Interesting read on manhood and womanhood from 1903. Author a Congregationalist theologian, though liberal in many convictions.
The first and most patent fact in the family is the difference in the sexes. Out of this difference the family is created; in this difference the family finds its sweet and sacred bond. This difference is not merely physical and incidental. It is also psychical and essential. It inheres in the temperament; it is inbred in the very fibre of the soul; it differentiates the functions; it determines the relation between man and woman; it fixes their mutual service and their mutual obligations. Man is not woman in a different case. Woman is not man inhabiting temporarily a different kind of body. Man is not a rough-and-tumble woman. Woman is not a feeble and pliable man.
Reading this makes me think that feminism, in its history, has been subject to the law of unintended consequences on more that one occasion.
The first wave of feminism gave women the vote in 1920 (in the USA). But that wave of feminism led, in time, to the second wave of feminism in the 1960s which gave us things which the first wave of feminists might well have found horrifying.
And now the second wave of feminism is being aflicted with this as well, in a couple of ways. One problem is what is sometimes called third-wave feminism, which sees things like p*rn as “female empowerment”, when older feminists would see it, quite correctly, as a way in which women are abused.
The other is the current enthusiasm for things trans-gender. A number of feminists (some lesbian, some not) have come out in the last little while pointing out what’s wrong/silly/revolting with the whole idea. For their troubles they have earned the sobriquet of “TERFs” (trans-excluding-radical-feminists), and the trans community despise them. Watch this space.
This is a fascinating article. Perhaps the most fascinating thing is that The Atlantic still has it on their website.
Another unintended consequence pointed out in this article, one that had never crossed my mind, is the inevitability of women in the military and police force once they began voting. Obviously feminism was the driving force behind both, but the reality of one being the consequence of another had not occurred to me.
It just goes to show the importance of thinking down range when you are making decisions. As someone once said, ideas have consequences, and often more benign ideas end in awful places.
Well, the law of unintended consequences can affect Christians as well. E.g. Luther’s attacks on the Jews are a case in point. Luther’s remarks were picked up by the Nazis four centuries later, and quoted almost verbatim. OK, that’s an extreme example, but you get my drift.