Is there anything really wrong? Really?

Madeleine Teahan (that seems like a peculiarly Proustian or edible sort of name) muses in a post at the Catholic Herald (yes, that would be the well-known, even “iconic”, religion of the same name) about gender equality and toys for girls versus boys. She wants everyone to realize that men have problems too, because sadly that fact has entirely disappeared in all the noise about princess dolls.

Is there anything really wrong with encouraging our sons to play with cars and our daughters to play with Barbie? There is a strange paradox with modern-day champions of diversity: it is that they are determined to propagate the idea that we are all exactly the same. Accepting common differences between the sexes has become taboo.

A spot of having it both ways there. The naughty champions of diversity say we are all exactly the same, when they should be saying that all girls are exactly the same and all boys are exactly the same but girls are radically different from boys and vice versa.

She’s wrong. The point isn’t that everybody is exactly the same, the point is that everybody isn’t, and therefore tastes shouldn’t be imposed (or “encouraged”) on the basis of gender. There is something wrong with assuming that all girls do and should want to play with Barbie.

Just as with femininity, traditional masculinity should be welcomed and honed, not suppressed or abolished. The fanatical emphasis on gender equality risks bulldozing men completely out of the picture, leaving them at a loss as to what role models it is socially acceptable to aspire to and how exactly they should fit into society.

Although it is often perceived as the enemy of equality between the sexes, the Church has a lot to offer men

That caused me to burst into laughter instead of reading the rest of the sentence. I just love that. “The church has a lot to offer men…” – yes, it does, especially if they’re the kind of men who want a monopoly on saying what’s what. One thing the church has to offer men of that type is the fact that it’s the last big institution that is still allowed to mandate and enforce an all-male power structure.


  1. noxiousnan says

    She doesn’t seem to have any regard for males, implying that all masculinity will be lost with boys being offered a choice between a truck and an easy bake oven.

  2. bcmystery says

    An Easy Bake over is the gateway drug to full scale to full scale baking. Trust me. I know.

  3. bcmystery says

    Oh bloody hell. And there’s another mistake. What’s that saying about the first rule of holes?

  4. Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam says

    The fanatical emphasis on gender equality risks bulldozing men completely out of the picture, leaving them at a loss as to what role models it is socially acceptable to aspire to and how exactly they should fit into society.

    Because no institution has worked harder to stifle the ambitions and aspirations of male people, or to make it difficult for them to fit into society, than the Catholic Church.

    Help! My sarcasm throttle has gotten stuck on full blast!

  5. says

    While most men and women subconsciously conform to gender stereotypes this is not set in stone. So feminine men and masculine women should not feel self conscious about being different – which would be unusual given that we are all different anyway. Also it is important to reference the difference between sex and gender which are used as interchangeable terms but are actually distinct and separate in their own right. Sex pertains to biology and unless one is in transition one has the same one all their life. Gender however is less rigid and is a social construct and as such is more flexible. So there are no hard and fast rules here. Although the subtle and blatant reinforcements of society make it hard to be completely different if that is not the cultural norm. But it is flexible in spite of that and should be openly encouraged. Because a more diverse society is a more tolerant society. And a more tolerant society is a more accepting society

  6. Omar Puhleez says

    @#6: “…Gender however is less rigid and is a social construct and as such is more flexible….”

    ‘Sex’ is a biological reality, no matter how perceived and politicised. ‘Gender’ strictly speaking applies to words and word forms.

    ‘Gender’ is used these days more as a synonym for ‘sex’, while ‘sex’ describes a process or act, as well as male, female or whatever.

    IMHO the whole business is really just part of the eternal human search for euphemisms. (Sigh.)

  7. says

    How can this person not see how fatuous her statements are? You pointed out her error in the “we’re all the same” department, but then there’s her contention that an emphasis on “gender equality risks bulldozing men completely out of the picture”. So…if women get a half-share in life, men are totally erased? Can’t be seen at all?

    I think people who can’t write or thinik any more clearly than this deserve no platform, whatever their cause.

  8. Gordon Willis says

    traditional masculinity should be welcomed and honed

    Erm…why? Somebody? Anybody? (1) why should traditional masculinity just happen to be there? I mean, do traditional masculinities just appear? I bet they don’t. I bet they’re, well, “honed” into existence. Just so that honers can say “Hail, O Type of traditional masculinity, and welcome”. Or something like that. (I knew that I was going to do a (2) and a (3), but they seem to have got in anyway.)

    The trouble with honing things is that you have to start with the base metal, or the grade-1 tin, or whatever pops out, and honing generally involves a lot of tempering and hammering and grinding. That also seems to be the problem with traditions, doesn’t it? I mean, here’s this ordinary boy who likes, say, dancing. Is this found in the traditional toolkit for masculinities? Generally speaking, it would appear not; unless you can disguise it as the super-strenuous zen art of subtle poses in unarmed combat, or at least marching in formation to really bad brass-band music, or betting you can do brilliantly what you’ve never done before because you have to prove you can, which of course, you obviously can, really (and not crying if you get killed).

    Just as with femininity, traditional masculinity should …

    Ha. So we admit that there is no “femininity” unless it is “honed”.

    No, I do see that the “welcome” is prior to the “honing”. But this brings us back to the initial question — number (1) above. Just go round and round. That’s all there is.


    “It’s a BOY!!!!” — oh good, now we can expect some real traditional masculinity.

    “It’s a…girl…” — oh god; well, at least we can have some traditional femininity, I suppose…

    Well, let’s get honing, then…

  9. Omar Puhleez says

    trina @#9:

    In nature, the situation favoured by reproductive necessity and therefore by natural selection is the male/female division, found almost universally among species, from bacteria to blue whales. In some species there is little or no apparent sexual dimorphism, although two sexes are still present. In other rare cases, one sex is completely absent (eg Lombardy poplars, which are all males, and which nature is almost certainly in the process of selecting out.).

    In some species (eg of fish), there is an ability of individuals to change from one sex to the other, and in others (eg of snails, plants) both male and female organs are carried on the one adult body. But the general rule is two sexes, however defined, described, desired and/or dismissed.

    The above says nothing either way about whether or not boys should play with dolls and girls with toy cars, or about any given human adult should think of himself or herself. Sexual politics may be an issue in the life of a given biologist, but I do not think that it is much of an issue in biology.

    The reason for the male/female bifurcation in biology goes all the way down to the structure of DNA, which is an n-sided molecule, where n = 2; not 3, 4, 5, 6 or some other number. How reproductive anatomy and behaviour would have developed if n was a higher number than 2 is of course a most interesting question.

    hjhornbeck @#11:

    Visited your linked site. I disagree that it refutes me.

    Amazing. This issue began over the difference between sex and gender.

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