Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gender Self-Concept: What’s wrong with Maleness

I am currently enrolled at DBU in the Professional Counseling program and get many opportunities to write very technical and not so exciting papers, but here is one I really enjoyed writing. My professor assigned the class to pick a topic in which they were passionate and write. Thought I would share it.

Defining the Problem

Gender self-concept amongst the adolescents of our culture is in a state of severe confusion, which is leaving a generation unstable and unsure of who they are and what they are supposed to be. Now, more than ever, there seems to be a great level of confusion around the issue of gender self-concept. There is enormous pressure in our culture to eliminate any gender presuppositions and look at oneself as a person rather than a male or female. Societal gender neutralization can be seen in many areas. For example, clothing lines from companies like Abercrombie & Fitch differentiate very little between sexes in their clothing. In the media, males are increasingly feminized and the “traditional” male roles and stereotypes are being replaced by the metro-sexual image. So where is an adolescent supposed to get their gender identity/gender self-concept? It seems that in our culture it has become taboo to even point out gender differences, other than “plumbing.” It seems our society has become very confused regarding its sexuality and gender roles; hence the gender confusion that is prevalent in adolescents today.

Exploring the Origin


One need not look far to find the luminous hand of feminism all around this issue. In her book Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions, Judith Kegan Gardiner states the following, “the unmaking, if you will, of the category of men importantly remakes masculinity as pertinent to if not constitutive of female subjectivity, thereby rendering complex feminism's ability to negotiate the distinctions and interconnections between sex, sexuality, and gender.” (Gardiner, 2002, p. 33) It seems clear that the concept of masculinity is of great concern to the feminist and that the goal is to neutralize and redefine it. At the core of this agenda is a struggle for power. Gardiner attempts to demonstrate that masculinity studies can help feminist theories break free from theoretical impasses and that feminist attention to the institutionalizations of power can ensure masculinity studies against superficial celebrations of the mobility of gender. (Gardiner, 2002, p. 1)
The progress of the feminist movement over the past forty years is daunting, as they have redefined maleness in nearly every section of our society. This influence can be seen throughout our educational system: in churches, entertainment industries, and our political systems, and is literally redefining maleness. Gerald Corey, leading author, lecturer, and professor, in his textbook Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions, 7th Edition, defines ethnic minorities as the following: a group of people who have been singled out differential and unequal treatment and who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination. Although the term “minority” has traditionally referred to national, racial, linguistic, and religious groups, it now also applies to women, the elderly, gay men, lesbian women, and peoples with disabilities. (Corey, Corey & Callahan, 2007, p. 113) It seems that given this new and broader definition, nearly every group except white middle-aged males are now defined as an ethic minority, which by its own definition creates a problem, another ethnic minority.
One might think that overt angst toward maleness and whiteness is overstated, but think again. “Despite all that has been written over the past twenty years on femininity and feminism, masculinity has stayed pretty well concealed. This has always been its ruse in order to hold on to its power. Masculinity tries to stay invisible by passing itself off as normal and universal.” (Robinson, 2000, p. 194) Masculinity and whiteness retain their power as signifiers and as social practices because they are opaque to analysis, the argument goes; one cannot question, let alone dismantle, what remains hidden from view. This line of argument makes a good deal of sense, for it is clear that white male power has benefited enormously from keeping whiteness and masculinity in the dark. (Robinson, 2000, p. 1)


Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that upholds human reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition. (Wikipedia contributors, 2008) The humanist seeks to eradicate Christian theism because of its antiquated traditional views. The Humanist Manifesto II states: “promises of immortal salvation or fears of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices.” In Humanism’s quest for total equality for humanity, it converges with feminism and thus analogous to an ideal of assimilation in identifying sexual equality with gender blindness, by measuring women and men according to the same standards and treating them the same way. Indeed, for many feminists, androgyny names the ideal of sexual liberation--a society in which gender difference itself would be eliminated. (Johnson, 1994, p. 134)


If the people can be convinced that there was no creation, it necessarily follows that: there is no creator (God), no sacred or inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and Property, no divine purpose for mankind, no life after death, or Judgment Day. It then becomes much easier to promote: situational ethics (no absolute right or wrong), the ends justifies the means, abortion, euthanasia, the right to suicide, homosexuality or any other variety of sexual exploration, Goals 2000, the common good over individual rights, the erroneous notion that the environment and lower animals are more important than human beings, and One World Government under socialism. (McLeod, 2006)
The rich Christian heritage and traditional American values are being eroded away in an attempt to reorient our society towards this humanistic gender-neutral, family-neutral, morally-neutral society. Every age has its defining crisis. Sin is always at the heart of the crisis. But the manifestation of sin expresses itself differently from age to age. The defining crisis of our age is the systematic annihilation of the Biblical family. The family was the first institution created by God and blessed by Christ during His earthly ministry. It is God’s primary vehicle for communicating covenant promises to the next generation. It is the basic agency of dominion on earth. Minimize the father and the family will perish. Minimize the family and you have neutralized the church. (Phillips, 2008) When the moral absolutes that have been perpetuated by the Church and the Christian principles on which this country was founded are final gone, then the neutralized utopia dreamed of by the Humanist and spoken of in Manifesto I and II will have been achieved.


While it seems the perspective of the Christian community should be somewhat different than society regarding gender concepts, unfortunately it rarely is. The unfortunate fact is the old adage, how do you eat an elephant…one small bit at a time, is precisely how feminism and humanism have infiltrated our churches. It is through the slow, steady, and persistent bites that these secular ideologies and captured the unguarded minds of Christians and their faith. It is now time to stand and take back our forfeited ground. If our faith base culture, values, families are to survive, then we must as a Church dust of our apathy and rise to our challengers, rebutting the humanism that has seeped into our Christian ideologies.
Through the denial of a Creator, secular society denies absolutes and their implications, choosing instead to rely on consensus to establish its worldview. Conversely, Christians are supposed to look to the Bible for Gods guidance in their development of worldview. Worldview defines how we react and respond in the world around us, so as Christians we should be compelled to consider what God says regarding the issue of gender self-concept. During the Genesis creation story we see a very clear and concise order that leads me to believe that God is not confused regarding the creation and roles of our male/female purposes.


Wikipedia Contributors (2008, October 26). Humanism (life stance) (247728371). Retrieved 24 November 2008, from
Gardiner, J. K. (2002). Masculinity studies & feminist theory: New directions. Columbia University Press.
Johnson, P. (1994). Feminism as radical humanism. Colorado: West view Press.
McLeod, G. (2006, August 19). Humanist manifesto. Retrieved 24 November 2008, from
Phillips, D. W. (2008). Vision forum's quest for family renewal [Web Journal]. Vision Forum, Welcome to Vision Retrieved 25 November 2008, from
Robinson, S. (2000). Marked men: White masculinity in crisis. Columbia: University Press.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meet Ronny

This is Ronny our 1 year old SPCA kitty. Earlier this year while Sophie and I were making a quick stop at Pet Smart for dog food, she noticed a display of animals close to the entrance, so why not take a quick peek, right? This is where she found our sweet cuddly little black kitty. We couldn’t have another animal, right? And besides, Dad doesn’t like cats, at all. So I blamed it on Ed, we just couldn’t have another pet. My poor girl wept and cried, “But Mom, it’s Grimalkin, just like Benjamin West’s kitty”. We just finished a book about the childhood of Benjamin West, the first American artist to achieve an international reputation, and he had a black kitty named Grimalkin. This touched me. If we adopted him it would be like making literature come alive for Sophie. Ok, so I was sucked in and Ed was soon to follow because when I called him he said to bring him home. When we introduced Grimalkin to Ed his comments were, he’s black, his coat is rough, he’s not even very cute, and was he the only kitten there. Yes, Grimalkin was all of those things but he was not the only kitten to choose from. I explained to my sweet husband that this kitty was a representation of Benjamin West’s cat and that he would be the best cat he ever knew. So after a couple days saying here Grimalkin Grimalkin Grimalkin, it was time for a name change. So we enlisted Sophie to think of a new name. Off went our determined and decisive daughter to take a bath and think of a new name. What would it be? She shortly emerged from the bath and announced, “His name is Ronny, I want to name him after Uncle Ron.” Great, a cat named Ron… Uncle Ron by the way is a retired Navy Seal and not the most likely of candidates to have a kitten named after him. So Ron, Ronny, it was. Now Ed was absolutely not a cat lover and Ronny was certainly nothing to look at, at the time, but what an amazing cat he has been.

Vivian, as seen in the picture, thinks he is a koosh ball and likes to lay, yes lay on top of him and oddly enough it seems they have bonded during these interludes. Jake is in denial and says he doesn’t like “that cat”, but in frequent unguarded moments he can be seen playing and wrestling with him. Sophie thinks he is a dress up doll and, as seen, will stick him in the stroller adorned with crazy glasses for a ride around the house. I think we should have named him tag along, don’t laugh its better than Ronny, because he absolutely hates not being in the dead center of the action.

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Post

I wanted to start our blog by defining what is most passionate and dear to me. It is what motivates me to press on and press through when life swings with devastating blows, it is the place I find joy, hope, peace, and satisfaction. It is the place where God teaches and humbles me in my journey with Him. I am not particularly skilled here; just a student whose heart and mind is open wide as I learn. I share life, love, knowledge, and my best and worst moments here… my family. I shakes me to the core to consider what God has given to me in them, four lives with souls bared looking to their father and husband to navigate through life and its perils. We share laughter and tears, joys and pains as we traverse though this momentary journey together one small step at a time. As the kid’s lives speed past it reminds me of the brevity of life and that each moment is a gift from our Creator, given to do with as we chose, but for which I will someday give an account. What shall I give myself to? Shall I satisfy my own desires, shall I give myself to great and benevolent causes, or shall I create in my posterity something that will honor God for eternity?

Deuteronomy 11:18, 19

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Teach them when you walk, when you lie, sit, and wake, teach them. I think the implication here is so vast it is hard to fully conceptualize. It means to put aside the endless self satisfying hobbies, the mind numbing TV, sports, and agendas, to live life sharing moments together LIVING as examples of Godliness.

Doug Phillips, one of my favorite lectors and family advocates, beautifully expresses the following: The family was the first institution created by God and blessed by Christ during His earthly ministry. It is God’s primary vehicle for communicating covenant promises to the next generation. It is the basic agency of dominion on earth. Within the context of the family, the father is the God-ordained vision communicator. Minimize the father and the family will perish. Minimize the family and you have neutralized the church. The sad truth is that broken and weak families are the norm even within the most conservative and doctrinally Orthodox Church assemblies.

The writings and pictures here are our joyful and passionate expressions of family. May God be honored as we do our best to live, learn, and grow together for Him.