CTBHHM: Taming Wild Horses and Lassoing Bears

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 105-106

Weirdly, this passage actually succeeded in making me more angry than have just about all of the passages so far, but in some sense a different sort of angry. Rather than just saying “What?! No!” after every sentence, I’m going to make four distinct points as I address what she said (along with plenty of “What?! No!”s, of course): The variation within each gender overlaps; Much of what we perceive as innate gender roles is actually socially constructed; Men aren’t foreign entities and shouldn’t be viewed as such; and Masculinity and femininity have been defined differently in different societies and at different times. Now, with that outline, let’s get started!

God created man with a nature that is aggressive, and then commanded him to exercise dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:28). He created the male sex with an extra dose of testosterone, which provokes him to want to work hard, conquer everything in his path, and subdue all things. This is why the male sex is at the forefront of military conquests, exploration, architecture, science, inventions, etc.

You know, the fact that women have in many cultures been barred from the military might play a role in the male sex being at its forefront, for example. Heck, for that matter, the fact that women have in many societies been barred from things like exploration, architecture, science, and inventions might play a role as well! Debi also seems to be oblivious to the fact that there have been important female military leaders, explorers, architects, scientists, and inventors. Marie Curie, anyone?

Also, by bringing both testosterone and the Bible into the picture, Debi is using both God and “science” to back up her assertions. But the problem is the same as the problem young earth creationists have—when they appeal to science, they are doing bad science. And that leads us to:

Point #1: It’s true that men do have more testosterone than women, but research shows that men and women overlap more psychologically than they differ. In other words, for every man who feels the need to conquer and subdue, there is a woman who feel the same—and a man who doesn’t feel this need at all. It’s a spectrum and continuum, not a dichotomy—human experience varies from individual to individual, and isn’t something you can simply shove into neat and tidy boxes.

No woman would ever go out and tame a wild horse and make a rope out of its mane and tail, and then go out and find a bear and lasso it just to prove that she could—laughing the whole time.

Believe it or not, I don’t know a single man who would do that either. And that, I think, is the problem with what Debi is doing in this section. Like I said above, men and women exist on a continuum, not in a completely separated dichotomy. There may be a few men out there who would do what Debi describes—but if there are, there are almost certainly a few women who would do it as well.

If women were inventors, they would make minivans. Men make four-wheel drive vehicles and then modify them so that they will stand higher and drive faster. They will even put a winch on the front so they can traverse places meant only for alligators or mountain goats.

But women are inventors (here’s a short list). In fact, it might surprise Debi to know that the windshield wiper was invented by a woman, for instance—and that’s without even getting into it.

Debi says female inventors (if they existed) would invent useful things while male inventors invent fast and big and dangerous things—but if this were true, wouldn’t having woman inventors be a good thing? I’ve often thought that if what people like Debi say about men and women was actually true—if women really were extra caring and nurturing and practical while men were extra aggressive and militaristic and impractical—the natural conclusion ought to be that women should rule the world and protect men from themselves. But that’s never the conclusion women like Debi come to. Instead, they often almost seem to say “men are assholes, but they are the assholes God put in charge.”

Men fly to the moon, climb treacherous mountains, fight wild animals, challenge each other at any sport, and laugh with loud hilarious delight the whole time. They like to play or watch games where they knock each other down, just to prove who is the strongest and toughest. Everything they do must end with a testosterone-driven climax. And they think we ladies are hard to understand!

Does Debi seriously think that no woman has ever been to the moon because no woman has ever wanted to go to the moon? Really? Also, believe it or not, there are female mountain climbers. And yes, there are female boxers. And actually, not every man likes to play or watch games where they knock each other down! Some men aren’t interested in proving who is the strongest and toughest! Arg, Debi!

Point #2: To the extent that men are more interested in proving who is the strongest and toughest than are women (and given the variability within each gender that I already mentioned, I’m not sure to what extent this is actually true), how are we supposed to know what of that is actually testosterone  (or other biological differences) and what is social conditioning? After all, our society encourages boys to be daring and competitive and encourages girls to be compassionate and caring. And as that changes—and it has been changing—we’ve seen an increasing number of women interested in these supposedly masculine areas. In other words, Debi is completely ignoring the role of social conditioning in forcing men and women into the gender roles society lays out for them.

Point #3: Also, and this has been bothering me for a while, what is the good in perpetuating this idea that men are these foreign beings that are impossible to understand? In a world of increasingly fluid gender roles and greater equality, this is simply not true, if it ever really was. When people say the other sex is hard to understand, what they really mean is they don’t want to try, and would rather write them off as “the other.” This isn’t healthy and it certainly does not foster understanding between men and women—or mature relationships.

A woman can do just about anything a man can do, but it is always the men who invent it and then eventually invite the ladies along just to make it more interesting. Testosterone again!

Uhhh . . . wow. Look, you can’t actually write off every bit of gender inequality that exists by attributing it to testosterone and thus making it unchangeable and natural. Also, this is incredibly respectful to all of the amazing women who have been powerful leaders, intelligent inventors, and determined athletes in their own rights. Does Debi really think that men invited politics and then invited Margaret Thatcher along just to make politics more interesting?!

A few ladies will always step out and play the men’s games, trying to prove a gender point. The men don’t need a point to prove; they just need to vent. Men are different. We must face it.


Believe it or not, not every woman who has ever stepped into a supposedly “male” arena has done so “to prove a gender point.” Believe it or not, lots of women actually honestly want to be in a supposedly “male” arena. Serena Williams, anyone? Pearl Buck? Hilary Clinton? And again, there are plenty of men who don’t want to be entrepreneurs, explorers, and inventors, and who find traditional male sports like boxing barbaric—what of them? This entire section is insulting to every gender . . .

Thankfully, men and women were not all created alike. Men were created with traits that I do not want as part of me! But, when I married, it was, of course, to one of those strange male creatures with those traits.

“One of those strange male creatures.” Again with the othering. This is something Debi does throughout the book, and it is increasingly grating on me. The goal should be to foster mutual understanding as fellow human beings, but the way Debi goes about it sounds like reading from a zoology textbook.

When we ladies discover traits in a man like sensitivity, spirituality, and understanding, we are thrilled, because they contrast so starkly with the many coarser and visible traits that so strongly drive his nature.

Or, maybe we’re thrilled because we like traits like sensitivity, spirituality, and understanding. Maybe we’re thrilled because we realize that the men are from Mars/women are from Venus dichotomy Debi is perpetuating here is a load of bull. Maybe we’re thrilled because relationships are formed based on things like understanding, not killing wild boars.

Also, is it just me or this actually an extremely insulting way to talk about men?

Point #4: This is making me think of the Progressive Era, when reformers became concerned that middle class American men had become “sissified” by their “more civilized,” desk job lives. The Boy Scouts, with its “manly” wilderness training, was one result of this concern. The goal was to create a specific type of masculinity in men who had become “feminized” by changing economic situations. Yet even this followed a period when the refined man, who spoke in poetry and emotion and avoided the “vulgar” activities of lower class men, was viewed by the middle and upper classes as very apex of masculinity  The point I’m making here is that what is “manly” and what is “feminine” is actually socially contextualized, and changes and shifts over time. Debi is clearly unaware of that, and has chosen to freeze forever what is “masculine” and what is “feminine”—and if you ask me, she’s chosen a very dangerous place to freeze those categories.

After all, having a nature to subdue all things, he likes best a woman who will give him a token struggle and then surrender to his wit, charm, and strength. He must thoroughly conquer. It is a battle I always enjoy losing. I like to be conquered and consumed by my man. That is my created nature.

I . . . no . . . seriously?

This is what I meant about this being a dangerous point to freeze gender stereotypes.

To keep it brief, these sentences are shot through with what feminists refer to as “rape culture.” This idea that all men want to conquer and all women want to be conquered—it’s really not that hard to see how these conceptions might lead to men pushing past women’s physical boundaries, convinced that although they might be putting up a struggle, they really want to give in. It’s because of this sort of thing that the “no means no” and “yes means yes” campaigns, working to educate people about consent, are so important.

So, let’s review: Men and women are more psychologically alike than they are different, gender roles and stereotypes are affected through social conditioning (i.e., people are affected by how they’re told they’re “supposed to be”), it’s unhealthy to “other” the opposite gender and treat them as though they were completely foreign and different, and ideas about what constitutes “masculinity” and “femininity” are not constant but rather change over time and across society—but Debi does not know or chooses to ignore all of this.

I would give a lot to see Debi in a women’s studies class. Everything she said in this passage was either a flat out lie or else twisted until it might as well be. But perhaps the greatest danger of this passage is the way it pushes men and women into these stereotypes by telling them that this is how they are naturally supposed to be and erasing anything that might not fit into Debi’s neat little dichotomy. Men and women are here described as races foreign to each other, and also as monoliths. Neither is correct and neither is healthy.

CTBHHM: A Young Wife Should Be "Bored and Lonely"
CTBHHM: Blessings and Vessels
CTBHHM: What "Companionship" Means in Pearl World
CTBHHM: Playing Telephone with God
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • badgersdaughter

    Well, so men are at the forefront of engineering and science and four-wheel drives. OK, fine. Does Debi have an answer for why men are also the top ranks in cooking, knitting/crochet/quilting (all three!), child care (Dr. Spock, anyone), perfumery, and fashion? Could it be… male privilege? Oh, well, if it is, men were born to privilege, so that’s OK, right? LOL…

  • Nea

    Debi’s falling into the same fallacy as the Mars/Venus author, the Rules authors, Act Like a Woman, etc – assuming that their personal culture and interests are an accurate reflection of the 3 billion people worldwide who share their gender, and that the people they are personally attracted to are an equally valid summary of the other 3 billion.

    In her case, it comes bundled with her usual dose of ignorance — about psychology and history, just for starters, and iced with another dollop of Michael’s disdain for her entire gender. (This is, after all, the same book that has previously gone on about women’s weakness and stupidity.)

    Complementarianism would fall without othering, though – the notion that people are just people and not Gender Roles Created By God would stab it through the blackened heart, leaving the whole philosophy to puff into dust and blow away. And as the Pearls’ entire personal economy lies in complementarianism, of course Debi’s going to give her best shot at making it all sound pseudoscientific and twistedly holy.

  • lori0718

    If often think to myself when I see writing like this (and it can be on almost any topic), if you have to tell me this or that is natural, then it must not be natural.

    Wow, the software changed. I had to sign in again, and my username has changed without my choosing it and now I have an avatar I use elsewhere. I didn’t really want this avatar here nor this user name. Hmmm.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Logout using the gear button right above the comments, and then you can log in or register using whatever email/username combo you want to be using here.

    • ako

      Yeah, if I was naturally inclined to marriage-and-babies and being all nurturing and practical and unadventurous and everything, wouldn’t I just go do that without anyone needing to lecture me or try to shame me into it?

  • Lori

    If often think to myself when I see writing like this (and it can be on almost any topic), if you have to tell me this or that is natural, then it must not be natural.

  • lori0718

    Something totally funky is happening with the software. It’s like there’s an alternate website with all the articles but they all say 0 comments and 0 reactions. That’s the one I posted the comment below in. Then a moment later I got the regular site with all the old comments and I was logged in as my old self. But then I clicked on something and now I’m back in this “alternate” site where my comment is the only one and I have this avatar and I had to reregister.
    What’s going on?

    • http://www.facebook.com/katherine.hompes Katherine Hompes

      I’m having the same issue I’m on the iPhone, downloaded an app to be able to read disqus, but everything has still just gone????

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        The missing comments will reappear over the next two days. Not sure which will reappear first, but that’s what I’ve been told.

    • Conuly

      I’m betting the site is switching to Disqus to end the issues commenters were having with their comments being posted “too quickly”.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Yes, and also to streamline things.

    • Niemand

      Disqus stinks. I’m hoping that they’ll end it soon. It’s a crappy system.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        What specific things do you find crappy about it? Unfortunately we’re stuck with Disqus (all the Patheos blogs are being switched to it), but I can see what I can do to ameliorate the crappy aspects.

      • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

        Many issues about it you probably won’t be able to fix. (We’ve been using Disqus at Fred Clark’s blog for ages now, and the same issues keep cropping up.)
        Part of it is simply that the software is buggy – so you’ll get these WEIRD formatting issues. And part of it is that the way it displays comments is annoying to read in blogs with lots of comments.

  • Speedwell

    Yeah, I left a comment on this article this morning and it’s gone, and I don’t want to use this username either.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Log out using the gear icon to the right just above the other comments. You can then log in with a different username and email. Your comment from this morning will reappear shortly, along with the others that have temporarily disappeared.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Sorry for the confusion!

  • Nea

    I keep thinking about this — I know, that’s my first mistake — and wondering about the contradictions in Michael and Debi’s world. In his bombastic defense of his baby-beating ways, Michael boasts that children raised his way become such wonderful adults that everyone else in the world will come to them as the top in every field… including medical and technical research. According to Debi, what men invent is macho and strong and butch, period, because men are macho and strong and butch, period, and that’s what is the best for everyone; girls can’t do it because they don’t let girls get an education because they’d come up with something weak and girly and unsexy.

    Research doesn’t allow a lot of opportunities to wrestle bears or knock other researchers over, I’m just sayin’. And yet telegraphs, radios, computers, the Internet, the ipod (do not underestimate its effect on Western society), phones, blood transfusions, cornea surgery, organ transplants — all these inventions that shape our world and change our lives AND DO NOT DRIP MACHISMO were invented by men.

    Patient men. Quietly determined men. Men who didn’t end everything in a wrestling match.* Men who were far more interested in conquering a scientific challenge than overpowering a horse or a bear or even another human being.

    Debi has just dismissed every single one of these men as unmanly, while Michael insists that (despite the overwhelming evidence otherwise) babies beaten according to his schedule will grow up to be them. WTF?

    *Seriously, Debi, you might as well have written “my husband is incredibly insecure in his masculinity,” — as if we couldn’t already tell from his insistence on beating the snot out of anything weaker than him — because only someone who is very, very insecure has to end everything with a physical confrontation. And I bet Michael would stop laughing fast if he was the one who ended up on the floor.

  • Hamilton Jacobi

    Any woman on foot can get to a lot of places where no man in a four-wheel drive can go (even with a winch). In addition to her misconceptions about human nature, Ms Pearl seems to have forgotten that locomotion does not require an automobile.

  • BobaFuct

    “If women were inventors, they would make minivans. ”

    And yet, minivans exist. Nice job disproving your own assertion Debi.

    • Aighty

      This is exactly what I was going to say. So either she was (effectively) arguing that women can be inventors, just that they invent different things than men, or minivans don’t exist. I know this is technically anecdotal evidence, but I HAVE a minivan, so….

      • Rilian Sharp

        I don’t see the point in calling that anecdotal evidence? counter-example, therefore false. It’s just a question of whether we believe you.

      • Aighty

        Yeah, fair enough.

      • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

        Right, don’t be so hard on yourself. That jumped out to me, too, and this is the perfect place for anecdotal evidence. When someone says, “Women don’t or can’t invent things, and we know this because if they did, they would invent minivans,” your anecdote about the existence of the minivan in your driveway refutes that nicely.

    • http://www.facebook.com/shaenon Shaenon K. Garrity

      Yeah, you can’t make up a just-so story about how the minivan came to be. It’s a real thing invented by real people. And as it happens, most minivans have been designed by men. The first minivan was the Stout Scarab, designed by William Bushnell Stout.

      Meanwhile, here’s a vehicle designed by a woman (the Nissan Titan pickup, design team headed by Dianne Allen):


      As you can see, it is delicate and feminine and could never traverse the alligator-infested wilderness as all cars designed by MEN can do.

      • http://www.facebook.com/autumnsfantasy Jennifer Anker

        Well, that does finally explain why I prefer trucks over minivans.

  • http://twitter.com/Apostalypse Apostalypse

    I’m a guy. I think boxing is barbaric. But it’s a point of some pride in my family that my great-great aunt was a bare-knuckle boxer who fought men, for money, and usually won.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kellen.conner.5 Kellen Conner

      If I could see you say that to Debi Pearl, I’d never ask for anything again. Your great-great aunt was awesome. ^_^

    • http://lanahobbs.wordpress.com/ lana hobbs

      that’s awesome! my great grandmother was a welder for a long time; i’m really proud of that.

  • Niemand

    Men make four-wheel drive vehicles and then modify them so that they
    will stand higher and drive faster. They will even put a winch on the
    front so they can traverse places meant only for alligators or mountain

    Men are wimps. When I want to traverse places “meant” only for alligators or mountain goats, I do it on foot. What’s the point of being in a swamp or on an Alp if you’re in the same metal box you are in when you’re traversing the burbs?

  • ako

    A few ladies will always step out and play the men’s games, trying to prove a gender point.

    In the vast majority of cases, the situation is actually precisely the opposite of what Debi is describing. Almost no women charge forward into an area they’d otherwise have no interest in, purely to make a “gender point”. Instead, a lot of women step forward out of genuine interest, and need to make a social point about gender roles to counter the near-inevitable “Girls don’t do that!”

    • Niemand

      This is one of those “heads I win, tails you lose” situations for women: If no women (or none that Debi knows about) do X then that “proves” that only men are capable of doing X. If it is pointed out to her that some, possibly many, women do do X then that “proves” that they are unnatural women playing “men’s games” and who would probably be happier if they were “tamed”. Either way, it supports her world view.

    • http://lanahobbs.wordpress.com/ lana hobbs

      it’s like the time i bought my son a pink ball, because we were getting him a toy to take to the pool and he wanted pink, plus we had a yellow and a blue one at home. People made comments on me ‘making a statement’, and kids kept stealing the ball, thinking it wasn’t really his because it was pink so it was fair game. I certainly wasn’t trying to prove a point (i wouldn’t use my child that way) i was just buying him the ball he chose… by going against the grain we were ‘making a statement’ quite by accident, just as a result of going with our preferences.

  • http://twitter.com/kitsunerei88 Mary

    Points I want to make here:

    “After all, having a nature to subdue all things, he likes best a woman who will give him a token struggle and then surrender to his wit, charm, and strength. He must thoroughly conquer. It is a battle I always enjoy losing. I like to be conquered and consumed by my man. That is my created nature.”

    In this case, I feel like she’s taking a current ACTUAL phenomenon and sticking it into her worldview. Yes, there is such as thing as being dominant and submissive in bed – some people happen to enjoy rough sex, and some people like being dominated in bed. Some of those people are actually huge doms in the rest of their lives (this is, in fact, incredibly common because people who normally like control and domination often also find it incredibly relaxing to not be in control). When it’s CONSENSUAL, this is all A-OK. Yes means yes, no means no – unless “apple” means no instead and you’ve had a conversation where you talk about your sexual preferences and have defined an alternative no-word. But what someone is in the bedroom is NOT who they are outside of it – for example, maybe I enjoy bedroom play where “Apple” means “No” instead of “No”, but if I or my partner were ACTUALLY not consenting, we’d be absolutely horrified! And this has nothing to do with our “created natures”, just our sexual fantasies.

    Second, just to make a point: In Canada, currently 3 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices are women, including the Chief Justice, who has held that position for over 12 years now. Some of our most strident Supreme Court judges were women who led major changes in our constitutional law and continue to do so today (even when they’re outnumbered and instead write well-considered, strong dissents that are used in argument for a change in law). I don’t understand how she can look at our world and be like “men are like THIS and women are like THAT.” Social bubble, anyone?

  • victoria

    Probably apropos: http://xkcd.com/896/

    • Fina

      I totally wanted to bring that up! As the comic states, its actually somewhat unproductive to always bring up Marie Curie – because that makes it look like shes the only woman who ever made important scientific discoveries, when its really more that she is the only non-modern-day woman who got proper acknowledgment for her deeds.

      • Jaimie Bell

        True. Rosalind Franklin worked on the DNA model, using x-ray crystallography and endless mathematical calculations to do it. She finally had a picture that showed a helix shape, which was then stolen by her coworker named Maurice Wilkins and showed to James Watson, who not only did the model, but took all the credit. He wrote “The Double Helix” where he slammed her work, the very work he stole. After all these years she is finally getting the recognition for the important contributions she made.
        I asked my A&P professor how often that happened, and he said all the time.

      • Amanda

        Emmy Noether and Lise Meitner were awesome and Noether’s Theorem really is one of the most gorgeous theorems of modern physics. However, Curie isn’t even the only female Nobel Laureate in Physics–there is also Maria Mayer, who won the Nobel Prize for the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. Another notable figure is Chien-Shiung Wu who was one of two experimentalists to simultaneously discover parity violation in the weak interactions and was widely respected within the field, even though she never won the prize for her work. Wu is the youngest of these and she was born in 1912. And that isn’t even getting into the astrophysicists, like Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, let alone other areas of science! (Or into more recent examples of same).

      • Rae

        And no discussion of female astrophysicists is complete without a mention of Jocelyn Bell Burnell! It’s interesting, for all that there’s a stereotype that the “harder” science becomes the more heavily male it is, there’s a fair amount of female astrophysicists who have made important discoveries!

    • Little Magpie

      “also, avoid radium. It turns out it kills you.” rofmao..!

  • Anon

    Thank god I’m a lesbian then. I don’t have to marry one of those strange ‘others’ that is a man. I can marry a nice woman and everything will make sense.

    • dj_pomegranate

      You mean, it’s not in your created nature to be conquered?!?!? Good heavens!

      • grindstone

        Oh honey, don’t clutch so hard, those pearls will ruin your manicure! ;)

  • dj_pomegranate

    I love how she says, “I like to be conquered and consumed by my man. That is my created nature.” and assumes that that applies to 100% of people in 100% of the world. Guess what, Debi? My man doesn’t conquer, and I didn’t want to be conquered. And yet here we are in a perfectly happy marriage. Maybe we’re just the one exception to the rule though. Or maybe we are secretly miserable and it’s just a matter of time til his testosterone kicks in and he needs to destory something!?

    One thing I find really curious, though, is how much of “manliness” she chalks up to simple testosterone. Does this mean that a simple hormone imbalance (or, like, menopause?) could make someone less manly/less womanly and therefore LESS GODLY? Because that seems pretty ridiculous, even for Debi…

  • Hanna

    Reading this post gave me a weird flashback to elementary school. I went to a private Christian school through kindergarten, and I know they were pretty conservative gender-wise, although I don’t remember it directly. After that I went to public school. Sometime around 4th grade, I was playing with some other kids and they asked me if I wanted to be swung around by my foot and hand on the grass, which looked like fun, but I was a little nervous. I said no, hoping that they would ask me a second time, so that I could change my mind. But they didn’t. I suddenly realized that saying no when you mean yes is really counterproductive.

    9 years old is a much better time to learn that than later on, but it just makes me think now about how things are taught to us when we’re too young to understand the ramifications of them, and we often internalize things that we don’t even know we’ve ever learned.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Rachel Marcy (Bix)

    Okay, I have no idea what the minivan thing means, but the idea that men invented everything? Nope. Nope nope nope. Aside from things women actually hold patents for (Kevlar, Geobond, windshield wipers, the automatic dishwasher, life rafts, the medical syringe, the vacuum process for canning and drying food…), and the inventions credited to women who didn’t take out patents for them (the circular saw, the engine muffler) and women who had patents under the name of their husband or a male business partner because they were literally prohibited from taking out patents because they were women (women were at least highly instrumental in the development of the sewing machine, cotton gin, and reaper) do people honestly believe everything that was developed before the advent of patents was invented by men? Agriculture, cooking, food preservation, textile production, medicine…all of these were considered partially or exclusively women’s domain in most early societies. Women invented stuff. They weren’t just taken along for the ride.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    Okay, wow. As a woman engineer, this whole passage makes me really angry.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      I KNOW, RIGHT??? It seriously played a number with my blood pressure!

    • Nicole Resweber

      Very very much agreed. No women on the moon? Gee, I dunno, maybe that’s cause women WEREN’T ALLOWED to be astronauts in the Apollo era. Something about not being able to use condom catheters… (Among other “justifications.”) Grrr…..

    • Cathy W

      Likewise! I know I sure didn’t go into engineering “to make a point”, I went into engineering because I liked math and science…

      • Tess

        I understand getting angry and I think that’s a totally legitimate response. Personally though, it’s just so divorced from my reality that it makes me laugh. As long as society continues to allow my “being unhappy,” while “making my point,” I’m cool! (Debi can feel free to feel sorry for me all she wants. :D )

  • CarolynTheRed

    Women did not fly to the moon before men, because they were prevented from doing so for political reasons after the mercury 13 did better than the male candidates in testing. There was no difficulty finding qualified women interested in becoming astronauts even back then.

    • http://www.facebook.com/shaenon Shaenon K. Garrity

      Until the 1980s, astronauts were selected solely from the Air Force test pilot program. Since women were at the time barred from being test pilots, it was impossible for a woman to become an astronaut. After NASA opened to other applicants, the first astronaut selected under the new guidelines was a woman, Sally Ride.

    • Fina

      The Soviets DID employ female astronauts (or rather cosmonauts, but same thing). Quite successfully too, they regularly took part in breaking records – the first woman in space spent more time up there than any american astronaut combined at the time had, for example.

    • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

      I’ve never heard of the Mercury 13 . . . thanks!

  • smrnda

    The men I know are much more responsible, mature, practical and caring than the ones Debi invents to make a point. No, not all men are driven by insecurity to constantly engage in pointless, dangerous behavior to prove how manly they are, and they don’t need to turn everything into a pissing contest.

    The other thing is that too much of this sort of ‘manliness’ is a bad thing, even in *manly* places like the military where you need people to adhere to a chain of command, proper protocol, and proper risk management and assessment, and you don’t want a bunch of loose cannons who can’t be managed who are more eager to do something impulsive and possibly dangerous and reckless just since it makes them feel manly.

    On science, technology – I’m noticing that more and more women are going into STEM fields, and something I also note is that since women are becoming much more influential as consumers, technology has to cater to women. One big problem in the app development field is that too many developers are men, and they don’t think of apps that might appeal to women , and this is a big problem because if you’re neglecting 50% of the potential market, you’re missing a lot of potential customers.

    • NeaDods

      That was a point I wanted to make in a now-eaten comment. The things that Debi praises as right and manly are actually self- destructive and insecure. A man like that won’t do well in a group of men like the military. (We have a name for people who “laugh uproariously the whole time” while they shoot other people, and it ain’t “soldier.”). Also, the men who have literally changed the world (and I’m not discounting women here, but referring to specific men) by learning the true nature of the cosmos, the true nature of the body, inventing the microscope and radio and telegraph and computer and iPod (don’t underestimate it’s effect) and blood transfusions and organ transplants and on and on and on could do so PRECISELY because they were far more interested in conquering an intellectual challenge instead of wrestling bears. Debi’s praise of Michael’s machismo makes her discount the very qualities that lifted human society from the mud and bears.

  • Monica Swanson

    It’s sad how many books/magazine articles/whatever claiming to help women “understand men” end up demeaning and stereotyping everyone. I’ve noticed it in Glamour too–their relationship advice basically states that men like sex, beer, and football (not necessarily in that order) and that women like shopping, sex, and makeup (not necessarily in that order).

  • http://profiles.google.com/kameshinjite Kagi Soracia

    All of this is wonderful, and I’m wanting to backread through these entries now because this book definitely needs this kind of analysis, and I am really appreciating your commentary. I heard all this stuff growing up, though I never read this book specifically.

    Just wanted to point out a couple of typos you might want to correct, since one of them happens to reverse the meaning of your sentence here:

    this is incredibly respectful to all of the amazing women who have been powerful leaders, intelligent inventors, and determined athletes in their own rights. Does Debi really think that men invited politics and then invited Margaret Thatcher along just to make politics more interesting?!

    I think you meant ‘disrespectful’ to all women in the first line, and ‘invented politics’ in the last one there. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.duncan.7359 Rebecca Duncan

    “You know, the fact that women have in many cultures been barred from the
    military might play a role in the male sex being at its forefront, for
    example” I wonder what effect men being barred from being able to get pregnant has had on them?! *gasp*
    How do feminists explain the popularity of a horrible book like 50 Shades of Grey? Are all those women just infected with the ‘rape culture’?

    • Beutelratti

      ” I wonder what effect men being barred from being able to get pregnant has had on them?! *gasp*”

      LOL I cannot believe anyone would actually go there. If that is not an argument to completely discard everything you have to say for its mere insanity then I don’t know what is.

      Women can handle weapons, kick ass and think strategically just fine. It is NOT male’s biology to go to the military, it is a woman’s biology to have an uterus though. So your argument is what exactly? Men are barred from using an organ that they don’t have so women obviously don’t have fighting skills? Say what?

      Rape culture exists whether you put it in quotation marks or not. Also, you fail to make your argument clear … again.

  • Subur Bint

    I can’t help but wonder what Debi Pearl would have to say about my oldest. A single child until she was nine, she was provided with baby dolls and a play kitchen and pretty princess dress up clothes — and as soon as she could toddle about on her chubby little legs, every time she went outside to play she would pick up a stick and it became her sword, with which she would slay dragons, conquer nations, and defend the weak and helpless. I took her to a Renaissance fair when she was three, and although she admired the pretty fairy wings, tiaras, and other “girly” things, when it came time to choose a souvenir she picked out a sturdy wooden sword and shield that her younger siblings now play with. Lassoing a bear just to prove she could is precisely the sort of activity that would have delighted her young heart, and it’s probably a good thing that the opportunity never presented itself or she just might have tried to do it.

    At fifteen, my daughter is still a slayer of dragons and defender of the week. Now nearing the end of her first year at a public high school, she has the reputation not only of someone you don’t mess with, but of someone who will step in and verbally kick your ass for being mean to others in her presence. Her boyfriend is sweet, docile, and domestically inclined; the perfect complement to my daughter’s adventurous, go-get-’em spirit. The spirit that she was born with, the spirit that God gave her. The spirit that the Pearls would have had me beat out of her by the time she was two years old.

  • sylvia_rachel

    This is what happens when you try to generalize to an entire population from a sample size of two. There’s a reason that actual psychological studies (as well as medical ones, etc.) try very hard to recruit as many participants as possible, and that the resulting papers include “limitations” sections that caution you about over-generalizing their findings…

  • Schaden Freud

    I’ve always suspected Debi Pearl has a masochism thing going on. Each to their own. But she really is nuts if she confuses her kink with biological laws, and I think that’s what she does. I think she’s so far removed from reality that she doesn’t understand the difference between sexual preference and how a relationship works.

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana


  • Lauralee Moss

    Debi is either a simpleton or a smart person writing junk to make a buck.

  • Mel

    So my husband is a dairy farmer. I fell in love with him not because he subdued the cows but because he’s got the gentlest heart. I’ve watched him play games with the cows or stop in the middle of chores to pet one. We giggle together over the antics of newborn calves and kittens wrestling. We have a relationship built on mutual respect and the fact he’ll never try to catch a bear. Ever. I feel sorry for the Pearls – they’ve got some real issues.

  • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

    Me man. Me enjoy combat sports and conquest of virgin wilderness areas (well, mostly state parks.) Me love me minivan. No can have me minivan. Is mine.

    Me wish point out that, interestingly, minivan is vehicle of choice for boxing/MMA/wrestling teams. Minivan is practical, safe, good for haul equipment and people long distance. Boxing/MMA/grappling teams perhaps not read Debi book. But lots teams now have female members, so maybe contaminated with estrogens?


    • dj_pomegranate


      • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn