Friday, March 18, 2011
A Response to a Reader: Views on Feminism and Inborn Gender Traits
I recently received the following questions from one of my readers:
“I am curious if (1) you have tried studying or thinking about feminism from another point of view, and (2) if you have considered the sociological aspect of femininity (i.e. that gender traits come primarily from being raised in a certain environment, or studies that show male babies tend to be more emotive, etc.)?”
Hi, Anonymous! First let me say welcome to my blog, and thank you for taking the time to ask these questions. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from one of my readers as well as the opportunity to better clarify where I’m coming from.
In response to your first question, I think many people have the idea that the only way I know anything about feminism is solely by reading the points of view of ladies who hold to Titus 2 and try to live out its teachings as closely as possible day to day. The common thought may be that I have only studied feminism through the reading of books and the watching of DVDs produced by those who are criticizing feminism. However, this is not the case. So, in answer to your first question, I have studied feminism from the point of view of those who were instrumental in beginning the movement as an organized agenda, as well as through the eyes of those who are modern-day feminists. For example, I have read books such as The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan; The Woman Question, which contains writings by Karl Marx, Frederich Engels, Joseph Stalin, and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin; and On the Emancipation of Women by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. I have also read articles here and there written from the feminist point of view, as well. Quotes from some of these works have been included in various articles of mine.
In regards to your second question, this topic has been raised quite a bit, not just to me but to others, as well. I have stated in articles before that girls grow up loving to play with dolls, toy vacuums, toy kitchen sets, and doll houses, but that, something that is unfair about feminism, is that as little girls grow up, they are increasingly told that caring for babies, cleaning homes, cooking and baking, and being homemakers is not good enough. They may like all those things with a passion, but they have to actually do something with their lives, implying that to simply care for their homes and children is unacceptable-that they must go out and do as men do in the workforce, going through life as strong leaders who get their way and embark on their own paths. I have received comments stating that my sentiments are erroneous, because there are certain studies that seem to suggest that some girls would rather play with trucks, toy police sets, and the like, and that it’s the boys in all actuality that sometimes would rather play with dolls and kitchen sets. However, I believe there are several things we should take into consideration before we consider viewing these studies as absolute truth.
First of all, personalities are different. And just because there may be some girl who prefer to play with fire trucks and there are certain boys who like to play with dolls, this does not change the fact that by and large, this is not the norm
Second, while there may be some studies that imply that boys prefer dolls and girls prefer toy guns, there are a myriad of studies (and personal experience from parents themselves!) which prove just the opposite. This is why I don’t lend as much credence to simple studies. Studies have to be so carefully controlled in order to produce true facts. The girls in the study, for example, may come from families where they have just boy siblings, and so they are used to playing with them and their toys. I know of a large family where one of the daughters is surrounded by boys in the age line of the family, and so she tends to play more with boy toys than girly toys. So, again, we cannot simply go by studies alone and take what they say as absolute truth, because we all know that after one study comes out, it seems that the next day another study comes out which says something totally different and is in stark contrast to the first study. As another example, you mentioned studies that show that male babies tend to be more emotive. For the particular boys in the study, this may well be the case. But that does not mean that most boy babies are like that. Again, it all goes back to having somewhat different personalities. There are some men who are more sensitive and emotional than other men. But that emotion in no way lessens their masculine traits (and, I would say that if a man is sensitive, he tends to be a better husband and father than one who is more hard-hearted!).
Third, you mentioned gender traits coming primarily from being raised in a certain environment. To this, I would simply say that while there may indeed be certain traits here or there that come more from America or more from Egypt, for example, as cultures are different, by and large gender traits tend to be the same from country to country. This seems to go back to the fact that ingrained in girls is the desire to care for the family and home, while ingrained in the nature of boys is the desire to go out and provide for their families, protect them, etc. Down through the ages in all different countries, we see women being mainly responsible for caring for the home, preparing food for the family, caring for the children, reaching out to neighbors and others in the community, etc., while we see men primarily farming, working to provide for their families, fighting in armies and other spheres to protect their families, etc. So, regardless of what a certain environment may be like or what a certain study may say, it seems apparent that gender traits are actually ingrained, I believe by God, into girls and boys.
I hope this has been helpful to you, anonymous, and that these answer will prove helpful to my other readers, as well. Thank you again for your questions!