Thursday, March 20, 2014

Retaining Honour: Post 1

We are confused about gender.  “We” meaning society in general, the church far too often, and me in particular, at times.

Today, someone posted a picture of one of the Duck Dynasty guys supposedly saying, “Listen up ladies, if your man doesn’t know how to hunt and fish, you have a girlfriend.”

Is that really what it means to be a man?  Maybe it’s no wonder people wonder if they were born with the “right” gender.

Meanwhile, news feeds and radio programs offer updates on the latest contrived ways to make women realize their potential.

I heard an NPR program the other day in which they interviewed a woman who devised programs to get girls into STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] classes.  She sounded quite ambitious on behalf of females, but in glaring dissonance, she spoke in that terrible irritating “uptalk” so prevalent among young women, where almost every phrase sounds all uncertain, like a question requiring affirmation before she can continue.  “And I worked with a professor?  Who was almost entirely lecture based??  And I was like, developing more hands-on technical material???”

“How can we encourage our daughters to try STEM fields?” said the interviewer.

“The important thing?  Is to teach them?  Not to be afraid of failure??” replied this shining example of confident intelligent womanhood.


Sheryl Sandberg says women should lean in, and girls should be bossy but we shouldn’t use that word.

A young man from a conservative Mennonite church in the Midwest told me how much he likes to hunt, thereby qualifying as masculine by the Duck Dynasty standard.  And, interestingly, by his church’s gauge as well.  “Do girls in your church go hunting?” I asked him.  He said, “No, we actually have a rule that they can’t.”

I thought but did not say: A—Nothing would make me want to go hunting like knowing there’s a rule against it.  And B—I hope you also have a rule that men can’t crochet.


I don’t have a lot of answers but writing things down helps me to figure out what I think.  So I plan to write a series of short blog posts cogitating on various aspects of what gender in general and femaleness in particular mean.

I was intrigued with this format when a Facebook friend named Bethany Eicher used a series of short posts to explore the subject of submission in marriage. [] Unlike her, I am not brave enough to discuss submission at this point.  In fact, I am not into controversy and will shut things down if too much controversy erupts.  

Also, I am not an expert and there are plenty of issues I will not cover.  This will be just me talking so take it as such.

Tomorrow: design, creation, and sources for ideas.

Proverbs 11: 16--A gracious woman retaineth honour. . .


  1. Looking forward to this! I have some pretty strong opinions on the topic, but I think your wealth of wisdom could probably teach me a thing or two.

  2. I'm looking forward to this as well. I enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Yes, Yes, Yes, I want to hear. As a conservative Mennonite woman in college at the moment and in an advisory position to an Amish company and unafraid of public speaking and I won't say what else . . . "A woman's role" has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I am so happy that you are writing about this.

  4. Dorcas, I am new to your blog, and I am so glad I found it. This post, and apparent series, says a lot of what has been on my heart, lately. It is good to know I am not the only one with a feeling that femininity--lovely, Godly femininity--is beautiful and is to be embraced. Lately, I have felt a call to pass this on to the young ladies of the world, as well as the beauty of modesty, and the gift of being able to serve one's family in marriage. I was not raised this way, but slowly, have seen and learned the value of it. Thank you for being such a wise woman, and for sharing your words and thoughts.

  5. My thoughts about the young woman being interviewed on NPR. That "annoying" uptick at the end of each sentence is something we noticed when we moved to Canada and especially on the reserves. Some of the ladies there raised the pitch of their voice at the end of every sentence. That said, I agree with what you shared so far.

  6. My mind immediately went to my husbands Aunt when you mentioned everything being said as a question. She talks the same way. And then I read the comments & saw someone said people in Canada talk that way, which was interesting because my husbands Aunt just happens to be from, you guessed it, Canada.

  7. This looks to be interesting and I wait with bated breath!

  8. Looks like it could be interesting. But do have an idea of my own!

    I sometimes wonder if the controversy in male/female roles in work can not be attributed to more people having moved off the farm. Girls no longer grow up working with dad feeding animals, driving the tractor, combines, climbing trees, hay bales in the barn - in short working alongside dad on the farm doing male things. We grew up and were glad to leave this work behind. We got it out of our system. These poor girls who did not have this experience cry for it because it has never been fulfilled.

    My theory.

  9. Bravo for grappling with this issue. We so much need a brave voice to guide us out of the murkiness. I'm with you in being convinced that design denotes purpose, and that purpose is GOOD.

  10. This is a good topic to's certainly something that people seem to be getting more and more confused about. There is certainly nothing feminine about my Grandpa, and yet he was never a hunter and could hardly bring himself to kill his pets when they got to the point where that was a mercy.

    I was surprised to read in the comments that some people think the thing of all sentences sounding like a question is how Canadians talk. I have lived in Canada all my life, and I would definitely not say it is a characteristic of the majority of Canadians. Some, yes, the same as some in the States talk that way too. And I was especially surprised to hear that that is something prevalent on the reserves.....where I am, the Aboriginal people would generally be the very last to talk that way. Canada is a very big country, and there are many different ways of talking.

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  12. I’m still grappling with the idea there’s a church which has rules that a women can’t go hunting?!! So what, men can’t cook or bake there? Which would be an equal travesty.