Back again from Monday …

This is somewhat related to my mini-rant about the divisive lines drawn between what men need vs what women need. On Monday, I came across several articles and blog posts that helped me continue to drive that stake further in the ground.

Let me clarify that I am not making the argument that men and women are exactly the same. It’s simply not true. There does seem to be some overwhelming distinctions between most women and most men. I also don’t make the argument that all women can be defined by certain traits and all men can be defined by others. But when we speak of needs, there just seems to be more of a commonality. My gripe with books that draw a polarizing line between the genders and say that males need this and females need something else is that I believe there is no hard evidence to support the claims. Many times, the books are based on interviews, polls, etc. I am concerned that it is culturally effected people who are answering those questions. I myself was convinced of what I supposedly needed by my culture, by my church, my Christian authors and it caused incredible discontent if I didn’t get what I needed. Maybe the same could be said for my husband.

Let’s get on to the blog posts and articles that I wanted to share with you today.

It all started at Grace’s Blog where I clicked on a link on her sidebar which led me to

Mars and Venus ARE just Planets, Aren’t They?

I was a bit put off with the first paragraph stating that she was bored with the egalitarianism vs. complementarianism conversation, that it held little interest outside of the church and that the argument seems to have been settled in society at large. Maria, however, moves on to recognize the complexity of the gender stereotypes and how they affect us. Beth makes a good point in the comments that society still has a long way to go in agreement about gender equality, in theory and in practice.

From Spiritual Birdwatching, I then moved on to Jonnybakers blog to read a post with some thoughts from his wife about What Women Want. Jenny writes a thorough review of Deborah Cameron’s book, The Myth of Mars and Venus.

Here’s one interesting tidbit regarding lack of research to back up gender difference claims.

The belief that women talk more than men, for example, was boosted by a book called The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine which claimed that women utter 20,000 words a day while men utter 7,000. The claim got huge publicity because it made great soundbite science, but was not based on any actual research. When the author was challenged to reveal her sources, she admitted that there was no evidence for the claim and withdrew the statistic from subsequent editions of the book. But in terms of perpetuating myths, the damage has been done and the ‘fact’ of women’s talkativeness has entered our common mythology.

Then there is Jenny’s article, Rediscoving Heart.

The entire article is good; Read it. I found it difficult to find a small piece to quote here to whet your appetite but here we go:

From the creation accounts, we try to tease out what God originally intended for men and women. After God created Adam, he saw the first thing in his creation that was not good, the fact that Adam was on his own. And so he created woman, a counterpart to Adam, to work with him to fulfil the cultural mandate. Together they are to accomplish what neither of them would be able to do on their own. Genesis 1 and 2 offer us a vision of complementarity, partnership and a difference between the genders that means they complete each other when they walk in relationship with God.

But after creation comes the fall, and the consequences of Eve’s and Adam’s disobedience ripple out across the whole of creation. A relationship of equals is marred by competition, a scrabbling for domination and control and a separation of the tasks of humanity. As God describes the effects of their actions, we hear that the impact of the fall for Eve will predominantly be played out in terms of relationships and family life; for Adam the consequences are seen in work and the environment. The mandate meant to be worked out in partnership is divided as a result of the fall.

But that is not where we are called to live as followers of Christ. We are to seek first the kingdom of God, to establish God’s reign in every part of our lives, including relationships between men and women. Instead of settling for the gender status quo, we need to fight for the complementarity and partnership that God offered us as gifts, but that we so quickly threw back in God’s face.

What does it say about me that I come down to the end of this and feel the need to defend my focus on gender equality? So many years, I listened to the fear mongering teachings that feminists were evil, hateful women who wanted to eliminate masculinity. It came from outside the church and from within. Seriously, feminist was the “F” word. It’s why my friend and I would say, “I’m not going down that road.”

But here we are. it is a issue that is very close to my heart and not only about gender equality in the church but as a focus of social justice in this world. My heart breaks for how women are exploited and used. Some of it is by force; some of it is by cultural conditioning to the point, that women will submit to being used and abused and not even realize they have been robbed of their very being.

I could go on and on. There are many of great conversations going on in the blogs that I read. I will post more later, I am sure. Now, there are other things here calling for my attention.

~~Grace and Peace~~

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