I recently read a news story on a report the Pentagon did involving women in combat roles. They made two teams, one a mixture of men and women, the other was all male. They did a series of tests and training manuevers and in the end one team won easily…the all male group. They found that the male group tended to work better together, work quicker, and were generally better shots with less training than the women who had more.
At this point, we could start rattling off unnecessary jokes about why these results came out the way they did. But that’s not what I’m aiming for.
We live in a culture obsessed with equality. Not a bad thing all the way through, but the question could be asked if we even know what equality is. The culture tends to define it as being completely the same, we can all do the same thing, have the same rights and privileges, we’re all basically the same except in how we look. Perhaps the underlying desire is unity. We want to be “one global tribe” and feel the only way to do that is to erase what makes us individuals.
And so we come to the distinctions between men and women. In our quest for equality, we think that in order to honor women and show them respect, we must treat them like men, expect them to do what men can do. But there’s the rub: can women do what men can? It’s a pertinent question, as the Pentagon study proves. The culture wants us to think that women can, in fact, do what men do and do it just as well.
But we could label this a “blind quest for equality.” The military study shows this clearly. Women can do the same things as men, and maybe on certain levels do it better, but it’s an obvious struggle. As we rush madly to make everything equal, are we losing sight of who we uniquely are?
The Bible, contrary to popular opinion, has a unique and balanced view of the roles men and women play. Women aren’t solely relegated to the kitchen and the laundry room like so many joke, but are seen as integral parts of society. You can read through perhaps the most famous passage in the Bible about women, Proverbs 31, and you might be surprised. A virtuous women is seen not only keeping her house in order, but helping provide for her family and taking part in business. You can look through the rest of the Bible and find a variety of women in a variety of roles.
But here’s the countercultural part: while men and women are created equal in the sight of God, they have markedly different roles. They’re seen as unique people who have much in common and yet are very unique in how they think and act. They have different strengths and different weaknesses. They’re not entirely the same, but are two unique creatures.
A year or two ago an ad campaign went viral in which various females were showing how it’s not a bad thing to “hit like a girl.” I think there’s value in this. A woman may not hit someone as hard as a man can, but maybe that’s not her strength. And that’s okay. We should seek to turn culture away from this “blind” equality and start looking at the unique differences between the genders. I think then we’ll have a society in which men and women have a greater respect for each other.