The gender separation

I’m afraid I have failed you, my readers. After a post that was quite emotional I wanted to work on something less demanding, so I promised you some “light writing.” I started the next post light enough, but before I came to the end, I was well into a discussion about Bible translations. The latest version in Norwegian has been accused of being too politically correct, and that could of course be serious. So it would appear that I failed miserably. I am sorry! I will of course endeavour to improve my character, and not mislead you again.

Some of you may have noticed that I tend to focus on the same topic for a short while, and during that period I obsess a little on the same idea. After last time I don’t know if I should make any promises, but I believe this will be the last feminist post for now (I also said last year that I was done with feminism).

We just had the International Women’s Liberation Day. This is a puzzling day to me. There’s a lot of hate on both sides, and restoring some sort of normality seems impossible. It might be a good place to start to stop listening to the aggressive feminists.

While doing research for one of the previous posts on feminism I came across a comment written by a man who said he had always identified as a feminist, which is almost a natural consequence of growing up in a left-wing milieu, as he did. This comment was his farewell to modern feminism. The final straw came after he suggested a slogan demanding the same rights for women running from trafficking and patriarchal societies as for political refugees. One of the women feminists encouraged her fellow sisters to ignore this, and not be deceived by this digression from a member of the patriarchy (I’m not trying to make fun of anyone, but sometimes they talk like they are trapped inn a time-warp). He said he was also tired of constantly being threatened by net trolls.

I do understand this anger in a way. Women worked before World War 2, but mostly in lowpaying jobs. The war meant that many men joined the military, and that allowed women to take these well-paying jobs. The men in charge realized they didn’t have any choice, and encouraged women to take the jobs previously reserved for men, but apparently they didn’t have any long term plans. The women were not allowed to keep these jobs after the war. It’s not that they couldn’t work, but they were forced back to the kind of jobs they had before the war.

That would have made anyone angry.

I think you might be able to make the argument that men haven’t always been completely fair or honourable towards women. I don’t know this. I am only speculating, but if some of these feminists were raised by women that saw their dreams being broken over night, they have probably witnessed some dramatic scenes at home.

There were also women later that had opportunities, but they had to fight their husbands or leave. We don’t live in Iran and leaving is an option, but maybe it’s not that easy after all to leave someone you have depended on or loved, no matter how undeserving he or she may be. The blogger Extra Dry Martini wrote the sadly familiar Things my mother never did. Her mother reminds me a lot of my own.

I have mentioned the Norwegian historian of religions Hanne Nabintu Herland several times on my blog. She’s known for being a sharp critic and commentator on issues like feminism, religion, international affairs, traditional values etc. Her opinions aren’t that controversial, but because she criticises strong trends and authorities, this frequently makes people literally mad. A lot of the anti-Herland articles you find on the net, also from journalists in mainstream media, is all about anger. A sound argument usually never plays a part in these comments.

Nabintu Herland is frequently attacked for just disagreeing with most feminists. She is a feminist herself and is in favour of equal rights (education, voting, job opportunities etc), but she wants more traditional roles. She sees the man as being too feminine and the woman as too masculine. In one interview I read she asked this question (my own translation):

Why is it negative to talk about men’s physical strength and their instinct to protect (women)?

I don’t agree with everything she says. Her argument is a bit shortsighted, and she mostly addresses the aggressive feminists. That could be because I think her remarks have to be very pointed just to get attention. But I agree with her that many seem to try very hard to pretend that there is only one gender.

The politically correct, and only accepted view, is that there’s no difference between men and women. I don’t have a lot of experience with feminists myself, but I have come across some as a student and as a teacher. Most of them have had the attitude that we are exactly the same. I agree with them that women should have the option of becoming engineers, car mechanics, excavator operator, welder etc. The fact that most women are not interested in these jobs could indicate that we are different after all. This is an interesting comment that can shed some light on that. According to the clinical and medical psychologist Michael Conner men and women are equal but different. I have come across the same idea about differences in the brain from science sites, so that shouldn’t be a controversial stand.

Act like a man! What does that mean? I couldn’t agree with Hanne Nabintu Herland completely because when we had a strong distinction between men and women, men were also bullies. They saw women as the weaker sex, and anyone weaker than you was irrelevant.

But we are different. There is the a difference in physical strength and our brains are also very different. The structure is different and we don’t use the brain the same way. Sometimes I do wonder if my wife is from a different planet, specifically Venus. We communicate differently and I don’t always see the need to communicate when she clearly does. The idea that there is no difference is illogical.

I think Michael Conner sums it up nicely. We are equal but different.


11 thoughts on “The gender separation

  1. There does seem to be a lot of hate on either side of the gender gap. 😦

    We are equal but different.

    I like this, and your closing paragraph.

    Recognizing that men and women are equal in value does not mean we should attempt to (or even could) erase inherent gender distinctions. Your observation of the difference in communication styles is a great example of this

    This also caught my attention:

    when we had a strong distinction between men and women, men were also bullies. They saw women as the weaker sex, and anyone weaker than you was irrelevant.

    So, would you consider the problem to be the strong distinction between the sexes or an inherent tendency (of men) to abuse a position of authority? To be fair, I don’t want to strictly target men on that point, as I’ve been around female bulllies, too. So perhaps I could substitute “human beings” for “men”?

  2. John,

    That last piece that Heather quoted also caught my attention. I was wondering what specifically you meant by “men were also bullies.” I am not sure what you meant by that. I ask because I have known men who were very effeminent, very “un-masculine” who were incredible bullies–seem to possess both the bullying styles of men and women. I am not sure that a sharp distinction between men and women necessarily is connected to men being bullies. But then, you may be thinking of a specific sort of behavior.


    I think part of the problem is that not only is it seemingly unacceptable to acknowledge differences between men and women, it seems that even when we do, both genders fail to respect those difference. I have heard too many women rail about certain normal, natural masculine traits that mystify them, as if because it was strange to them it was somehow “wrong.” Of course, I hear men do the exact same thing about women….denigrate and ridicule traits that are feminine in women. If men and women could just first acknowledge the differences, accept them as normal and natural and as God created us, and then to respect the differences. I for one, would NOT want men to be just like women. God created us to complement each other, not compete with each other, not denigrate each other, not try to change the other gender into our own.

    P.s. I hear you on the female bullies! ;-(

    1. I believe that we should be more masculine than we are, but it may not be a good idea to go back to the old ways. That was too much. If men had been just a little more feminine after WW2 they might have accepted single mothers, and even their wives, working for just as high salary as themselves.

      They might have been willing to do things at home they concidered to be too feminine and unnatural for a man. But men have been masculine during most of history and most people that have a lot of power over others tend to rule as they please.

      Today there seems to be an expectation that men do the jobs around the house that are “a man’s job”, but this doesn’t count towards the 50 % of the jobs men are expected to do at home. So in a way we have a distinction, and we have not. I guess I am just as confused as everyone else, but I believe something needs to change.

    2. Thank you for elaborating on what you meant by “bullies.” I can see better where you were going with that phrase.

    3. I also agree with you that going back to the “old ways” is not necessarily a good things. But there were some good things in those old ways, and if we could find some way to keep them or get them back, I think that would be a good thing.

  3. I think part of the problem is that not only is it seemingly unacceptable to acknowledge differences between men and women, it seems that even when we do, both genders fail to respect those difference.

    You may be correct, Jay.

    John, your observation @ 16:31 concludes I believe something needs to change.

    I do question whether we have erred by too heavily defining “masculine” and “feminine” from an external point of view.

    For instance, my brother-in-law puts to shame my sewing skills, is the primary “home-maker” at the moment, has little interest in organized spectator sports and is earning a nursing degree. He is also more openly sensitive than most men I know. All of these traits are typically viewed in the US as being feminine. But he’s good at what he does and there is no question about whether he is a man.

    Likewise, we often define “aggression” as a masculine trait while assuming that femininity generally involves being overly “emotional”. It’s as though we don’t believe that women can (and do) intentionally harm others or that “real” men should actually experience a deep sense of tender affection or extreme state of sorrow.

    1. I guess my point is that we can contribute to the gender identity confusion by creating artificial boundaries which extend beyond those which God has given us.

    2. I agree, Heather. Just out of curiosity, have you by any chance read any of Elizabeth Elliott’s books?

    3. Thank you, Theresa :). I hope to visit your blog again soon, as well.
      If you would like to visit privately, but do not have my current email address, you should be able to make contact through the FB network.

    4. Oops. Sorry about the misdirected reply.
      Guess what I get for responding to comments on my phone…

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