Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

Where to Draw the Line (Anne Katherine, 2000) [2009-08-08]

Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day by Anne Katherine

This wasn't particularly an epiphany book, but it did find it useful for articulating and reminding me of things I already kind of knew -- though by about halfway through I was less into it.

(I also feel like most/many situations aren't as clear-cut as the examples the author gives, but I recognize that they're intended to provide models.)

I really liked the idea about boundaries as being like cell membranes -- keeping some things out and letting some things in, in a healthy and balanced fashion.

I also really liked the idea that we should structure our lives based on what WE value, not on what other people think we should value.

I found the chapter on Making Amends helpful with its reminder to be really attentive to the harm you have done to the other person and making amends in kind.

One interesting thing: the author talks about nicknaming someone against their express wishes as a boundary violation.

Chapter 7 opens with a story about Jeff and his partner Tony.  Aww, I see what you did there :)

A bunch of the later chapters are excessively heteronormative, though.

The author talks a lot abut gender boundaries (and how these get enacted at a cultural level), but doesn't talk at all about how people are and have been historically marginalized due to being members of other categories (like being non-White in White society, for example).
Oh, and for extra bonus points, the author doesn't use generic pronouns much, but while she does use "they" at least once, she also uses "he" at least once and never "she."

I also really really hated the gratuitous endorsement of, if I'm understanding the author correctly (so points off also for obliqueness), Three Strikes Laws at the end of Chapter 9 ("Today, three or more women must be raped before a rapist loses his hunting privileges," etc.).

The names of people in the case studies include names clearly marked as non-White, which I appreciated.  Though some of the ways the author talks about cultures other than her own felt excessively Othering.

I am almost inarticulate at the fail of the Spiritual Boundaries chapter.  It's well-meaning, but it's seemingly-obliviously rooted in a certain brand of liberal Christianity.
The author's examples of stories about God were all from the Christian Bible, and okay fine that's your tradition, but it comes across rather exclusionary -- plus I disagreed somewhat with her interpretation of Christianity (contrary to the author's statements, God is in fact reported to interfere in free will, see "hardening Pharaoh's heart," for example).
Also, the author consistently refers to God as He :(  I was more okay with the taking for granted of having/valuing a spiritual journey and there being a Most High you are trying to connect with, because I feel like the fact that you are reading the Spiritual Boundaries chapter implies that you are not an atheist -- and at the end of the chapter the author suggests ways to politely tell someone who's trying to convert you to leave you alone, which either work if you're an atheist or can be adjusted slightly to so work.  (I will also note the irony that many of the suggested responses are sarcastic, given that elsewhere in the book the author cautions against sarcasm -- since sarcasm is not conducive to healthy, mutual conversation.)
I also disagree that the statement "My religion is the only true religion" is an inherently boundary-violating statement.  I think you can believe that statement and both articulate and embody it in ways that don't violate people who do not believe in your religion.
Tags: books: read, issues: race, issues: religion, issues: representation, religion: christianity

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