Janice and I are blessed with two adult daughters and one granddaughter. We also have an adult son and four grandsons, but this little piece is not about the boys—it is all about the girls. It should pain our hearts deeply whenever women are mistreated—all the way from a failure to being appreciated to the tragic stories we hear of abuse. No one who understands what it means to be a man will treat a women in that fashion and its a mark of our fallenness that we do. I know it bruises our Father’s heart.
Being a woman is a blessed thing. That’s the message of creation. God creates man from the dust of the ground but creates woman from man’s rib. Adam, who up until this time has been hanging out with alligators, elephants, monkeys and other animals, is thrilled to have a companion that corresponds to him (“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” – Genesis 2:23).
Then we’re told in 5:1-2 that, “When God created mankind, He made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them.” God created man as male and female. There is wonderful diversity as they are created differently and and that difference goes all the way down to the cellular level. But there is also an overarching unity as they are both created to image God. Eve is made to be a woman, a wife, and a mother while Adam is made to be a man, a husband, and a father. Nonetheless, there is equality as they are both made to be image bearers of God. Since being an image bearer of God is a blessed thing, being a woman is too.
That’s not exactly the message we get from culture where women are often celebrated in direct proportion to how much they can act like a man. Our cultural prophets (entertainers, politicians, influencers, the news media) all work hard to disproportionally expose us to women who work in traditionally male professions (firefighting, logging, military special forces, etc.). Or they showcase women playing football, dunking a basketball or wrestling against guys. Or in the worst-case scenarios, we have a series of raunchy movies about groomsmen, so a series of raunchy movies about bridesmaids are made in response to show that women are equally capable of getting drunk or high and acting in crude and coarse ways.
Meanwhile, we hear very little about distinctly feminine accomplishments (I read 65 quotes from “strong women”—mostly entertainers, politicians, etc.,—and there was nothing in them concerning motherhood. Does motherhood have nothing to do with being a strong woman?). What is the message in all of this? Apparently, it is to convince us that women can do anything men can do. This is as patently false and unhealthy as the message men can do anything women can do, but it is needed by those who confuse being equal with being identical.
If we consistently put before girls and young ladies the idea that strong women are those who act like men—doesn’t the not-so-hidden message become that they are only important to the degree they are like men? What a ridiculous and harmful message! No wonder there is so much confusion about in our culture about basic gender matters.
If you look at the symbols for man and woman to the right, you’ll notice that there is a common area. We can think of this as representing those areas where men and women overlap and do the same things. In this area, women might be better in regard to some things, while men might be better in some other things. Then notice that there is an area of the circles that are uniquely male and female. This represent areas where men and women are different by creation. Some in our culture seem to be fixated in their thinking about women in the sense that they focus only on the overlapping area or even try to push women into man’s unique area. And as has been noted, there is virtually no positive attention to the uniquely female area unless it is the back of the hand given to it by constantly emphasizing that strong women don’t do things in this domain.
The truth is, God created men to be men and to fully occupy their domain. He created women to be women and fully embrace their domain. The failure to recognize these basic creation truths leads to all sorts of unhealthy consequences.