Antithetical Conundrums

Firstly, try saying the title of this post quickly after a large scotch (or your favourite drink). Yes I’m a Christian writer who likes whisky – a decent single malt – and movies some “christian” writers would avoid. I’m 41 and I don’t see a problem with either depending on the genre. I’m obviosly not referring to pronographic films or gratuitous violence, but movies such as Braveheart, Gladiator, and Lord of the Rings need the violence to reflect the story itself rather than to fill space and make it a movie not a TV episode.

I read a wonderful article by John Piper recently on the folly of Men arming Women for Battle.
This kind of leads on from my reflections on that.
Barak Obama – a man I don’t agree with in entirety but I have immense respect for as a man of integrity (normally) – recently supported the placing of women in front-line combat units. It was hailed as a sign of equality in the workplace almost universally, with only a handful of dissenting voices – mine among them – who are concerned at the blurring of male and female roles in society.
There are definite roles which are gender specific. Men, on the whole, are built more heavily with higher muscle-mass and strength than the average woman. Don’t shout me down here, it’s a biological fact. I don’t often meet women taller or heavier than me, I’m 6′ tall (181cm) and weight about 100kg (+/- 220lbs – 15-16 stone) I’ve been heavier – 20stone at my heaviest and lighter – 14 stone, but I’m a bit guy. 51″ Chest and shoulders to match. 38″ waist. Suffice to say I’m big and not a lot intimidates me.
My wife is smaller. She’s strong, but I can easily hold her off when we wrestle (and yes I mean wrestle!).
Size isn’t everything and I acknowledge that. A girl I am friends with threw me six feet across a floor using judo moves I’m not trained in. She’s even smaller.
But the fact is that if I were walking her home and we were attacked I’d be horribly out of character to step back because she has a back-belt.
And so the antithesis comes in.
Women were not designed to fight. Muscular women do not show femininity. When Madonna – who I never really thought was that attractive – traded her softness for the muscle look in the 1990’s I was horrified. My muscle definition as a dancer was never that toned. Aside from obvious gender differences she looked more manly than me!
Tonight Barak Obama tweeted “I want every young man in America to know that real men don’t hurt women”.
I totally and completely agree with this statement.
But it is the antithesis of placing a woman on the front line of a combat zone.
Women are formidable warriors, don’t mistake what I’m saying. I’ve seen first-hand the power and strength of a woman protecting her children from an assailant – one who backed off when a man stepped up to help her. But the front line of a war zone is not a place they should be. No matter how they are traned, men are still men. The instinct to protect will still be there.
Women are women. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone uses the “men can’t carry babies” argument, so I’ll leave it out. But watch what games girls and boys play. Boys gravitate to physical games. Rough play is more common. I worked at a primary school some time ago and in the time I was there I didn’t have to break up a single fight between 2 girls, but every single day I had to deal with boys.
I was a quiet boy. I went to a boys school for my secondary education (11-18 years old) but my hobby was ballet. I got ridiculed and accused of homosexual leanings – the other boys had NO idea how difficult it is for a pubescent male to “control” himself in a class of 15-20 attractive girls! But I was shy. I had very little conversation with these young ladies, except one who I was very fond of as a result, and I struggled. As a musician and a dancer rather than athlete and scholar I found it hard to cope much of the time in an environment where I was operating in what that society perceived as a female-led role. Ignoring the physical rigours of ballet and the focus of music, it was a tough time.
But I was a boy. Computer games involved shooting things. I was in the gun club at school – and I was good. I still shoot today (yes I’m a Christian who has no moral objection to hunting with rifles for game like buck, boar etc. I’d never shoot a Lion or Elephant unless it was their life or mine. Deal with it.) I made a bow and arrows. It wasn’t Robin Hood, but it worked – kind of.
But the thought of putting a woman in battle instead of me? Never. My back pains, my knees are stiff and I’m seriously out of shape and I’m over 40. I’d still rather go into battle in my condition than have a healthy 25 year old lady go in for me.
I wouldn’t put her in harm’s way.
Politicians seem to miss that. There are female warriors in Scripture, but the point is made clearly – it is to the shame of the men if they insist the women go with them.
So Mr President, please be consistent. Equal but different roles.
Enough of the antithesis of “political correctness”.
Get back to basics. Equal but Different

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