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Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Jesus and Stereotypical "Female" Qualities
I recently came across a series of short articles by the Washington Post that, in one way or another, are addressing this question:

Have women fared well or badly in the world's religions down through the ages? Why?

I'd particularly interested in the article entitled "Stereotypical 'Female' Qualities Are Core of What Jesus Taught."

I'd be curious to hear everyone's opinions on the piece - do you consider values like compassion, sensitivity, empathy and intellectual honesty to be more stereotypically "feminine" in nature?

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posted by Lydia at 9:48 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/23/2007 11:05:00 AM, Blogger Amy

    I do think that, traditionally, many of those qualities have been assumed to be more feminine than masculine.

    I did find it interesting that the article was written by a leader in the Church of Latter Day Saints. I spent most of my high school years in Utah and know from that experience that the LDS church has conservative views on women. It makes me wonder how, even when we value feminine characteristics, that changes our conceptualization of women.

  • At 1/23/2007 11:25:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    I did find it interesting that the article was written by a leader in the Church of Latter Day Saints

    As did I.

    It would have been more of a run-of-the-mill article had it been written by someone else.

  • At 1/23/2007 06:05:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    After reading many of the comments, it seems that it doesn't matter what Branch under the "Christianity" umbrella you fall, the same situations seem to arise. You have the people who defend "their" interpretations, and those who believe we need to re-evaluate.
    I live in an area with a huge Mormon community. I used to think, "Why are they so easily convinced in believing what only began with in the last couple of centuries?" I have to admit, I am a little more forgiving and not as harsh as I used to be. That sentiment was more from my arrogance "that I had the Right way, and they were Wrong".

    Now that I have changed many positions in my own beliefs, I see things in such a different light.
    Whatever you are raised with, Baptist, Mormon, Catholic, etc. it is very hard to see anything outside of the belief you were given. Most of the time, it is taught in any of those, that if you break with the tradition you are being deceived, turning your back on God, etc.

    To address your question, I would say that women as a whole have probably not fared well through the ages. I am feeling more and more, that women have been kept on a short leash. As long as we live up to "men's expectations" and what is perceived as God's wishes we are fine, but if it is questioned, it is shot down.

    I found it interesting that some of the comments discussed how "revelation" comes "from God through the men".

    That isn't much different than the churches I have been in. Women could have relationships with God, but if they felt God had called them to certain things, such as leadership or being pastors, then they were mistaken. Those kind of "revelations" couldn't be from God.
    I think through the ages, men have "gotten" some things wrong...(slavery), so how are we so sure that those "revelations" have been interpreted "correctly"?

  • At 1/23/2007 09:51:00 PM, Blogger Cary

    I would definitely agree that these (and other) characteristics are traditionally considered more feminine. And maybe some of them do, statistically speaking, come more naturally for females.

    As the mother of two little boys, I try to be really careful about this. I sincerely hope that I can foster these qualities in them. I think it is SO important for little boys to learn right from the get-go that it's okay (whoa...more than okay--it's vital)to be compassionate, caring, openly emotional (at least at times), etc. I think it's important for little boys to be exposed to baby dolls, or at least be allowed to use their action figures as babies (my 18 mth old and I frequently cuddle his Superman, while saying things like "love the baby, kiss the baby").

    As important as I believe it is for the parents of little girls to help empower them and teach them that they are not confined to "girl jobs," that they can be CEOs, lawyers, mechanics, etc. I think it's also vital that little boys understand that they can be nurses, teachers, stay-at-home daddies, etc. They need to know that it's okay to cry in public, that if they choose to be husbands and dads loving their families and being more than just an occasional presence is even more important than climbing that corporate ladder.

    I think as women we tend to focus more on the female aspect of the imbalanced gender issues in the church. I believe shaping our males is just as important, and it's a shame that it's being largely ignored.

  • At 1/24/2007 07:47:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Cary, I totally agree. In some ways, the best way to address the problem for men AND women in terms of future generations is to raise children who are comfortable being themselves and listening to God's call, whatever it is. I think you're right that the male side of this is often minimized. If we focus more on helping our boys be whole, loving, respectful human beings who are connected and able to feel and manage their feelings constructively, hopefully future generations won't have to fight gender imbalances that hurt human beings of both sexes.

    I am lucky to be married to a man who embodies more "feminine" qualitites than the average dude, and I know it is very hard for him. He feels like he doesn't have good friends because he cannot relate to most guys. This should not be the way it is.


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