Gender is a Cage

Prison Bars

This is a repost of an article I wrote in 2015.

George Gilder wrote the following paragraphs in 1986.

To the sexual liberal, gender is a cage. Behind cruel bars of custom and tradition, men and women for centuries have looked longingly across forbidden spaces at one another and yearned to be free of sexual roles. The men dream of nurturing and consoling; the women want to be tough and child free. Today it is widely believed that the dream of escape can come at last.

This belief leads to a program of mixing the sexes in every possible way, at every stage of life. In nurseries and schools, in athletics and home economics, in sex education and social life, the sexes are thrown together in the continuing effort to create a unisex society. But the results are rarely as expected, and the policies are mostly founded on confusion.

Some of the confusions arise in the schools, where the androgynous agenda has made the greatest apparent headway and its effects can best be studied. It turns out what seems elemental to many expert educationists is actually bizarre from the long perspective of history and anthropology.

Until recent years, for example, most American parochial schools have kept strict sexual segregation. The boys and girls joined chiefly on ceremonial occasions-assemblies and graduations. Even the playground was divided into male and female territories. The restrictions were lifted only during carefully supervised dances, when young couples made their way chastely around the floor of the gym under the watchful eyes of nuns. Any unseemly body contact brought a swift reprimand: “Leave six inches for the Holy Ghost.”

There is no room for the Holy Ghost any longer at most of our schools. The bodies and minds rub together from kindergarten to graduate study. The result is perfectly predictable. Sexual activity occurs at an increasingly younger age. In communities where the family cannot  impose discipline, illegitimate children are common. Classrooms become an intensely sexual arena, where girls and boys perform for the attention of the other sex and where unintellectual males quickly come to view schoolbooks as a menace to manhood.

He closes the chapter with these words:

In the United States and Western Europe girls and boys are expected to traffic together intimately for years before they can marry. They are subjected to intense sexual distractions and competitions during the critical stages of their educations. They are brought up in a society where sex is continuously advertised and propagandized.

The result is that boys and girls are driven into periods of sexual experimentation and stress unparalleled in length or intensity by other societies. One aspect of sex is drastically downplayed, however, and that is the most important, fundamental, and sexually differentiated part-procreation. 

Thus the American system of increasingly far-reaching sexual integration vividly teaches the lesson that boys and girls are sexually similar and that sex is a matter of exchanging pleasures between them in a reciprocal way. This approach is inimical [hostile] to durable love and marriage. The boys do not learn to venerate the procreative powers of women, and the girls stunt their own consciousness of a more elaborate sexuality. Thus, in effect, despite the feminized regimen of many schools, in sex itself-the domain of women- masculine patterns prevail and both sexes are diminished.

The advocates of sexual integration, moreover, seem ready to stop at virtually nothing-not sex education classes, not sports, not even, so it seems, the ultimate male arena of military combat.

Stephen Clark in Man and Woman in Christ says that boys and girls spend more time together now than at any previous point in human history. What impact does that have on their emotional, physical, and spiritual development? Gilder’s point throughout this chapter is that we have created an androgynous society where men and women are interchangeable and integrated across the board. They are educated in the same rooms and in the same way. They work in the same fields. They play on the same sports teams. They play the same sports. They both are encouraged to pursue careers. We have women firefighters, women kicking down doors and arresting drug dealers, women fighting ISIS, and men staying at home. There is no incentive to marry, raise children, and establish a family. Men are not encouraged to provide because after all the wife (or lover or girlfriend or mom) can provide just as well. Women are not encouraged to use their young years to do the great work of  bearing children. Instead they are encouraged to spend the younger years pursuing money, status, and freedom. And of course, the men are happy to let them, as long they get an occasional favor.

Since Gilder wrote things have only gotten worse. Can we tell boys and girls they are the same from daycare to graduate school and then expect boys to become men and girls to become women? Why are we shocked by feminism, sodomy, lesbianism, transgender bathrooms, and extensive pornography when for decades we have taught that men and women are interchangeable? The slow, steady obliteration of male and female, fueled by rebellion against God’s created order is the goal of our society. Unfortunately many churches and Christians are either on board with the agenda, too naive to see it, or too cowardly to fight.  Why do so many churches, denominations, and Christians raise their sons and daughters as if they are the same? Until we acknowledge that men and women are different and train our children that way we will continue to lose the battle on sexuality.