Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mature Masculinity and Femininity


Have a read of these two statements--

  • At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man's differing relationships.

  • At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman's differing relationships.

They are from a little book I'm reading, which I'll post more on soon. But without worrying about who wrote it, or when and why, what are your initial reactions? Do you agree? Have reservations? Find these definitions irksome?

18 comments:

pedro said...

"in ways appropriate to a man's differing relationships."
What does that mean??
What century is this book from Bro?!
Irksome?
No just antiquated and chauvinistic.

Crazyjedidiah said...

I do agree this. We have been looking at Genesis in Bible study this year. One of the things we looked at was that we were created to be in relationship with each other as well as with the rest of creation. Males and Females are physically different and we cannot do all of the same things because of this. Physically therefore we have been to complement each other.
This carries across to our sense of self, we all know that male and female brains work differently this demonstrates our differing roles in relationships which also complement each other. Because we have different strengths we therefore have different roles within these relationships.
In Bible study we were saying that these ideas were basically for the marriage relationship and other relationships are different.

Belle said...

No, I don't agree. What is it about men that inherently makes them the leaders/providers/protectors, and women that makes them the ones so needy of that leadership/provision/protection?

Perhaps a better definition would collapse both: Maturity (for any gender) is the wisdom to know how and when to lead, provide for, protect, affirm, nurture, receive in any given circumstance.

I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess that the author of this book reckons this is exactly what the Bible teaches...

pedro said...

Well said Belle...
If you ask me, Women are proving themselves on a lot of occassions to be BETTER leaders and bloody good providers.

Belle said...

P.S. Thanks for starting this conversation, it'll be an interesting one!

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks for your oppinions guys. I hope we can continue a bit of a discussion as I post more about the book. I think it's great to share differing oppinions, I just ask that i doesn't get personal or overlly angsty, otherwise people will be too hesitant to chime in.

A couple of thoughts I have on the comments above-

*I don't think WHEN the book was written has to have that much significance. Just because something's old doesn't neccessarily make it obseolete. Plenty of newer stuff is being written, but that doesn't make that stuff right because it's newer.

*I agree that the man/ woman design in marriage is not the same as how a man and woman should act in other relationships. (ie, a woman doesn't have to take leadership from some random bloke, just because he is male).

* I don't think it's enough to make a definition to encapsulate both sexes. There are differences between the sexes- very many differences. Lumping them together will make the definition too broad, and not specific enough to give enough guidance.

I'm still trying to work out my own stance, but I hope this book will help, as well as discussing with you guys.

onlinesoph said...

I'm not sure. While I understand the sentiment behind the statements and find a lot to agree with, I don't think they are entirely biblical.


The Bible tells men to love their wives, not lead their wives. I was say at the heart of mature masculinity is loving headship, not "leadership". Love - it's a little word that has been omitted from the
definition, but a significant one.

pedro said...

"(ie, a woman doesn't have to take leadership from some random bloke, just because he is male)."

Does that mean you are happy with the concept of a women taking leadership from her husband?
What if he is a derro? Should she just be quiet and suffer?
How does these definitions offer guidance?
Shouldn't men who need guidance, be looking a little deeper than a definition in a book?!?!

'When' the stuff was written is a point of interest because so many ideas and beliefs in the past just don't have a real place in modern society. Thats all mate.
Women not voting.
No black man on the bus.
Homosexuals are sinners.
All that jazz.


Discuss.

Gary Ware said...

The phrase 'at the heart' skews things.
Both of these descriptors are positive enough in themselves, and, as other commenters have alluded to (I think) could apply to the other gender.
The fact that in these 'at the heart' expressions the male one seems to be couched in 'they do this' and the the female one is 'they encourage men to do that' points to the need to do a bit more work.
These sorts of definitions could arise in any sort of pop culture self help book, btw.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Soph, you make a good point about the omission of 'love'. I think it's implied, but I agree it could be more blatant.

Pedro-

Does that mean you are happy with the concept of a women taking leadership from her husband?

Yeah, though we may be picturing leadership, or headship to mean different things.

What if he is a derro?

the female statement specifies "from worthy men".

Gary- I agree the definitions may need more work, though I'll have to read on and see how they get fleshed out first.

pedro said...

Whats the book bro?
Sounds like these definitions might need a bit of polishing that just won't make any difference?
Blood froma stone and all that.
If they are not spot on, why bother chasing the origins etc?

What do YOU see those words meaning?

Belle said...

In response to your response earlier, Ben, I'm not sure that guidance needs to come in specific-to-gender form. Jesus never mentions working out what it means to be a man or a woman before following him, or even after, as a way to work out how to live. I think love (as Soph touched on) is a good and practical guide, and it applies to everyone. And Jesus was big on it...

In regards to gender differences, I agree that there are many differences between the sexes; there are also many differences within the sexes (more, I've heard the research suggests), so I'm not sure how helpful the division is, even (especially?) for guidance's sake.

Belle said...

Another P.S. Is the book specifically about marriage, because these definitions do seem to be saying that all "maturely masculine" men everywhere should lead, and all "maturely feminine" women everywhere should accept their leadership.

Laetitia :-) said...

My first reaction is to say that it was written by a man...but then I have seen your next post.

On a quick read of those snippets I agree with Pedro that the "appropriate to a man's / woman's differing relationships" bit is fairly meaningless - one needs context.

These definitions also suffer from circular referencing - effectively defining masculinity in terms of how it's not femininity / how it relates to women but then defining femininity in terms of how it's not masculinity / how it relates to men is like saying an apple is not an orange and an orange is not an apple. There needs to be an outside reference e.g. an orange is a spherical fruit with a juicy, pulpy centre; an apple is a fruit with a crunchy texture and an edible skin.

To my mind these definitions also conjure images of the proverbial damsel in distress on the railway tracks waiting for a knight on a white horse to rescue her rather than learning to untie knots.

And while a majority of men may have an instinct to provide and a majority of women may have an instinct to nurture, I'm not sure that the things these instincts are about are leadership, strength or provision.

Laetitia :-) said...

Sorry - that last line should be "leadership, strength or protection".

Oh, and your font is mad - what's meant to be a smiley face after my name comes out as quite warped.

simone r said...

I've come across these before. I'm good with the bible assigning somewhat different roles in marriage to men and women, but I think that Piper develops it a lot more than the bible writers do.

onlinesoph said...

I'm with Simone.

Stuart Heath said...

I think gender is an important part of our make-up, and that there's difference in gender. You can't just say all things of men that you can say of women, and vice versa.

(And so, for example, a government governs over men and women and boys and girls, not just 'people' in some undifferentiated sense. And, picking up on Belle's comment, I don't think it makes sense to say that Jesus might call a 'person' before they're a man or a woman or boy or girl — it's not a separable nor insignificant part of who we are.)

But I don't think these definitions capture this particularly well, for similar reasons to some other commenters :) I've not read the book; perhaps the context would make the definitions better (or worse).