Different is good! God created male and female
God created males and females to be very different from each other. That’s obvious to us as Christians and to most other clear-thinking people. But to leftwing ideologues who see any recognition of difference as “inequality,” accepting such difference is a form of heresy.
For example, many feminists consider any difference between males and females to be the result of “social conditioning” – the two genders are only different, they say, because our “patriarchal” society imposes differing expectations on boys and girls. And once the government and its education system have properly imposed “equality” on society, then the differences between men and women will disappear.
In recent years, that ideological perspective has been thoroughly refuted by scientific studies of the human body. Many of these studies and their implications are summarized by psychologist and medical doctor Leonard Sax in the book Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences.
Sax is not coming to this issue from any sort of Christian or social conservative perspective. He is not opposed to homosexual behavior, and as a medical doctor he prescribes birth control to sixteen-year-old girls without their parents’ knowledge. In other words, he is not a believer, or a conservative as such. He is simply frustrated by the harmful effects of leftwing ideology on children.
When Sax was trained at university, most professors accepted the ideological view that male and female differences are socially conditioned rather than being natural and intrinsic. He refers to this view as
"the dogma of 'social constructionism,' the belief that differences between girls and boys derive exclusively from social expectations with no input from biology."
Attention Deficit Disorder?
After practicing medicine for a few years, he suddenly saw a huge increase in the number of grade 2 and 3 boys being sent to him with notes from their teachers saying they have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and needed medication. This glut of supposedly ADD boys alerted Sax to the fact that something was wrong. As it turns out, it wasn’t that the boys were ill or needed medication. It turned out that boys have a different sort of learning style than girls, and that the current method of teaching in many schools favors the female learning style. When boys have a hard time paying attention in class they are diagnosed as having ADD and given drugs to cope with that “problem.” But in most cases these boys don’t actually have a problem. They’re just not being taught the way boys need to be taught. As Sax summarizes the situation, “The failure to recognize and respect sex differences in child development has done substantial harm over the past thirty years.”
The brains of male and female humans have significant differences, especially during infancy and childhood. These differences affect the way children learn and thus are relevant when considering how they should be educated.
Girls draw nouns, boys draw verbs
Take the eye, for example. Baby girls are naturally interested in looking at faces while baby boys are more interested in looking at moving objects. According to Sax, “The reason for that difference has to do with sex differences in the anatomy of the eye.”
The anatomy of the eye is different for males and females. It is impossible for the differences to be the result of social conditioning. And these differences are significant. Sax says that,
"We’re not talking about small differences between the sexes, with lots of overlap. We’re talking about large differences between the sexes, with no overlap at all."
Such biological differences between boys and girls are reflected in a number of ways. For example, when boys and girls are given paper and crayons to draw with, the difference reflects itself in the kinds of pictures that result. Boys tend to portray movement and action more than girls. “Psychologist Donna Tuman summarizes the difference this way: girls draw nouns, boys draw verbs.”
In feminist ideology, boys and girls play with different kinds of toys because their parents give them the kinds of toys they are expected to play with. Boys get “boy toys” like balls, trains, and cars, while girls get “girl toys” like dolls, and baby carriages. The feminists argue that if the boys were given girl toys, and the girls given boy toys, the children would turn out differently – the boys would express more femininity in their play and the girls would express more masculinity in their play.
But the actual research done on children as young as nine-months-old demonstrates that boys naturally gravitate to boy toys and girls to girl toys. Their respective interest in those kinds of toys is natural, not the result of social conditioning. The feminists are wrong again.
This is how Sax summarizes the overall situation:
"Girls and boys play differently. They learn differently. They fight differently. They see the world differently. They hear differently. When I started graduate school in 1980, most psychologists were insisting that those differences came about because parents raised girls and boys in different ways. Today we know that the truth is the other way around: parents raise girls and boys differently because girls and boys are so different from birth. Girls and boys behave differently because their brains are wired differently."
This is a point that bears repeating: “The bottom line is that the brain is just organized differently in females and males.” And the organization of the brain is not something that can be conditioned by a “patriarchal” society.
Danger and violence
Sax discusses a number of other ways that boys and girls differ. One of the most interesting is their reaction to danger. Generally speaking, when a girl is confronted by danger she feels fearful. But in many cases a boy confronted with the same danger will experience a thrill. Boys often seek out dangerous activities for fun. This is less common in girls. Sax notes that, “Studies in the United States and around the world universally find that boys are more likely to engage in physically risky activities.” Boys often get enjoyment from activities that most girls want to avoid.
Boys are also less adverse to violence than girls. Much like the situation with danger, “many young boys get a thrill from violent or quasi-violent confrontation. Most young girls don’t.” This fact has educational implications because it affects the kind of literature that will interest most boys:
"Boys as young as two years of age, given a choice between violent fairy tales and warm and fuzzy fairy tales, usually choose the violent stories. Girls as young as two years of age consistently choose the warm and fuzzy stories."
Discipline and spanking
Sax has a long discussion on how girls and boys need different kinds of discipline. In his view, boys tend to need strict authoritarian discipline, which includes spanking. However, he does not believe girls respond positively to spanking and advises parents not to spank girls. This differs from the Christian view since girls are not exempt from spanking in the Bible.
However, because he does recommend spanking for boys, he spends some time defending spanking as a legitimate form of discipline. He refutes the argument that spanking leads to child abuse saying,
"Parents who love their young son and spank him only occasionally when he does something really outrageous are at no more risk of becoming child abusers than are parents who never spank."
He also points out that some countries have outlawed spanking and doing so has not decreased child abuse at all.
"Sweden, for example, passed a law in 1979 making it illegal for parents to spank their children. But a Swedish government study conducted in 1995 showed a fourfold increase in child abuse in the years following passage of the law. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the law somehow caused an increase in child abuse. But it certainly provides no support for the theory that outlawing spanking will decrease child abuse."
Sax makes another very valuable point. Children have not changed in the last few decades. They still misbehave. How is that misbehavior dealt with? In the “olden days” children were spanked. Now, rather than receiving a spanking, “these kids are instead being put on calming behavior-modifying drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and Metadate.”
Sax points out the hypocrisy of this current state of affairs: “In a bizarre turn of events, it’s become politically incorrect to spank your child, but it’s okay to drug him.” This situation is tied to a larger philosophical change. As Sax describes it,
"Fifty years ago, bad behavior was considered a disciplinary problem. If you misbehaved, you needed to be punished. Today bad behavior is more often considered a psychiatric problem. Kids who misbehave are referred to a specialist for a diagnosis – and for treatment, often with medication."
Spanking and human nature
There is an important aspect to the debate over spanking that Sax understands much better than most people. At the root of this dispute is a difference over human nature. Are humans naturally sinful or naturally good? If children are born sinful, then it stands to reason that force will be needed to direct them into positive behavior patterns. But if children are naturally good rather than sinful, then corporal punishment is never necessary. Other forms of correction are assumed to be superior and preferable.
If children are born good, as the currently dominant worldview believes, then bad behavior must be the result of bad parenting, poor nutrition, ADD, violent entertainment, or something like that. Spanking can’t solve any of those problems because they’re not the children’s fault. Instead, the children need some sort of medical treatment to deal with their misbehavior.
But as Christians we know that children are born with sinful natures. They are not born good. Thus spanking will always be needed as a form of discipline for children.
The current effort to criminalize spanking is a direct attack on the Christian doctrine of original sin. The opponents of spanking do not believe in original sin and therefore reject its implications for child discipline. Instead, they want to impose their preferred methods of child-raising (based on the assumed natural goodness of children) through government coercion.
Sax summarizes his message this way:
"Human nature is gendered to the core. Work with your child’s nature, work with your child’s innate gender-based propensities, rather than trying to reshape them according to the dictates of late-twentieth-century political correctness."
Recognizing these gender differences and taking them into account in child-raising and education is best for everyone involved, especially the children themselves.
The idea that gender differences are instilled by a patriarchal society, and can be eliminated by imposing an egalitarian society, is simply a feminist ideological fantasy. It has no basis in reality. And the efforts that are taken to enforce this fantasy are harmful to the children who become its victims.
God deliberately made males and females to be very different from each other. As the French say, vive la difference!
This was first published in the September 2015 issue under the title "Different is good! God created males and females to be very different".
When Steve wants to be called Sue
It had seemed a regular Monday morning before co-worker Steve arrived. Now his outfit had everyone buzzing: instead of his standard slacks/dress shirt...
Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews, Gender roles
Men and Women in the Church: A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction
Gender roles, Theology
Who’s Afraid of Proverbs 31?
I can still see the cartoon in my memory – she was robed in white, her nose in the air, gracing a marble pedestal under which lesser women cowered. ...
Gender roles, News, Sexuality
Netflix’s "The Baby-Sitters Club" sells transgenderism to its preteen/teen audience
From 1986 to 2000, the more than 200 Baby-Sitters Club titles sold more than 175 million copies to a target audience of teen and pre-teen girls. While God is absent from the series, the books were popular in many Christian households largely because of what else was absent: sex, vulgar language, and violence. Still, dating, death, and divorce were recurring topics, and always addressed from an entirely secular perspective. That’s why this was not a series to overindulge in; it was mostly inoffensive but also mostly empty calories. In contrast, the Netflix version is poison. The kids are as sweet as ever but now the adults include several gay couplings. There is passing mention made about adult topics like The Handmaid's Tale, a menstruation sculptor, painting nude models. and the dating site Tinder. Then, in the fourth episode, Dawn teaches her friend Mary Anne that just like Mary Anne is right-handed and it would be weird to be forced to act left-handed, some boys know they are girls…and it would be just as weird to try to make them act like boys. Mary Anne takes this to heart, and when a doctor and nurse refer to the boy she is babysitting as a he, she asks them to stop this “misgendering” because he wants to be known as a girl. These exchanges are troubling because of just how compelling they are. Dawn comes off as super cool – she dresses sharp, and talks with confidence. Mary Anne, in her confrontation with the nurse and doctor, is polite but firm – she displays the sort of courage we would love our kids to exhibit too. So this defense of transgenderism is…winsome. It’s only when we consider what Mary Anne is politely and courageous arguing for that we understand just how wicked this is: Mary Anne is encouraging the boy, Bailey, to embrace his delusion, she’s pushing him down a path to sterilizing drugs and surgeries that will cut off healthy body parts. Hers is a “love” that leads to disfigurement (Prov. 12:10b). But that’s not how the show’s target teen audience is going to see it. The Baby-Sitters Club is only the latest children’s book series to get an LGBT makeover. PBS’s 2020 season of Clifford the Big Red Dog now has a recurring homosexual couple, and back in 2019, their Arthur series featured a homosexual “wedding.” Sesame Street will feature the cross-dressing Billy Porter wearing his tuxedo dress in an upcoming episode. Amazon’s Pete the Cat and Bug Diaries – both animated features aimed at the very youngest viewers – feature characters with two mommies or two daddies. And on both TV and in the comics, homosexuality has also become a part of the Riverdale/Archie Andrews universe. Parents already know the TV doesn’t make for a good babysitter. But whereas in the past it was more an utter waste of time, now it’s eager to teach our children that wrong is right. If you have teenagers it might be worth reading Genesis 1:27, or Mark 10:6, then watching the clip below, and discussing the techniques Netflix is using to obscure and deny God’s Truth about sex and gender. When Bailey comes down with a fever, Mary Anne rushes her to the hospital, where two doctors misgender her. Mary Anne firmly corrects them. Misgendering is traumatic. This is one of the baseline ways cisgender people can show up for the trans people in their life pic.twitter.com/EyrenC5QDK — Netflix (@netflix) July 23, 2020 ...
Christian education - Sports, Gender roles
Daughters in sports
Women and men are different, so they should play differently **** I promised in a previous column that I would address the touchy subject of daughters playing in sports, and so I guess I can't get out of it now. It is all fine and good for sons to be subjected to the discipline and competition of sports, but what about our daughters? Is it healthy for them to be competing? Here is my decided take on it: it all depends. We are not raising our daughters to be "fighters" the same way we are with our sons. At the same time, self-discipline and godly determination are great qualities for women to have. Daughters can learn a lot from sports. They can benefit from learning to push themselves, to work hard, and to be part of a team. Besides, physical activity has benefits for everyone. Women can enjoy the thrill of the race or the game like anyone else. Still, we have to look at sports for our daughters a little differently than we do for our sons. Women shouldn't be men, and vice versa The goal we have in mind in raising sons is to inculcate masculinity. And we want our daughters to embrace a godly femininity, not a worldly feminism. So when parents consider sports for their daughters, they ought to be thinking about whether her participation will help develop or hinder her. Some sports are so completely masculine that young women shouldn't even think about participating. These certainly include football, boxing, baseball, and hockey. And it is just plain pitiful to see a woman force herself onto a male team just to cause a stink and force the boys to play with her. This is just a sad attempt for attention. Once when my son played football for a government high school (while he attended a local Christian school), the other team had a girl suited up and standing on the sidelines. My husband told my son, "If she gets out on the field, don't go near her, and don't tackle her. Just stand out of her way." Tackling is no way to treat a lady, even if she is refusing to act like one. But the next important thing to consider is what kind of program is available. For example, volleyball can be a great sport for girls. But if the program is bent on treating the girls like they are boys, and they are encouraging the girls to act like boys, then I wouldn’t want my daughters participating. But if the coaches are teaching girls to play well and to play like ladies, it can be a great experience. The same is true of basketball, softball, soccer, or track. If the girls are trying to act tough and masculine, it is deadly. But if they are enjoying the game and learning to work as a team, this can be working with the grain, teaching them to be feminine and beautiful as they handle the ball or hit it over the net. When our daughter played basketball for her Christian school, the team all wore blue ribbons in their hair as a feminine statement that they were not trying to act or look or play like boys. And they were good. They didn’t trash talk or play dirty. They were taught to play like Christian women. Positive character traits So if the sport itself is not masculine in nature, and if the program is deliberately striving to promote feminine virtue, then it can be a great blessing to young girls. But there are still pitfalls. Boys need to get hit and learn to take it, but girls need security and love. When insecure girls play sports, they are more susceptible to the temptations to try to become masculine. They may be looking for attention and affirmation from the sport when they really need it from their dads and their moms. They may “feel” unfeminine, so they gravitate to sports where they don’t have to be feminine. This means that wise parents will closely monitor their daughters while they participate in sports. And if they begin to show signs of becoming “macho” or unfeminine, they should consider pulling them out. I have seen the discipline of sports teach girls to be better stewards of their time, thus causing their studies to improve. Some exposure to sports can give our daughters confidence and make them “well-rounded” in their education. My daughter especially recommends volleyball for Christian girls because it is a team sport that can include lots of people, of all ages, and is a great activity for church picnics. And team sports are revealing when it comes to testing a daughter’s character. She has to think fast, look out for others, follow directions, and develop skill. This is all good, and none of this is contrary to a biblical femininity. Uniforms Of course I have to say something about uniforms and modesty. Christians ought to insist on dressing modestly. That means we shouldn’t be wearing tank tops with huge armholes and sports bras underneath. Neither should they be wearing what are called butt-huggers. It doesn’t matter if the other team is wearing skimpy outfits. Christians ought to refuse to participate in a sport where they will have to compromise in this area. A girls’ team can be dressed appropriately and modestly, even if it is no longer “cool” to do so. And this doesn’t mean wearing knee-length culottes, (or any length culottes for that matter). Volleyball and track teams are now wearing virtual swimsuits as uniforms, and it just isn’t necessary. You can’t tell me that they really can play better or run faster in less clothing. It’s about making the slower women’s sports more interesting to watch. Male volleyball players don’t seem too hampered by actual shorts. Sports are not evil in themselves. But bad coaches can make for a miserable experience. If your daughter is in a sport, know the coaches, be at the games, and know how your daughter is doing. She certainly shouldn’t be forced into playing a sport if she isn’t inclined to do so. But if she wants to play, parents ought not hinder her for the wrong reasons. Questions for discussion There is one line in this article that upset many readers: "When our daughter played basketball for her Christian school, the team all wore blue ribbons in their hair as a feminine statement that they were not trying to act or look or play like boys." It struck some as demeaning, elevating how a girl looks (how pretty!) over how a girl performs. But is that the author's point? If the girls themselves had made this decision, would it still be demeaning? Or courageous? Why? Our worth comes from being made in God's Image (Gen. 1:26-28, Gen. 9:6). The world rejects Him, and instead grounds our worth on our abilities. That's why abortion and euthanasia are permissible because the lives of the less able unborn and elderly are deemed as being less valuable. This "abilities-based worth" is also why the world pushes women into understandably male-dominated roles like soldiers or firefighters. They pretend women can do these jobs just as well as men, because to acknowledge otherwise would be to say that women weren't as valuable as men – this godless understanding of our value pushes women to seek their value by acting like men. In the sports world that has led to girls trying out for high school football teams, and it's now controversial to object. When we recognize that men and women get their worth, not from what we can do, but from Whose Image we reflect, should it still be controversial to say there are sports that women shouldn’t play that men can play? Do you agree with the author's list of football, boxing, baseball, and hockey? What ones do you disagree with and agree with? Why? What are differences between "godly femininity" and the world's feminism? The author gives several examples of how women can be feminine in sports. If you don't like these examples, can you think of other ways girls can be feminine while playing sports? What is the author’s main point? Do you agree? The world says that men and women are not different, and certainly haven't been called to different roles. Meanwhile, God's people know that He has not only given men and women different roles but also made them different in some notable ways. But are the genders' differences something that has implications for the sports field? Do any of our Christian school sport programs encourage girls to act masculine? If so, how so, and what could be changed? Reprinted with permission from Credenda/Agenda, Volume 16/1 published by Canon Press (www.canonpress.com)....
Gender roles, Theology
No, complementarianism is not inherently misogynistic
Complementarianism is the belief that God made male and female different and gave them different but complementary roles in the Church and in marriage. It is also understood as the opposite of egalitarianism, which, aside from acknowledging the obvious reproductive differences, holds that God hasn’t given men and women different roles in the Church or in marriage. Egalitarians will sometimes accuse the complementarian position of being inherently misogynistic. They say, if men are told they are to lead in their marriages and in Church as well, that will puff them up, and get them thinking women are inferior, and then men will feel free to lord it over and even abuse women. Dr. Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. is shown presenting this argument in the recent By What Standard? documentary where he puts it this way: “This whole sexual abuse scandal thing is a judgment of God on Southern Baptists, because once you devalue a woman to say she cannot preach on the Lord’s Day…you are telling men it is okay to abuse her, like has been documented.” I was struck by the irony of this accusation coming from a pastor. Wouldn’t this same line of reasoning argue against leadership of any kind? If you put a pastor up on a pulpit and tell him he can preach but his parishioners do not have that same calling, then won’t that get him devaluing his parishioners such that the pastor will feel free to lord it over, and even spiritually abuse, them? It only follows, right? Our example of leadership Or might there be a way for someone called to a leadership role to be able to lead without abusing followers? In her Dec. 10 Christianity Today article, "What if I'm not the 'submissive' type?" Rebecca McLaughlin shows how the male leadership God’s prescribes is the very opposite of misogyny. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). How did Christ love the church? By dying on a cross; by giving himself, naked and bleeding, to suffer for her; by putting her needs above his own; by sacrificing everything for her. I asked myself how I would feel if this were the command to wives. Ephesians 5:22 is sometimes critiqued as a mandate for spousal abuse. Tragically, it has been misused that way. But the command to husbands makes that reading impossible. How much more easily could an abuser twist a verse calling his wife to suffer for him, to give herself up for him, to die for him? Our example of submission Just as complementarian leadership is nothing like how egalitarians portray it, so too complementarian submission isn’t what it has been made out to be. On the January 2nd episode of the What Have You podcast, Rachel Jankovic addressed submission, and while she did so in the context of feminism, her point is equally applicable to egalitarianism. Jankovic said: “The central heresy of feminism is to believe that submission equal inferiority. We believe that Jesus submitted his will to the Father’s without becoming less than God. it is actually really important that we believe obedience and submission do not mean inferiority.” The leadership husbands and elders are called to is not the dominating, power-corrupts "leadership" of the world, but the dying-for-his-bride servant-leadership of Christ (Luke 22:25–26). And the submission that wives are called to does not make them any less the Image of God than their husbands (Gen. 1:27). Just as Jesus’s submission to his Father's didn’t diminish Him, so too our own submission – whether as a wife to her husband (Eph 5:22) or a congregation to our spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:17) – isn't about inferiority. It is, instead, an opportunity to imitate Christ! Whether men or women, pastors or parishioners, we are all called to submit to the will of our Father. So why would any Christians think submission is inherently bad?...
Gender roles, Humor
#chairchallenge highlights male/female divide
We live in a curious age in which the self-evident isn’t. So if you have a friend muddled about whether men and women are different, here’s some help. It’s the #chairchallenge already making its way around the Internet, and while women can do it, men can’t. What’s involved? One easy-to-lift chair, one wall, plus at least one male and one female participant, both ideally wearing shoes. Stand facing the wall, toes touching it, and then move back two footsteps (not paces – just the length of your own feet). You should now be standing two full foot lengths away from the wall. Place a chair under you touching the wall (or have someone else do it). Bend forward over the chair at a roughly 90-degree angle and lean the top of your head against the wall. Grab the chair by its seat and raise it to your chest. Then, stand up! That’s all there is to it! We tested this out at our house, and I found while I could almost, sort of, kind of do it in my socks, there was no way once I had shoes on, as that brought me just a smidgeon further away from the wall. Meanwhile, my wife did it with ease. So why the consistent results? A number of possible explanations have been offered: Men generally have larger feet, putting them further from the wall. Women generally have a lower relative center meaning more of their weight is over their feet making it easier to move off the wall. Women are generally more flexible than men, making it easier for them to shift the center of mass. Whatever the reason, a sharp male/female divide is evident and that makes this not only a funny experiment to try, but also an important one. God says we are created male and female (Genesis 2:17) and for different roles (Ephesians 5:22-33). Our rebellious world dares insist the opposite: infinite genders, no notable differences between them. Now we’ve got an experiment that makes the self-evident obvious again. ...
Christian education - Sports, Gender roles
Boys and sports
Why moms should want their sons breaking tackles and snagging rebounds **** Yes, you read the header right. I really am writing a column about why s...