Manhood Does, Womanhood Is

“Manhood must be demonstrated. It is largely an action. Womanhood is an essence. Manhood does. Womanhood is.” (Qtd by Stanton)

That’s a statement many would challenge today. That there is a difference–and that the difference is significant.

Some might challenge the statement as religious. After all, it is largely in the orthodox corners of Christianity that such discussion happens at all today.

But this statement comes from a secular person–one who did not advocate biblical marriage and sexual purity.

Margaret Mead was a cultural anthropologist and an advocate of “loosening social strictures on sexuality . . . [which]  could lead to more pleasure, and less pain and suffering.”
Hardly a puritanical perspective. Even so, according to Mead, the differences between men and women are innate–born into us; they matter in our daily lives, and they are universal.

“In every known human society, everywhere in the world, the young male learns that when he grows up, one of the things which he must do in order to be a full member of society is to provide food [and protection] for some female and her young. . . .

“[E]very known human society rests firmly on the learned nurturing behavior of men. . . It is the precise opposite for women. They must be ideologically and politically pressured, with great potency, to abandon and ignore their children.”

There is no lack of ideological and political pressure on women to pursue lives that contain minimal involvement with children–especially their own. Our society has few structures in place to support the essence of women and pass on the model of manliness. This passing on of manliness is not religious pablum.

More from Mead:

“[T]his behavior [manliness], being learned, is fragile and can disappear rather easily under social conditions that no longer teach it effectively.”

And no society that works as hard as ours to ignore the differences between men and women can effectively teach manhood.

Teaching manhood requires a traditional view that effectively works in various cultures. We see it in primitive cultures. In the postmodern West, the Christian perspective is a lone voice in a technological wilderness.

The orthodox corners of the Church are where manhood mentoring can and must still occur. Solid families headed by fathers and mothers can pass manhood’s tasks and womanhood’s essence to their own–and perhaps to others around them.

Neither public education nor industry has the impetus nor the freedom to launch such an effort. We in the Church can pass along the truth science now ignores.

Christ calls us to this work in every generation.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

28 Replies to “Manhood Does, Womanhood Is”

  1. After the announcement at the close of a wedding ceremony changed from “I now pronounce you man and wife” to “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” I have come to the conclusion that I like the old version better. I like the idea that a male isn’t considered a man until he has made a commitment to a woman. I thought it was just me, but it looks like many cultures best me to that idea. ?

  2. Very interesting conclusions. Society today has diminished manhood and especially with the homosexual transgender movement forcing people to accept men who want to be women. God made men and women different for a reason so we can fulfill our earthly roles. But in the spirit there is neither male nor female because God sees us all as equals.

  3. Even secular sources recognize truth. So sad that in their efforts to corrupt our God-given identity, our culture has substituted identities that increase confusion, decrease peace, multiply despair, and ultimately run away from the only true source of peace and love. My heart aches for our sin-sick world!

  4. This is thought provoking and well done, Nancy. I find it very true that for me, my nature is to love and nurture. That is who God created me to be as a woman. It takes effort and intentionality to go against that nature… and I don’t want to. I think my love, compassion and nurturing spirit is a wonderful way to serve the Lord.

  5. This is so true! I know four responsible adult young men, and each one of them stepped into a loving and nurturing posture and role in their families.This is good! And yet, in some of these relationships, the woman’s family training led her to neglect the children, to seek a career that kept her away from them, or to abandon the marriage commitment. Young adults need to consider carefully the expectations of the birth family of origin of any partner they consider for a committed relationship.

  6. “Womanhood is an essence.” I love that quote. And I like your method of argument here. The unexpected sources add credibility.

  7. The differences between men and women are so many we could discuss indefinitely and have a plethora of viewpoints. A discussion of how to “teach” males and females their appropriate roles in society could be just a lengthy. Our Scripture provides many examples for us all to be hard-working, loving, serve as leaders and as followers, live with good character, care for our children–no matter our gender. Perhaps our greatest example is Jesus who cherished children, women, and men, while offering kindness, love, and respect to all. Thank you for a message to help us all reflect, not only on our own roles in our world, but how we impact others in determining how they will love God, one another, and themselves while still finding their place.

  8. I agree with all you said and found it very interesting. This offers me a new perspective on the sexes so thanks for sharing, Nancy

  9. Nancy, your presentation of this topic and the responsibility of Christian families is spot on. I also find it interesting that testosterone levels in men have been steadily declining as we see this cultural shift. Great article!

  10. Made me think. “Train your children in the way they should go…” The Biblical principles are the same for us all, but each one of us needs a little more help in individual areas.

  11. This is the natural desired outcome of the father-son relationship. Dad teaching his son to play a sport, to be successful in that sport, to be part of learning to lead, to work as a team, and not to quit when adversity arrives and it will. When sons see fathers working, it is a life lesson. It resonates as the child reaches adulthood. Even if the dad does not realize it, he is the example they see. I have 3 sons. All at one time or another have commented to me that I was a great example of working hard; it pays off. I was not even thinking that. I just wanted to provide. Of course I had a good example to follow.

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