Comments from readers of this blog are often better than the posts which prompt them. This morning I call our good readers' attention to two such comments from the past week. Joseph Bayly, Tim's son and a student at the Reformed Evangelical Pastor's College, wrote this response to a comment disputing fundamental distinctions between the sexes on the Bishop N. T. Wright, feminized discourse, and "hedging"... post.
Imagine a woman who looks beautiful, smells faintly of roses, and has a contagious giggle which comes out only at perfectly appropriate times.
Now imagine her taking her body and making it look as much like a man's body as possible, finishing by buzzing her beautiful brown hair into a mohawk, and putting on men's clothes. She works out regularly without washing her clothes, so she smells bad, and she starts chuckling obscenely instead of giggling appropriately. She hardens herself against the world
In short, we have masculinized her. Continuing on her laugh, we find that she has changed the way she communicates with people as well. She is no longer sweet and proper, but vulgar, harsh, and rude. She is rough with those she comes in contact with and she has relationships only with those she can dominate.
Has she become a man? No. Masculine? Yes, in some twisted way. Does she know what it means to be a man? No. Is it an offense against men to say that she is masculine and that it is ugly and bad? No, we are not attacking men by saying that. Nor am I attacking women when I say that a man has become feminine in his communication, and that hence his communication is twisted, sick, and wrong. A man who takes on these feminine characteristics has no idea it really means to be feminine. He has made himself into a sickly impostor.
I think this is what we have seen with men and communication. We have taken on certain characteristics of women, but in so doing, we have twisted those characteristics. Archie is right in saying that context matters.
In another post on this blog somebody asked what it means to "act like a man." He wondered whether it was just a pretence, or whether it was simply a set of actions. Our pretend woman has shown what simply following a set of actions is likely to produce. And only women can "pretend" to be men in my mind. Below you will find part of my response to his question.
I'd say neither "pretend" or "do things men do" is quite right. It's saying men should do the things men were created to do. It isn't that we are pretending to be men. As you already pointed out, we are men, and there is no need to pretend. Nor is it simply saying to do what men do though. If it was, today that would mean I would have to be either a mook (see a definition here) or a "momma's boy". (For a variation on this theme see this article on wimps and barbarians.)
Instead, it is calling us to do the things that men ought to do. If you look at the instructions for men and women in 1 Timothy you get the idea that there are certain things that men are called to do and certain things that women are called to do. The problem is that our culture is training us into a false dichotomy. Either men are to be brutes, or better yet, they are to be women. We are taught to value men who have the character traits that women are called to have in the Bible. And this is accomplished starting at the age of 2 by giving boys dolls instead of trucks. It is accomplished at the age of 12 by discouraging boys from keeping score during the soccer game they are playing.
It is accomplished at the age of 16 by encouraging boys to develop their gift of singing by leaving him under the "best voice teacher around" who just happens to shake your hand with a limp wrist and speak with a slight lisp.. . It is accomplished at the age of 40 by expecting a father to have no interest in or interaction with his children.
Like it or not, our culture is encouraging us boys to be girls, and we have to conteract that by searching out what it means to act like a man.
Posted by: Joseph at March 24, 2006 05:05 PM