!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Emerging Women .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Big Questions
Nancy posted these questions in the coming of age thread and I thought they deserved their own thread. These are big questions, but they deserve discussion.

this leads me to something I have been pondering on again. What are your thoughts about male and female archetypes/stereotypes? What do you believe is considered traditionally female and male? And are they both aspects of each (man and woman) of us? Or are we to strive only for that which is determined by our sex? How do you feel you match up as far such archetypes are concerned? What would you consider would constitute a "healthy" man or woman? How would you imagine that God intended for it to work? I guess I just find these questions really interesting and wonder what you all might think and hope you'll take some time to respond.


posted by Julie at 10:19 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 10/18/2006 11:25:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    Great topic!

    I don't think the traditional gender stereotypes are an inherently good or bad thing. It depends on how they are used and for what purpose.

    Traditionally feminine characteristics: nurturing, good with interpersonal relationships, emotional, passive, peaceful, gentle, affectionate, dependent, sensitive.

    Traditional male characteristics: logical, strong, assertive, leaderlike, independent, risk-taking, competitive, aggressive.

    How do you feel you match up as far such archetypes are concerned?

    I'm neither. Or maybe I'm both. I've never been ultra-feminine, but I'm not a tomboy either.

    I think there is a wide range of "healthy" in this department. (IMO)There are diffences between the sexes that can't be described away solely through the influences of culture.

    I don't have a problem with the church celebrating these differences - I would have a big problem with the church forcing people who are androgynous or who act more like the opposite sex to become someone they're not.

    Not every man is competitive or aggressive by nature. Not every woman is a nurturer at heart. And there's nothing wrong with that. :)

  • At 10/18/2006 04:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I think of this in the context of one who has often worked in traditionally male dominated fields, albeit not the "norm" of corporate America. For example, my first job out of college was as a technical director and lighting designer for dance...a largely male field. However for the most part the men and women I worked with were great. I did however really push myself to do things "like a guy." I wanted to be strong enough to hang the lights, climb the ladder or scaffold, and techy enough to rewire cables, to climb around in dirty dusty places with beat up hands.

    Later in life I have become an Episcpal Priest. I find a lot of unspoken "expectations" take place, more so than in my earlier vocation. Maybe I am just more aware of them? But in church life there is a strong tendency to identify strengths in ministry via gender: male priests have more experience (regardless of the reality of this). Male priests are better with finances and more able to manage large churches. Women priests are better caretakers, we often "get" the small parishes in need of hospice care as they slowly die out. And, unlike men, once women end up in a samll church it is almost impossible to get out, because well, we just don't have enough "exprience."

    Now the reality is I think that men and women do have innate characteristics. But I do not think every person can be defined in their gender by those characteristic i.e male - strong, female - soft...etc. Indeed each human being is uniquely their own person with strengths and weakness across the spectrum.

    Personally I am both a strong driven woman and a caring compassionate person, so I am one who bridges the gender archetypes.

  • At 10/19/2006 09:07:00 AM, Blogger Michelle K


    This is a change of subject just a bit but I was so excited to read your vocation!

    My husband and I just visited a local episcopal church this past Sunday. Could we talk about that particular group just a bit?

    If email would be a better means than this discussion board just let me know.

    Can't wait,

  • At 10/19/2006 05:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Sorry to just get your note. I have been at a diocesan meeting all day. Sure, email conversation will work fine, but I am also ok with this format. Let me know...

  • At 10/19/2006 11:16:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I've always found Virginia Woolfe's concept of the androgynous mind to be an interesting take on this subject. She admits that there are archtype masculine and feminine characteristics and that some people fully embody those extremes. But some minds are more androgynous and have aspects of both intertwining within them. She proposed that the mixing of the masculine and the feminine in ones mind led to the act of creation - in other words art and writing.

  • At 10/20/2006 08:27:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    I've always found Virginia Woolfe's concept of the androgynous mind to be an interesting take on this subject.

    Which book(s) did she mention this in?

    I'm interested in reading more. ;)

  • At 10/20/2006 11:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I new to the emerging women blog and haven't really participated yet, but have been thinking through a lot of the women's role stuff that you're talking about--especially since I'm getting ready to start seminary. A book that speaks to a lot of this is the Dance of a Dissident Daughter by Susan Monk Kidd. It does a great job of identifying the "feminine wounds" that we carry by living in a male world. She describes her rebirth into her own "feminine spirituality." It has taken some of the confusion away for me in feeling like I'm "too much" or thinking too hard or overstepping my bounds, etc. I think it has a place in this conversation.

  • At 10/20/2006 05:48:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Hi, Blakely. I'm new to the site as well, but welcome! The book you mentioned sounds interesting and will likely be the next one I pick up. The phrase you used, "feeling like I'm too much" reminded me of another book, "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. The book is essentially about the heart of a woman and the special desires and role in life God has given her. There is quite a bit about the wounds women sustain to their hearts and how it raises questions in our minds about being too much, not enough, etc.

  • At 10/21/2006 10:01:00 AM, Blogger Julie

    Hey -
    Lydia I think the Virginia Woolfe book is A Room of Ones Own.

    Blakely - Dance of the Disident Daughter is a great book

  • At 10/21/2006 12:36:00 PM, Blogger A Women's Kavura

    Welcome Blakely and Nancy to the conversation! Great to have your voices emerge! :-)

    One of the presentations at the EC Gathering was on Women in the Midrash:(Jewish Midrash.) Mr. Anthony Mulford (an elder at the Messianic Temple in Norfolk, and interestingly enough, a highly awarded lawyer and law school instructor) hosted the conversation and also handed out a great set of notes on his topic. All that to say ...

    he wrote this in his notes:

    "Judaism postulates innate gender differences with specific non-interchangeable characters. Traditional Jewish society is based on the essential dissimilarity of the sexes. ... In the Creator's grand design, each finds satisfaction in his or her complementary role. The Sages identify character traits indigenous to each gender. Women typically possess more modesty, piety, greater judiciousness, wisdom, insight, and discernment than men. They are also more merciful, compassionate, and empathetic and more concerned with others."

    This was just one paragraph of a very informative and well written 8 page presentation. One of the points he makes within this paragraph is that he views the intentionality of God with these 'innate' distinctions was and is to minimize (or in God's perfect world, eliminate)competition between the sexes and to acknowledge the inestimable worth of each gender who each bring innate qualities to the table of life. This perspective seems worthy of consideration and ponderings.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees currently, I realized it's an important lense to keep before me when reading and reflecting on the First Testament writings, written from this traditional Jewish understanding.


  • At 10/21/2006 03:50:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Thanks for the warm welcome, AWK! I appreciate what you shared from Mr. Mulford's notes. It's helpful to get that kind of background info on the culture of the people of the OT. I'm hoping to make The Gathering in March in Oregon, IL. This has all been so inspiring to me.

  • At 10/28/2006 09:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Thanks for the welcome, I do like Dance of Dissident Daughter, however I'm choosing not to elimate God from the equation as much as the book (so far-- I'm 3/4 thru) does. I identify with all the wounds as all women do, but also know that my precious God who created women is big enough! Looking more into how the perception of women changed after Augustine would be interesting. I do believe the wound, lies, etc that we're fighting both in and outside of ourselves are human-made. Not out of the origin of God. In the book she seems to need to disconnect from Christianity because of the Fatherly connotations. She turns to the spiriutality within herself. I can't turn into myself for power and strength...I end! But I can turn into the power of God to release all the potent potential he placed in me (in everyone) from the beginning of my life. Anyway, there's my second round of perspective on the book.


Links to this post:

Create a Link