting that one should call the police rather than fighting back. In theory, it sounds very moral, but what about practise? Not fighting back may work if the criminal only wants your wallet, but what if he also wants to kill you, rape your wife and hurt your children? How's not fighting back going to work in this particular situation?

And, of course, calling the police is only an option when there is a strong and organised police force, otherwise, you are on your own.

Which leads me to my second point, about the use of violence by the government. Liberals have been quite consistent in criticising government using force. They are also against death penalty, usually and are altogether always busy with finding excuses for violent criminals. I can understand their reasons to a certain degree, as there is always a danger of a state turning into a dictatorship where individual rights aren't respected. However, if we take another extreme, we'll see the situation when government refuses to use force to protect the rights of the citizens, which will then lead to vigilante justice and anarchy, see my previous point.

The trouble with liberals is that they seem to think that people are born with rights in the same manner they are born with two arms and two legs. However, our rights exist only as long as we (or someone else on our behalf) are ready to defend them. Because if we refuse to enforce the laws/defend our rights, some other group will come and take them away by force.

The way I see it, pacifists among us have two very wrong notions not grounded in observable reality: first, that everyone in the world shares Western liberal values, and second, that the period of relative peace and prosperity we have been enjoying so far has nothing to do with Western military dominance and police enforcing law and order, which is only possible in highly centralised states. They may be due for the rude awakening one day, but it's a subject for another post.


zondag 4 januari 2015

A New Grain: Greenwheat

Recently I was wondering what to cook for dinner as holidays usually tend to mess with my dinner planning when I encountered a new grain sort in our local supermarket, called Greenwheat or Freekeh. It comes from the Middle East and is one of the latest `health foods` brought to the market and heavily promoted. While I´m not into trendy exotic foods, I decided to give it a chance.

Freekeh is a cereal made from a specially prepared green wheat, and according to Wikipedia, a similar food was mentioned in the Bible, which makes it interesting. It´s easy to make, you have to cook it with lots of water for ab. 15 minutes and you can use it as rice substitute. I also mixed it with fried onions, garlic and scrambled eggs. The package suggests you can eat it with different herbs and Greek yogurt or use it for an Eastern style salad with tomatoes, cucumbers etc. It tastes quite all right, though I probably wouldn´t want to eat it every day.

On the down side it´s quite pricy, as I paid 2 euros for 200g, which is quite a lot considering than rice can be bought for less than 1 euro a kilo. (At least it´s about 1 euro though I forgot the exact price). On the plus side, greenwheat has a lot of fiber and a low glycemic index which is good for those suffering from diabetes. I thought it was a good idea to provide 'a consumer review' of this relatively new sort of cereal.

P.S. For the commenter from Finland, I haven't forgotten about your question and I'm planning to write about it next week.

Have a blessed Sunday!