I wanted to highlight a nice post over the Old Country by Nathaniel Givens, titled “I Believe in Gender Roles.”
Nathaniel Givens is revealing himself as a worthwhile blogger, despite his dubious choice of precincts. He often has some surprising insights, he doesn’t approach the apostles with a guilty-until-proven innocent attitude, and he’s willing to believe the evidence of his senses. He’s something of a squish, but most everyone is these days.
Anyhow, on traditional sex roles, he makes three important points:
1. The prophets aren’t just talking to hear themselves talk.
2. Having kids teaches you real quick that the whole man and woman thing isn’t some arbitrary social construct. There is a real biological template there on which the social sex roles of a particular culture and time are built.
3. The sex roles are blessings and challenges for everybody. They are not one-sided candy for men. In fact, in the modern world, they are increasingly difficult for men. Feminist whining to the contrary has the myopia that only extreme self-centeredness can bring.
his essay really spoke to me, especially the part about sacrificing the dream of being a writer to be a dad instead, and envying your wife the warm relationship she has with the kids.
Also, that bit about the different reactions to being scared. I loved chasing my daughters and they loveed it to, but my son’s reaction is to charge at me. Just like Givens’ son, he literally lowers his head like a bull and charges. It’s disconcerting. He also thinks hitting is fun. He’ll just walk up to me, grin, and slug me. If I slug him back, he laughs.
He likes playing with dolls some, and my girls liked playing with trucks some, but there is a distinct preference there that doesn’t come from any express encouragement on our part, since our attitude towards kids playing is more or less ‘go play and get out of my hair.’ He also just ignores people for hours on end but cannot ignore anything big or noisy or that’s working machinery. My girls don’t just blow people off, thank goodness, but him, if he’s not wanting something from you or if you’re not in his face, you don’t exist.
He also from a very young age recognized the difference between men and women. Before he could talk, if memory serves. If he’s not off in his own world, men he watches intently, but also often like he’s trying to keep a low profile. Women he’s more likely to ignore, but when he doesn’t ignore them, he’s more likely to interact with them. My wife describes it as flirting, and its hard to disagree with her. It sure as heck looks like flirting. A couple of months ago I had him in the grocery story and there was another two-year old behind us, a cute little blonde girl, and I swear to goodness that he turned around, caught sight of her, and literally dropped his jaw while staring. To the point where her parents got uncomfortable and asked me if I could distract him or something.
I had a similar experience when I was little. I had my first crush on a girl in second grade. I was potty trained at age 3 by a three-year old girl sniffing that big boys don’t wear diapers, whereupon, my mother tells me, I blushed and literally never needed a diaper again. (Incidentally, my own experience makes me more sympathetic to gays who say that they always knew they were gay even before they went through puberty).
Our girls obey both me and my wife about equally–not perfect obedience but about equal imperfect but mostly acceptable obedience. My son, on the other hand, frequently flatly refuses to obey his mother and won’t do it at all until the levels of repression have been significantly amped up. Whereas if he hears my voice get angry or sees my face get mad, he STOPS. Literally, he freezes. If he’s crying, he goes suddenly, dramatically quiet. It’s like he’s very attuned to the possibilities of male aggression.
Anyhow, the whole unisex egalitarian notion requires levels of reality denial that I couldn’t bring myself to stomach even if I were so inclined. You can’t really accept evolution or history or culture or the prophets and deny sex differences.