Category Archives: Gender Identity

How to be a woman

A few days ago a Facebook friend of mine posted this photo (I have no idea if this is, or is supposed to be, a genuine quotation from Coco Chanel or whether whoever made the image just liked the photo)

trying to be a man

I was interested to find out why she had posted it. Although we have some things in common (we are both women and Christians and of a similar age), we are from different cultural backgrounds and have different ideologies. I asked her what she thought “trying to be a man” meant. She replied that she thought it referred to women who say they “don’t need a man” and that “they can do everything themself.” She added that while women probably CAN do everything men can do, she doesn’t understand why they would want to, and finished by saying that it also referred to women who believe that “manly” things are superior  and forget that “womanly things” are just as valid.

I thought this was an interesting response which showcased some of the key attitudes that exist about women in Christian circles. It referenced the idea that women and men have different (but complimentary) roles, the idea that women need to rely upon (and perhaps submit to) men rather than attempt independence, and finally the (feminist-ish, sort of) idea that feminine things are undervalued. But what exactly is a “manly” thing, and what is a “womanly” thing, and does it matter?

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