Church magazines

Let me let you in on a secret. I have a passion. Yes, it is true. I have a passion, and not just any old passion. My passion is for church magazines. It is a passion borne out of fascination, and a love of communication, and a desire for good design with plenty white space, and probably a desire for mission too.  Good church magazines are a joy to find and get me terribly excited. Bad magazines make me very, very sad.

My congregation know of my love for church magazines so whenever they are on holiday they bring me some back.  I have noticed over the years that our American sisters and brothers go for things in a big, big way. Blimey! Even their pew sheets run to several colour A4 sheets with music.

My eye was caught by an insert in one such recent magazine from the USA.  It was an A4 page advertising ‘American Girl Camp’ and there was a pretty colour picture of two dolls dressed in Victorian dresses.  The theme of the camp this year is ‘Building Character Through History’. So far, so good-ish. It continues ‘for girls from 1st grade through 5th grade’.  And then …. *shudders*… ‘Daily sessions include history, reading, writing, crafts and sewing, music, cooking, and games. All of these activities reflect periods of American History. The class will participate in a Mother-Daughter tea party on the last day…’

By now my feminist un-shaved hairs are bristling.  Bristling, dear sisters and brothers, with the thought of the horror which is American Girl Camp. Sewing and cooking?  Presumably they’ve to take their own apron. Aagghh. And what about poor old Dad?  Let’s hope there are no single dads out there being excluded from the old tea party. What is it about America that this happens?  I mean, it would never ever happen here, right?

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17 thoughts on “Church magazines

  1. Am bristling with you, Ruth. It is the sort of camp I would never have signed up for, and the thought of it being seen as appropriate for 2010 is very sad.

  2. At least it sounds healthier than the “pageants” they seem to go in for in the US where the competition seems to be which preschooler looks most like a prostitute.

    Sewing and cooking would be better at a Boy Scout camp, methinks.

  3. The Summer Camp I remember of my teens involved canoing, hill walking and sailing, up at Nethy Bridge. Not a needle, thread or a mixing bowl to be seen.

  4. Games? Games??
    Sewing? Cooking?
    Do I look like a woman who ever did Games, sewed or cooked? I think not. This is a gay man’s fantasy camp, I reckon.

  5. Cooking and sewing are good – it is excellent to retain traditional female crafts. Every person needs to know how to cook. Most benefit from sewing. There is nothing wrong with expressing creativity through traditional crafts, even traditional female ones. What is lacking here is balance. It is what is not here – tracking, fence-making, zip-slide, bivouacking for example – that makes it offensive. OK the zip-slide is not part of women’s history – the rest are. It is the nostalgic take on history which suppresses parts of that is offensive.

  6. sounds like a week at the Provincial GlenAlmond Youth Camp would give a balance- where most of those things are done and the outdoors stuff- for both boys and girls!

  7. Sarah, you’ve hit the nail on the head. In themselves they are not such bad activities PROVIDED they are done by both sexes. Right on Glen10!

  8. Amen to (most of) the above – but I merely wish to add that I still have in my possession a magazine of which, in another galaxy long ago, you were the editor. So There!

  9. Oh dear. I’m about to be very American.

    Most camps are divided by gender at that age, so I wouldn’t make much of that. There are also hundreds and hundreds of specialist camps to choose from. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the kids at the History Camp this year were at the Science Camp next year, and at a kayaking camp the year after that.

    America is also very good at ‘living museums’ — hands on interactive stuff that gets you inside a particular era. This camp might just be an extension of that. And if so, I could imagine that an afternoon session on ‘cross stitch samplers’ might be followed by an evening session on ‘finding your voice with Sojourner Truth’.

    It could also be sinister sexist propaganda, of course. The mother-daughter tea-party does sound suspect, even to me.

  10. OK, I hear you Kimberly. But when you say ‘most camps are divided by gender at that age’ you seem to accept that this is okay. Is it really?

  11. I have absolutely no issue with 5-10 year-olds spending a week or two of the summer with their own gender (neither do I have an issue with mixed gender camps). But I’d expect the leaders of any camp to be of mixed gender.

  12. I was thinking the mother/daughter tea bit was probably the best. In my experience the father/daughter bond is very good – its the mother/daughter bit that needs work, sometimes all your (her) life.

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