I’m wary about writing on gender, (she says, doing it anyway). Men and women are different; but from where I’m sitting (the fence), biblical differences aren’t the same as the cultural ones and it’s easy to get them mixed-up.
Plus, it’s personal. I’m woman who feels like a man, married to a man who feels like a woman (Glen wants me to edit this, but the lady doth protest too much). Evidence:
If we have an argument, Glen wants to hug it out and I want to build a shed. He likes singing and poems and talking about stuff. But wait, he’s a GUY. So he can’t. That’d be Weird.
Not so for me.
As a woman, I’m actively and publicly encouraged to emote. But I’m Northern Irish, so I don’t believe in emotion. I believe in hard work and lists and sureneverworryit’llallbefineDON’TGOTHERE.
As a female, it’s also assumed that I love sad/ romantic films with people wearing wigs. These films make me angry. (I cry, but it’s tears of RAGE folks, not empathy). Also, it’s assumed that I want to gather with large groups of women. Fact: large groups of women make me scared. (I went to a girl’s school and that was plenty. Plus the men always seem to do the good stuff, like drag racing, while we paint egg-cups).
I’m joking. In part. But gender stereotypes do a lot of damage. Guys for example, are encouraged to believe that suffering in silence is manly. Guys are also three to five times more likely than women to kill themselves.Guys are encouraged to drink to unwind. And they make up 80% of those who are dependent on alcohol. Guys are encouraged to perform – in the boardroom and in the bedroom. So they keep quiet about the bullying at work. And they take their desires to the small screen instead of their partners.
These are big issues. But that doesn’t mean that gender doesn’t matter. After all, I might not be a culturally typical woman; but I’m not a guy either. Many of the things I think I ought to be aren’t gender specific. Guys are called to be kind and nurturing as well as strong, right? (See Jesus for the ultimate example). Women need to be brave and passionate as well as gentle – don’t they? (See the women who followed Jesus, even after the blokes scarpered).
According to the Bible we’re not shaped the same. And this is a good thing that should be celebrated and enjoyed. But sometimes, even in churches, we mix up the biblical stuff with the cultural. When this happens, instead of being liberated by difference, we’re squashed by it instead. And it impacts on us all.
When it comes to gender there are different differences and it’s important to differentiate them. The tricky part is figuring out the difference between these differences. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to my shed.