My husband showed me an article last week from the Wall Street Journal he thought I would find very interesting. It was an interview with self-described “notorious Amazon feminist” Camille Paglia who boldly declared that ignoring the biological differences between men and women risks undermining Western civilization, leading to its collapse. According to Ms. Paglia, men and women need to be honest about the role biology plays to make them different. In this case, we conservatives who represent the “right” can agree with someone who represents the “left.” Humans are “male and female” not neuters.
The interesting thing is that I was in a recent discussion about this very issue with a bunch of young moms. Are boys and girls born different? Or, are the differences in how girls and boys behave mainly due to differences in how they are treated by their parents, teachers, and friends?
Before delving into research or observation, we can start with what God has to say. In the beginning, Genesis 1:26-27 clearly tells us that God created male and female—distinction by design. So, if that is true, there should be genetic differences besides the physically obvious. Right?
According to Dr. Leonard Sax in Why Gender Matters, an avalanche of research over the past twenty years has shown that sex differences are real, biologically programmed, and important to how children are raised, disciplined, and educated. Dr. Sax lists genetic differences in hearing, brain tissue, and even in the thicknesses of the retinas of their eyes. Boys and girls respond to discipline differently as well as to stress and risk-taking. They even interpret facial expressions differently.
Anyone who has raised both boys and girls could certainly recognize this and can probably add a lot more to the list. I am convinced that boys come out of the womb knowing how to make the sound of a truck. At least, I noticed that about our son who could imitate a truck before he could say “dada” or “mama.” Our 2 daughters didn’t even bother to make those sounds.
Dr. Sax also points out that parents and teachers would do better to recognize, understand, and make use of the biological differences that make a girl a girl, and a boy a boy. Ms. Paglia would agree with that. She says that primary schools often create a toxic environment for anyone with physical energy, especially boys, when they cut out recess. She thinks primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters. And, I have noticed that television shows, and especially commercials, seem to go out of their way to present men as weak imbeciles and fools while women are the smart and strong ones. Even my favorite BBC show Downton Abbey touches on this. The one male presented as strong and wise died at the end of last season.
As Ms. Paglia bemoans in the interview, “Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America’s brawny industrial base, leaves many men with ‘no models of manhood’ so that masculinity is becoming something that is imitated from the movies.” Thankfully, some male Christian leaders have been trying to reverse the trend, for example Robert Lewis’s “Authentic Manhood” series.
I am grateful for godly men who have been manly mentors for our son, including my husband, in showing him how to be the male God created him to be. And, I hope the pendulum will swing back to the middle so that the academics and political leaders in our culture will recognize that males and females ARE different, and encouraging the best of those differences will benefit our society.
Old Testament Men Bible Study (read online)
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