Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Gender Matters

Is she beautiful ...
“Flowers spring to blossom where she walks
The careful ways of duty;
Our hard, stiff lines of life with her
Are flowing curves of beauty.”
Among the Hills, John Greenleaf Whittier

... or bold ?
“What do you fear, lady?' he asked. 'A cage,' she said.”
[Lord Aragorn and Lady Éowyn]
"I am no man.”
[Lady Éowyn to the Lord of the Nazgûl as she slayed the one whom no man could kill.] ― Return of the King, JRR Tolkein
Is she passive ...
"Women oppose change, receive passively, and add nothing of their own … I have found that people who know that they are preferred or favored by their mothers give evidence in their lives of a peculiar self-reliance and an unshakable optimism which often bring actual success to their possessors … That is all I have to say to you about femininity ... if you want to know more inquire of your own experiences of life, or turn to poets, or wait until science can give you deeper and more coherent information." ― Sigmund Freud c. 1925-1933

... or attentive ?
“Attention is detaching oneself from oneself and returning to oneself, just as one breathes in and breathes out … it is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
― Simone Weil c. 1916

"Attention is neither an act of will nor a muscular effort … neither an innate quality nor something that happens without our consent: it presupposes a task, it entails an effort, perhaps greater than any other, but this is a negative effort … to free one’s mind from personal preoccupations, thoughts and desires and to create an emptiness within oneself … effacing the will and the ego to let them be filled by something else."
― L'Osservatore Romano, Attention, a necessary condition of Spirituality, Isabella Adinolfi, 2017

“What has history taught us … about women … about our feminine voice … about the fundamental laws [both sociological and biological] of gender in the composition and functioning of human society … and what lessons have we failed to learn?”

In a world with no dearth of urgent issues ranging from economic inequality to nuclear holocaust, we have been recently and forcefully thrust into a highly-prioritized moment which has seemingly suspended all other progress … until we once-and-for-all answer foundational but lingering questions which promise to change the universe of possible answers to everything else … how should we assess and address gender differences and similarities in human relations and civilizations?

New Symposium Society will say “me too” in confession and affirmation that gender matters … and that gender is a basic topic which we neglect at our peril, since our answers to questions about gender will inevitably constrain/enable the available/correct answers to many other vital questions we must face ... together. The vital questions our panelists will address in their opening statements are both perennial and practical.
  • Is the marginalization of women currently detrimental to American society and culture?  How so?  What should be done?
  • Should we emphasize male and female equality or gender differences, which might even be complementary?  What are the crucial or foremost differences?
  • Is there a distinctive feminine voice/perspective?  If so, what are its most beneficial distinctions?  What are the consequences of not heeding it?
  • Given the recent and ongoing revelations of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace, what must sexual politics be like going forward?

When, Where and a Flyer

Tuesday, April 3rd,  7:00 to 8:45 pm at Friends University, Administration Building [with the iconic clocktower], Alumni Auditorium [2nd floor].  Here is a FLYER you can print and post appropriately to alert others about the upcoming meeting.

Panelists and Moderator 👥

Please welcome our gracious and accomplished panelists and moderator. Click their name to see a bio [if we have it]. And remember, they have busy lives so we do NOT require them to provide a position statement or suggested readings in advance ... but if they do, we have provided links to those materials following their name/bio below ... and we encourage you to review these links to get to know our panelists and moderator better.
Karen Robu
  • Women Without Superstition “No Gods – No Masters”: The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth & Twentieth Centuries, edited by Annie Laurie Gaylor
  • Deborah’s Daughters: Gender Politics and Biblical Interpretation, Joy A. Schroeder
  • Rediscovering Eve, Carol Meyers
Brandi Calvert
Becky Elder
Jenny Wood
Lacey Stevenson

Pilar Pedraza, host of "Kansas Week" on KPTS, as moderator

    The Evening's Format

    The first half of the evening will consist of each panelist presenting an 8-9 minute opening position statement. In the second half of the evening, the audience will help our panelists by asking questions about the sometimes elusive and often misunderstood feminine voice in our midst.

    And for those of you who are inclined to get some questions out in the open for consideration BEFORE the evening's meeting ... feel free to join the liberales ... and blog your COMMENTS and REPLIES below as needed/wished to build some trains of thought for us.


    Our very talented and articulate panelists and moderator brought us not only historical and contemporary insights into why "Gender Matters", but they candidly shared [and helped us get in touch with] some of the more personal feelings and convictions we have and hold [consciously or not and reasonably or not] about this most intimate and yet most common aspect of our humanity.

    It has been proposed, with allegedly supporting evidence,  that women are from Venus and men are from Mars, but if we learned one thing during our evening together it is that, regardless of where we happen to be "coming from" in our lives, we can only really know one another individual-to-individual.

    “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre 

    For those who missed [or just want to rewind] this extra special evening at Friends University, here is the link to the AV recording on "Gender Matters" courtesy of Paul Soutar at Graphic Lens ... or you can just go to YouTube and search for us under "New Symposium Society Gender Matters".

    Whatever your personal profile is, we hope you will stay in touch with New Symposium Society in 2018 and join us again in the future. And if you have some ideas to share about ways to improve our work ... just let us hear from you ... contact us at newsymposium@gmail.com.  Goodbye until our next meeting and stay tuned to our blogsite for further info.

    NSS  Suggested Readings [with links]

    Feminine Voice, NY Speech & Voice Lab, Christie Block [Speech-Language Pathologist]
    10 Gender Differences Backed Up by Science, Jen Viegas, Seeker, 2013
    Gender Differences in STEM Programs, Darcy Hango, Statistics Canada
    Is There Something Unique about the Transgender Brain?, Francine Russo, Scientific American, 2016

    Republican Men Against Women’s Rights, Fran Moreland Johns, Huffington Post, 2017
    'Equal rights' for women: wrong then, wrong now, Phyllis Schlafly, LA Times, 2007
    Mike Pence's Awful Positions on Women's Rights, Prachi Gupta, Cosmopolitan, 2016
    Has #MeToo turned into a witch hunt?, The Journal, 2018

    Constitutional Debate
    Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution:  Unfinished Business
    Should women have equal rights to men?, debate.org
    Debate Over Equal Rights Amendment, Daily Titan, Sarah Gerhard, 2013
    LGBT RIGHTS: Right or wrong?, debate.org
    Anti-Trans Bathroom Debate,  Sarah Posner, Rolling Stone, 2018
    Are LGBTQ activists ‘hijacking’ the ’60s civil rights movement?, Tim Funk, Charlotte Observer, 2017

    Religious Conduct
    Sexual Harassment in the Bible, J.L. Robb, The Omega Letter, 2017
    The Bible Says What? ‘King David was a rapist’, Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Jewish News, 2017
    Muslims Addressing Sexual Harassment Head-On, Zainab bint Younus, About Islam, 2018
    Code of Conduct, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, 2005