From Feminism to Gay ‘Marriage’

In an article I wrote for the Colson Center, titled “How Gay ‘Marriage’ Became Plausible”, I explored some of the issues that are upstream of the same-sex marriage debate. What are the plausibility structures that have led to a state of affairs whereby people are even willing to discuss something as absurd as changing the legal definition of marriage?

In my article I suggest that one key factor in bringing us to this state of affairs has been the persistent erosion of the gender polarity that occurred throughout the 20th century. Throughout the last century feminist writers kept telling us that gender is irrelevant in man-woman relationships, including the relationship of marriage. What happens if you consider gender to be a functional irrelevancy long enough is that suddenly same-sex marriage, in which gender is a formal irrelevancy, starts to seem a lot more plausible. Continue reading “From Feminism to Gay ‘Marriage’”

Too Feminine?

In his parenting manual, Emile, the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that men and women are made differently and therefore require different types of upbringing. He espoused what today many people call a “complementarian” view of gender, which refers to the idea that the differences between men and women complement and enhance each other.
Rousseau’s representation of gender falls along the typical polarities, with man being active and woman being passive; man being strong, woman being weak; man being bold, woman being bashful and reserved, etc. While some of Rousseau’s distinctions are exaggerated and stereotypical, we must give him credit for understanding an important point: men and women are different. As he put it, “where sex is concerned man and woman are unlike; each is the complement of the other…”
Many female thinkers in the 18th and 19th century accepted this complementarian framework, even while offering appropriate challenges to our picture of what constituted “feminine” attributes. Female writers see themselves defending their sex precisely through maintaining gender distinctions. For example, the Victorian writer Elizabeth Wordsworth once noted that “In an ideal state of society, we never lose sight of the womanliness of women…why should it be considered a compliment to any woman to be told she writes, paints, sings, talks, or even thinks, like a man?” Continue reading “Too Feminine?”

Flesh Parades, Doug Wilson and Cinematic Nudity

Douglas Wilson has some good things to say here about some of the issues upstream of the modesty debate, which echoes the concerns I raised in my article ‘Slutwalk and the Negation of Feminine Sexuality.

Wilson also helpfully reminds us that when a woman reveals too much flesh, it is often not because she has too much sexual security but too little. Wilson writes,

One of the most striking things about these flesh parades is how unattractive it all is. As in, gekkk. … There are clearly numerous young ladies who have no one in their lives willing to speak to them truthfully. And when women don’t have someone who loves them like they ought to, they become susceptible to any number of fads, so long as someone — most likely a peer with the same emotional problems — is willing to tell them it is “cute.” Well, it isn’t. Sorry to break it to you. There also appears to be an inverse relationship between the class of the person and how many square feet are covered by the tattoo.

The problem here, at least within the church, is that hints don’t get you anywhere, no effect at all, and if you state the problem plainly, it flattens the poor girl for months, like somebody took a pastoral mallet to her. By “hints,” I mean general references in sermons to modesty and decorum, and by “stating plainly” I mean suggesting that she come to church next week with the mammalian pride dialed back just a skosh. The problem is not that she is secure in her sexuality — it is just the reverse. You can tell this because women who want to be “secure” in their sexuality in this way at the same time do not want men around them who are secure in their sexuality in a comparable way.

Click “more” to read the rest (not for young readers). Continue reading “Flesh Parades, Doug Wilson and Cinematic Nudity”

The Death of Pretty

This post is intended as a lament of sorts, a lament for something in the culture that is dying and may never been seen again. Pretty, pretty is dying. People will define pretty differently.  For the purposes of this piece, I define pretty as a mutually enriching balanced combination of beauty and projected innocence. Once upon a time, women wanted to project an innocence.  I … Continue reading The Death of Pretty

Modesty Helps Women Be Friends

This piece from the National Catholic Register has to be one of the best articles I’ve ever read on reasons for modesty, highlighting one I don’t think many of us consider…but one that is nevertheless very important: our relationships with other women. Though each woman may have different ideas about exactly what it means to be modest, there is a general agreement that putting forth … Continue reading Modesty Helps Women Be Friends

Should 40-something moms dress like their daughters?

From Mariette Ulrich at Mercatornet: When it comes to fashion advice, it seems the young are leading the way. The study of more than 300 mothers and daughters found that adolescent girls have a powerful influence on the make-up, clothes and hairstyles chosen by their mothers…. The desire to look one’s best isn’t new or strange; it’s a normal human aspiration. The alarming part is … Continue reading Should 40-something moms dress like their daughters?

CitizenLink Report: Resisting Efforts to Blur Male and Female

From Citizen Link: Have you heard about the recent report from Sweden about the staff of a preschool no longer using pronouns like “he” or “she” when referring to students? It’s another example of what happens when marriage is redefined to include same-sex couples. The preschool’s approach to gender is a reflection of Sweden’s national school curriculum that includes the mission of breaking down gender … Continue reading CitizenLink Report: Resisting Efforts to Blur Male and Female

‘Slutwalk’ and the Negation of Female Sexuality

I was recently asked to cover an event in London known as the ‘Slutwalk.’ The event, which features scores of women walking down the street dressed as ‘sluts,’ started in Toronto on April 3. Since then, according to the Wikipedia article about it, the movement has spread to other towns throughout the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and even the Middle East. (Not for young readers.) Continue reading “‘Slutwalk’ and the Negation of Female Sexuality”


"Going Out", October 21,1933 Giclee Print
“I’m not like other girls, who -“
I always want to stop a sentence dead in its tracks when it starts that way. Because I can guess what might come afterwards:
  • I don’t like frilly clothing.
  • I don’t like the color pink.
  • I don’t scream when I see a bug (or a mouse, or any other creepy/crawly/scittery vermin).
  • I like to hang out with guys.
  • I laugh at men’s jokes.
  • I don’t fall head-over-heels for a guy.
  • I don’t giggle and prattle.
It doesn’t matter how you fill in the blanks -the objective of the comment is clear: I am somehow different and set apart from other women, and, though I will not come out and say it, I believe that it makes me superior to them. Continue reading “Girly-Girls”