Week 39 in the year of our Lord 2021

Men v. women v. womanly men

11 minutes to read

Women are the only realists; their whole object in life is to pit their realism against the extravagant, excessive, and occasionally drunken idealism of men. ―G.K. Chesterton

There is plenty of research on both the psychological and the physical dimorphism of men and women. But one of the more interesting lines of research is actually on the dimorphism between men and men.

There are especially intriguing dimorphic trends connected with conservative versus liberal ideologies.

The causality of this dimorphism seems to work both ways. Becoming more conservative is likely to change you, both psychologically and physically; but also, people with particular psychological and physical characteristics are more likely to be conservative to begin with.

It’s also worth noting in this regard that what we’re talking about here is a kind of “instinctual” affiliation that is often pre-reflective—or at least not carefully-considered.

The breakdown looks something like this:

  • Conservatives are generally more physically competent, confident, and attractive. Liberals are generally smaller, uglier, and more physically timid.
  • Conservatives generally expect and desire to be independent and to figure things out for themselves. They aren’t against receiving help, but they don’t like being treated like children. Liberals generally expect and desire to be dependent and to have others do things for them. They not only want help, but hand-holding, and they respond to going it alone with defense rather than offense.
  • Conservatives have a healthy distrust of being told what or how to think. They assume that they can and should decide for themselves, and that anyone trying to short-circuit that process is not acting in their best interests. Liberals distrust themselves and defer to perceived expertise along ideological lines. They are quick to assume that superior knowledge is an indicator of superior character.

(If you would like to see some of the research detailing these findings, members of Tyrannus Hall can access it in our reference library.)

These are tendencies, not hard rules. And we have a firm enough finger on the pulse of conservative Christianity, and our own hearts, to know there’s nothing worth boasting about there. But they are helpful tendencies to understand all the same. The visible images the invisible; and vice versa.

Incidentally, these three tendencies roughly line up with our biblical triad of masculine virtues: strength, workmanship, wisdom. We have a chapter dedicated to these in our forthcoming book, It’s Good To Be A Man: A Handbook For Godly Masculinity, which we’re expecting to roll off the press in a few weeks. We’ll let you know as soon as we have a way for you to pre-order this.

There is a difference between reactiveness and responsiveness.

In general, when having to deal with a situation, reactiveness is a naturally womanly trait. But this doesn’t mean that men don’t easily fall into it; nor that responsiveness comes naturally to us instead.

Men, as leaders, should avoid being reactive, but we should also proactively work at being responsive. This is especially true if you are dealing with emotionally volatile situations, as you often are if you are a father.

One way to explain the difference is like this:

  • With reactiveness, when someone’s emotions are communicated to you, they act like a force of inertia, moving you to act in turn. An equal and opposite reaction. When this happens, they are the main force behind your actions, and so your actions are primarily determined by the other person’s emotions. Think of your kids getting angry and yelling at you. If your response is automatically to try to yell louder, you are being reactive.
  • With responsiveness, when someone’s emotions are communicated to you, your own “internal mass” is enough to prevent them from simply pushing you into an equal and opposite reaction. It is not that you are unmoved; you aren’t emotionally detached and unresponsive. Rather, the energy of the emotion moves you to consider the best response, and then your own internal energy moves you to enact that response. The original emotion is not the main force behind your response; rather, you are. So instead of yelling at your kids, for example, you differentiate yourself from their emotions and speak more quietly to bring the energy levels down.

Multi-tasking: The art of doing twice as much as you should, half as well as you could.

It’s effeminate (womanly) for men to constantly post selfies focused on their appearance alone. This should be common sense, but in a world of “clueless bastards,” that is often lacking—so consider a study that conforms the obvious:

Women post more selfies focused on appearance. Researchers surveyed 2.5 million selfies collected from social media. Which sex took the majority of those selfies? Women (59%). Obviously the majority would be women. Who needs a study for this stuff? Well, people whose thinking has been androgynized.

But there’s more. The sexes don’t just differ in the percentage of selfies they post, but also in the type. For example, men “post selfies the most in categories that signal strength and skill, both traits typically associated with masculinity and being a viable mate.”

How about women? “Women…dominate categories concerning personal appearances, fashion, and health. Many of these categories emphasize aspects of a person’s appearance that indicates good health and attractiveness.”

Why? Well, Scripture emphasizes that men are designed to be strong, and women to be beautiful. (If this is news to you, check out our podcast on the doxological purpose of sex: part 1 and part 2.)

Can there be strong women? Sure.

Can there be beautiful men? Sure.

But the orientation and value of these traits differ along sexual lines, due to the unique but overlapping purposes of the sexes.

Men know that they’ll be measured in large part on their strength and skill—so they post selfies that focus on these things.

Women know that they’ll be measured in large part on their beauty and elegance—so they post selfies that focus on these instead.

This is only natural.

What is not natural is for a man to constantly make a display of his beauty. This doesn’t mean it’s unmanly to care about appearance. But vanity is effeminate. It is natural for women to have a preoccupation with beauty—not men.

Of course, this womanly preoccupation can easily turn into sin as well. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it won’t be corrupted by sin. Total depravity is real. Hence, Scripture repeatedly warns women about vanity tied to physical appearance (e.g. 1 Tim 2:9–10; Pr 31:31; 1 Pet 3:3–4, etc). Because of our natural differences, this is a sin more common to women, not men.

Men who inordinately post selfies displaying their personal beauty—and this includes body-builders—are engaging in a womanly tendency. Hence, it’s effeminate behavior. Clement wrote about effeminacy in The Paedagogus. As did Calvin, in his commentary. But few Christians read old books.

If you aren’t satisfied by sense that was once common, you can read the aforementioned study here:


From Tyrannus Hall: #

Diversions happen. They come in many different ways, from a death of a loved one, medical appointments, an unexpected visit from an old friend, or otherwise. There’s no avoiding them.

You can, however, make the best of them.

To do this, when they come up ask:

  • How much does this diversion require of me?
  • How long will this diversion take of my time?
  • Is this diversion worth my attention, or can ignore it or delegate it?

Asking these questions will help you maximize the ROI you receive while handling the diversion.

Once you know what the diversion will require of you, then you can determine ways you can make the most of the situation. Here are some suggestions:

  • Can you use this as an opportunity to catch up on some reading or a podcast?
  • Can this be an opportunity to learn something valuable that will help you or others in the future?
  • Can I take my work with me? Is there an aspect of a project I’m working on that can be done in this situation?

Some thoughts while I’m on my third hour waiting for a friend to get out of the doctor’s office.

For the ladies: #

A brief thread on homemaking from Michael’s wife, Emily:

It is impossible to overstate the importance of cultivating a godly home. Our culture diminishes homemakers. It is so much more than folding laundry, cleaning toilets and making meal plans. It’s about tone and atmosphere.

Godly and happy homes don’t just happen. They are made. And the parents are the ones who make a home what it is. If it is happy, they are the authors of the happiness. If it be unhappy, it is on them. This is the weight of our duty.

The spirit and influence of the home is a great tool in which God uses for His glory and our good. It is to be a haven, a respite for your husband, a place where he can gear up to prepare and go out for battle.

The home is to be a nursery of the nation, a place where the shaping and training of children in godly character happens, a home in which children grow up for true and noble life, for God and for heaven.

The home is to be a beacon of light in this dark world, a place where hospitality is practiced and the gospel is proclaimed in word and deed to all those who passed through its doors and sit at its table.

This is what must be thought of in the making of a home. It’s no easy task. It is something we need cultivate while we are on our knees, praying that God‘s Spirit would be poured out through this place. “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1).

Notable: #

Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

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