Irish Papist

Irish Papist
Statute of the Blessed Virgin in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Church, UCD Belfield

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Some Quick Thoughts on Men and Women

1) Feminists, like most ideologues, have some (even many) valid points.

2) My biggest problem with feminism is not really any particular thing feminists say (though I very often have a big problem with that). My biggest problem with feminism is its atmosphere of hostility, resentment and suspicion towards men; the atmosphere of division and conflict between the sexes.

3) I think the worst possible way for men to respond to feminism (even worse than becoming male feminists) is to develop a corresponding attitude of hostility, resentment and suspicion towards women. Sadly, I see this happening in many places.

4) I think the sexes need to honour and cherish each other, especially their differences. I think men and women need each other-- including happily celibate men and women. And I don't just mean as "people", but as men and women.

5) I believe absolutely that men and women are different in very important ways, and that this difference is fundamental to human society-- a golden thread that runs through all human society, history, literature, folklore, etc. etc. I believe it ultimately has a sacramental significance.

6) I'm always very reluctant to make any particular observation about differences between the sexes. To me, it's something very enigmatic and mysterious. It's like grammar; there are so many exceptions and conditions that every principle has to be approached with extreme caution. And yet: there are principles. Just don't ask me what they are.

7) I always cringe a little when men pontificate about female psychology and female nature. I try to avoid this myself. I have my own theories, theories which are frequently proven wrong and discarded.

Having said that, I don't by any means object to speculation and theorising about the difference between the sexes. It's a fertile ground for humour, folklore, literature, song, conversation, etc. It's part of what keeps the world going around. I think it should be conducted in a good-humoured manner-- although occasional fits of pique are par for the course, and part of the fun.

I've heard plenty of women say clueless things about men, too.

I suspect it takes someone very wise, experienced and learned to comment profoundly on the difference between men and women-- someone like St. John Paul II. 

8) I think the distinction between "sex" and "gender" is rather pointless. Human beings are conventional by nature-- as Shakespeare famously wrote, "the art itself is nature". Pink for a girl and blue for a boy may be arbitrary (and maybe not). But it seems part of our nature that we would have such a convention.

Trying to draw the line between nature and convention seems hopeless to me, in this matter as in many others--  like trying to draw the line between form and content in poetry.

Nor do I particularly care about the distinction between nature and convention here, any more than I particularly care about "authenticity" in traditions. I like conventions that celebrate and accentuate femininity and masculinity. Yes, I can see they might sometimes be stultifying or out of place; but in general, I like them and I think they add to the pageantry and flavour of life. Contrariwise, I think that efforts to downplay or neutralise the difference between men and women generally make the world a duller place.

6 comments:

  1. I was just thinking this morning ( someone mentioned that he had to dress as a princess for a play some years ago; it was either a boys' school or something, and someone remarked "a very ugly princess". ) Often when a man is mistaken for a lady, which often happens due to today's unisex fashions, someone will say "would've been an ugly girl", BUT the irony is: it's not because the man is ugly, often he's far from being ugly. But we're ugly if we try be what we shouldn't be

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    1. Even the humour goes out of cross-dressing if we get rid of gender roles. I can remember in my own school, some boys wore girls skirts during a sports game and were forced to wear them as a punishment the next day in school. The head spins to think of what our current generation would make of that, not three decades later...

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  2. Strange thing to do!
    Actually, one school in Australia has brought out gender neutral uniforms, it was in the paper not long ago but I can't now remember if it was Perth or another state.
    There are no actual skirts but they're is an option of a tartan kilt for either sex

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    1. Spare us! Even the famously no-nonsense Aussies are being infected by this madness!!

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  3. There's plenty of madness. A teacher in Melbourne named Jo Hirst has published a picture book titled ' The Gender Fairy' subtitled ' No one can tell you if you're a boy or a girl' which seems to be targeting the youngest of school children. Archbishop Porteous of Hobart has just had anti-discrimination charged against him dropped. They were brought against him because he informed all Catholic schools(which here are privately owned, even if publicly funded) that the Church supports only traditional marriage. And if you're bored some day you should look up the' Safe schools programme'.....

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    1. I don't understand these peoples' thirst for destruction. It reminds me of John Lennon's philosophy of Bagism, where we would all wear bags so nobody could tell the differences between us. Yes, "Imagine" is the anthem of our society...I can't believe I once considered that, in my late teens, as the best song ever written!

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