Little Boys Versus Little Girls: The Pendulum of Separation
February 27, 2019
Given my line of work, I see the relational damage done by distinct, detached fathers. I see the physical damage done by abusive, violent husbands. I see the emotional damage done by insensitive, selfish fathers and husbands. When I see this type of behavior, I don’t ascribe it to masculinity, I ascribe it to sin. When men act is brutish ways, they miss the mark of what God intended for them as men.
Women are not off the hook in the sin department. I have seen just as much damage done by women as I have by men. Selfishness, manipulation, apathy, and cruelty are not gender-based conditions. They are part of the human condition, which is sinful. We’re all in this together.
God made us male and female to help us understand the mystery of intimacy and community. We were made different so we would learn to appreciate how pieces can come together to form a whole. We were designed as two becoming one so we could understand the triune nature of God. Our different genders were meant to draw us closer together. Culture has used those genders to force us apart.
We live in an age where the pendulum of separation is arching over toward a dangerous conclusion. Granted, it’s swung wide due to foolishness. This foolishness was the notion that men and women were different and men were superior. This foolishness was based on a male model of the world, which said that men were inherently better than women — stronger physically, more adept intellectually, more solid emotionally. Women’s lives and behaviors needed to be monitored and guided. Being a wife was respected, being a mother was respected, but being a woman was not. This was a repugnant, chauvinistic, sexist view of women and it was right for society to reject it.
As often happens, however, in a move to distance itself from this repugnant past, society jumped onto the pendulum of feminism, thinking this would get us to a more equitable place. While the intent was noble, the method was flawed for two reasons:
- It was based on secular thought not on biblical principles.
- Feminism didn’t know when to stop.
We are now at a place in society where men are viewed with suspicion, where male criminal behavior is considered normal and male heroism is noteworthy only for its perceived singularity.
The pendulum didn’t stay in the middle for very long. Instead of society getting off at the point where men and women were acknowledged as equal but respected as different, it clung to the pendulum and just kept right on going. The different and unequal philosophy has been adopted again. But this time it is with a pernicious twist: boys and girls are now considered different with boys considered defective. As a culture, we’ve taken the misdeeds of men and begun to link the violence, insensitivity, and impulsivity that results not with a male nature out of control, but with a boy’s nature in general.
For a short while, the pendulum showed and the prevalent cultural paradigm was nature versus nurture. We reached a point of equality, where boys and girls were considered equal, the same. Of course, those observing little boys and little girls couldn’t help but point out that, even as small children, they appeared to act quite differently. When put in a room with dolls, little girls picked them up and cuddled them; little boys used them as weapons or projectiles.
This is where nature versus nurture came in. We were told that the only reason a little girl cuddled a toy while a little boy threw it was that’s what they were taught. Their nature was to act similar; they were taught by society to act differently. Now, however, there is a school of thought that says little girls cuddle toys and little boys throw them because females are inherently loving and gentle, while males are inherently insensitive and violent.
How did full-circle become so warped? There was a time when the differences between little girls and little boys was noted with a smile and a nod, instead of a pointed finger and a shake.
Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE in Edmonds, Washington, voted a top ten facility for the treatment of depression in the United States. Dr. Jantz pioneered Whole Person Care in the 1980’s and is a world-renowned expert on eating disorders, depression, anxiety, technology addiction, and abuse. He is a leading voice and innovator in Mental Health utilizing a variety of therapies including nutrition, sleep therapy, spiritual counseling, and advanced DBT techniques. Dr. Jantz is a best-selling author of 37 books and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN.
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