CTNAHM: Let’s Play a Stereotype Game!

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally Posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 48—50

Alrighty. I hope everyone is doing well. I’m really excited for this post, because Michael lets us play a game! I’m calling it the Sexist Stereotype Game, because it shows how sexist we really are.  Let’s jump right in, shall we? Text is in purple.

I Need Her Sensitivity

I need her companionship, mercy, and grace.  The nature of man is found in the husband and wife’s combination.  God Adam “Male and female”,  It is as if one body and soul couldn’t contain and express the fullness of God, so the Creator divided his attributes, grouping similar traits, putting them into two genders.  If we were to make a long list of human traits, and read them before an audience asking them to respond “male” or “female”, I expect we would be in 90% agreement.

Give it a try. Put an M (male) or an F (female) after each one.

  • Sensitive
  • Merciful
  • Courageous
  • Logical
  • Intuitive
  • Just
  • Compassionate
  • Forgiving
  • Hasty
  • Full of Grace
  • Tender
  • Cautious
  • Imaginative
  • Analytical
  • Creative
  • Aggressive
  • Kind
  • Gentle
  • Meek
  • Full of Faith
  • Discreet
  • Honoring
  • Nurturing

My wife and I went through the above list and had about a 90% agreement.  Where we disagreed, we did agree that they could go either way, depending on the person.  For instance, creativity can be found in either gender, as can faith.  But there would be nearly 100% agreement that sensitivity is more the domain of the woman whereas justice is a more of a masculine trait.

Wasn’t that fun? I don’t know about you, but a couple of times I had to catch myself and say “Stop it! Just because Mormonism told you women are meek, doesn’t mean they are! Look at you vs your own husband, silly!”  It was kind of shocking how stereotypically gendered my thoughts are sometimes. But if when thinking about the list, instead of just hurrying through it and assigning M/F as soon as you read the word, you were to stop, think about the trait, and list people you know that have that, perhaps your list might be different.  For instance, my husband is meek, kind, gentle, cautious, and sensitive.  I’m aggressive, just, and intuitive.

Another question I want to ask, is “under what circumstances are we judging people?”  Because that would change the reaction.  Is it just what we assume m/f base nature is? I’ve heard Christian women describe their love for their children as “aggressive”. Or does that count as compassionate?  However you look at it, all Michael is (once again) doing is solidifying gender stereotypes.

Sir, you are not complete without the full input of your wife.  Your wife is more than your sex toy; she is the other half of your humanity.  A man out of balance with his wife is unbalanced.  You need a help meet, a helper suited to your nature.  God made her to assist you-not just to hold the other end of the board while you nail it up, but to balance you in temperament and human traits.  If you despair of bringing her along, when you leave her behind, you must leave yourself behind.  God wisely designed man and woman so as to maximize human development  elevating it to a state higher than original creation.  You must flow with God’s program or fail altogether.

Interesting. While I believe spouses (or any relationship) needs the full input of the other, I don’t understand how to reconcile this with Debi’s book.  Debi’s book explicitly says “don’t disagree, don’t challenge”. How can a wife give input if she’s not supposed to disagree? Isn’t that what input is?

don’t know about you, but I laughed like a maniac at Michael’s “more than a sex toy” comment. The first (albeit uncharitable) comment that ran through my mind was “Yeah. She cooks and cleans, too.”  I also don’t understand how Michael assumes that any man and any woman, when combined, will automatically equal all of the traits of God. I’ve known pairs that were almost identical in temperament. Though I suppose, if you’re starting from the basis that God made women with XYZ and men with ABC, then of course any two would be compatible.  I’ve found this idea in Mormondom, too. Women are soft, tender, and sweet. That’s what makes them so darn suitable for staying at home. /eyeroll

I think it’s very telling how Michael says you have to flow with God’s program or fail.  I’ve read the Bible, and nowhere is there a section called “God’s Program”.  There’s a few verses scattered here and there, from different people at different times in different situations, that people mash together and say “HA! God’s will!”  I also am so amazed how how remarkably similar “God’s program” is to “Michael’s ideals”.  He really must be a prophet, to be so in tune with God…

I know in my own experience that my wife has fulfilled me as a person.  She hasn’t changed me that much, but she continues to help me by supplying that which I lack.  In the process of trusting her, I grow in faith and humility.  I am still not as sensitive as she is, but she provides the impetus for me to recognize the moment when sensitivity is called for, enabling me to do what needs to be done even when I do not feel it.  Wow! That is “heirs together the grace of life”!

Um…not to sound like a broken record, but how can a woman supply what a man lacks, if according to Debi, she’s not allowed to acknowledge (even to herself!) that her man is lacking in any area?  This is kind of reminding me how my inlaws interact.  Nobody communicates their needs, they have this weird system of half hints and the hopes that the other will read their minds.  And of course, everyone’s feelings are usually hurt, and everyone is always walking on eggshells, hoping they don’t tick the other person off.  In general, if people can’t communicate their needs (any gender) those needs won’t get met.  Also, if that’s what Michael means when he says “heirs together”, I’d rather be an heir alone. Just saying.

I am prone to deal with situations based on cold, hard logic and Justice. “You sow it, you reap it.” “Here are the facts, like it or lump it.”  “This makes sense to me. Either it makes sense to you, or you are ignorant or contrary.”  I can hurt people feelings. I can be insensitive, not out of a feeling of maliciousness or uncaring.  I just cannot fathom why anyone else would be upset by my “cutting to the chase, telling it like it is”.  As a man, I have trouble walking a mile in another man’s shoes, but you would think my wife shared shoes with every suffering and and insecure person.  She seems to know ahead of time how others will feel in any given circumstance.  She “feels their pain”.  God put his sensitiveness in the female gender, but he gave her to Adam and told him to become one flesh with the lady, depending on her as his helper.

Wow.  Though I, too, can deal with other people by saying “This is how it is. Either fix it or stop griping”, I am able to empathize and be at least polite about it.  The line “I just cannot fathom why anyone else would be upset by my…” is kind of scary. I dated a sociopath, and one of the things he would say is “I can’t believe you would get upset when I…” (usually prostitutes, girls off of craigslist, or stealing money).  It’s a very…disturbed or socially backwards person…who can’t tailor their reactions to the person. Heck. Little kids are a master at this.  If mom gives into tears, they cry. If dad caves at silence, they stare.  Surely a grown man can, too.  I’m also beginning to wonder now if Debi sits in with all the counseling sessions?  Debi’s there to empathize and Michael’s there to say “how it is”?  I would think that could, on occasion, be awkward.

In most cases women are thee first to offer mercy and grace.  The only time the female creatures are ungracious is when there is feminine competition.  Pussycats will fight if they think the other is trying to horn in on their old tom, and they will show no mercy in a verbal battle.  Otherwise women are full of mercy and pleasant goodwill towards the failing of others.

Oh, I see. The only times women aren’t pleasant and sweet is when they are marking their territory.  What about if a woman has been hurt by an individual (man or woman) and doesn’t want to get hurt again?  What about if the woman has had a terrible, stressful day and is cranky?  What about women who show little mercy or grace at anytime?  I guess these situations just don’t exist. It must be nice to live in such a black/white PearlWorld, wouldn’t it?  And seriously, comparing women to cats now?  Really?

Don’t shut your wife out when she has feelings about situations.  That doesn’t mean you will always succumb to her suggestions any more than she will always appreciate your logic and justice when it’s called for, but always pause and patiently consider her perspective.  If you think she is one-sided, which she can be, then explain your position and have a good back-and-forth discussion.

It’s a great idea to not often shut your spouse (kid, partner, best friend, co-worker) out.  I think it’s funny how women’s opinions are suggestions, and men’s opinions are logic.  And thank you, Michael, for once again telling us how one-sided women are.

A woman doesn’t expect you to always conceded to her views, but she deserves the respect of being heard and understood.  If she knows you understand her and that you care what she thinks, she can relinquish her will to yours and trust your wisdom.  As time goes by and decisions come out of this duo brainstorming, it will be clear to both of you where your strong points are.

No. Just no. If I’m constantly telling my husband my views, and he says “Thank you for sharing, but I’m going to do what I want”, I’m not going to relinquish my will or trust his wisdom.  What wisdom, anyway? Are men gifted wisdom because they are men?  If a person always steamrolls you, regardless of whether or not they listen, odds are good you will shut down. Why bother having a discussion if it doesn’t matter what you say?  I just still can’t get over the dissonance between Debi’s book (don’t argue) and Michael’s (have good back-and-forth).  Maybe that’s the real reason Michael doesn’t want women to read his books.  Apparently Michael has slightly more respect for women then Debi does.  Maybe that’s because all women are trying to move in on her “old tom”? Ewww.

If developing circumstances prove a wife correct, the humble man will learn to trust her instincts more and more.  Likewise, when a man’s logic and rationality prove themselves in the outcome, the wife will learn to see things from his perspective and trust him more.  In time they will sense when to yield to the other, and discussions will be a consensus  Wow again! That’s beautiful and it works wonderfully, but it takes time and patience.  Get off your high horse and boost your wife up there with you!  She will be riding behind you, but let her whisper in your ear.  You still have the reins, but remember  if you take a wrong turn, she takes it also, so she deserves your esteem.

I find it laughably ironic that Michael says “the humble man”.  He’s spent a good 10th of this book maintaining that he’s not often humble or weak. So does this advice apply to everyone but him? It seems to me that having a discussion where you already know the outcome (when to yield), is a waste of time.  If you know your spouse is going to be the one with the correct way to do things in this instance, wouldn’t saying “I trust you to handle it” be a lot better than a futile back-and-forth?  While I think it’s important to be united with your spouse, it doesn’t mean y’all have to agree on everything.

On the topic of high horses—why don’t both of you get off the high horse?  Stand next to each other as equals.  That’s what a good relationship is.  A partnership of equals. I think it’s absolute bananas that the woman is “riding behind”, but men should be so kind as to let them “whisper in his ear.”  Though he does make a good point with “if you take a wrong turn, she takes it with you”.  It works both ways.  If the two of you agree on something, and it’s wrong, you’re in the mistake together.  And women (spouses, partners, etc) deserve the esteem of the other.  But that’s the thing. They deserve respect and esteem.  Not just lip-service that their opinions have been heard.

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.

  • Shiny

    Otherwise women are full of mercy and pleasant goodwill towards the failing of others.
    Michael should come play paintball with me some time. Or come LARPing.
    I think he’d revise the ‘full of mercy’ thing pretty quickly. I have no mercy, I give no quarter.
    Plus I’d get to shoot him a lot. Or hit him with a fake sword. Which would make me very happy.
    As to that list. It all depends on context. As much as I hate the term, there’s a reason ‘mama bear’ is a stereotype. If both sexes can’t be just, does that mean one of them can be excluded from jury duty?

    • Amtep

      I was mulling over that sentence too. Hasn’t he read Debi’s book? Doesn’t he KNOW what she thinks of the failings of others?

      But then I realized it. With “others” he only means MEN. Women around him are full of mercy and pleasant goodwill towards the failings of men. Or else.

      • Shiny

        Not to mention, if women were supposed to be filled with pleasant goodwill towards the failings of children then TTUAC wouldn’t exist.

      • Gillianren

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Debi isn’t exactly “full of pleasant goodwill towards the failings of others” from where I sit. More, you know, “a petty, vindictive shrew.”

      • Miss_Beara

        After Libby’s post a few week ago that talked about Michael and Debi’s honeymoon, it made me wonder how much of what Debi is now was influenced by Michael.

      • NeaDods

        Probably 90% of it; even before they married she had a huge crush on him and wanted him. She probably made herself into what he wanted back as a teenager.

  • Jackie

    If you think of Jesus as described in stories of the Bible, how many of those “feminine” traits did HE show? Certainly mercy, forgiveness, tenderness, kindness, gentleness, full of faith. He ate with the poor, healed the sick, lifted up the women to welcome them into his world. I swesr Michael does not actually read the scriptures he pretends to know. The Bible doesn’t say “as you do unto the least of these (but you have to marry to do it)” or “love your neighbor” (but you’ll need help to do it).” It just says do those gentle, compassionate, nurturing things. Maybe Michael would argue those commands were given only to women? But then that would create a problem for him too, wouldn’t it?

    • Lunch Meat

      And how about David being merciful, and Mary being courageous? How about Jeremiah being sensitive and Abigail being aggressive? How about Stephen being meek and the woman at the well being logical and analytical?

      • ako

        How about Judith, or Jael? Are we supposed to think they were meek, forgiving, and merciful, without any masculine aggression or courage?

      • Jackie

        I know what it was – Jesus must have had a wife who balanced him out! She was there, behind the scenes, urging him to suppress his baser instincts and be more nurturing. How did I miss that? Sorry, Michael.

        And I’m sure the only reason Stephen asked God to forgive those stoning him was because he saw his wife on the edge of the crowd and was influenced by her.

      • Jackie

        This whole adding to the story to fit a theory is because I’m creative. I am woman, hear me roar.

      • Sally

        Oh crap, I just thought of Michael’s answer to this. Jesus was God, so he of course possessed both male and female traits. I think he would make that claim in the face of your comment, yet I think he wouldn’t make that claim otherwise because I think people who think like Michael would be very uncomfortable imagining Jesus as possessing both male and female qualities. Kind of a conundrum for Michael, I do believe. That said, I do like your Jesus must have been married theory. After all, Jesus was fully human too, so how was he not expected to “take a wife” like all other men even if for no reason other than to be a good example?

      • Lunch Meat

        If Jesus possessed male and female traits in equal proportions, he must therefore have been intersex. Therefore queer people are as close to Jesus as you can get.

      • Nancy Shrew

        Esther.

  • AAAtheist

    “… God put his sensitiveness in the female gender …”

    “… The only time the female creatures are ungracious is when there is feminine competition. Pussycats will fight if they think the other is trying to horn in on their old tom, and they will show no mercy in a verbal battle. Otherwise women are full of mercy and pleasant goodwill towards the failing of others.”

    Really, Michael? Then, as a counterexample, read CTBHHM and allow me to introduce you to your wife, Debi Pearl.

    She’s pretty much insensitive to any man who isn’t performing his leader role up to snuff, doesn’t take the garbage out on time, or makes uncomfortable sexual requests (hint, Michael—in this instance, the man in question doesn’t deserve sensitivity) and unpleasant to any woman she deems insufficiently submissive, any woman she perceives as a threat to her or anyone else’s marriage, any woman she finds unattractive, any woman she finds too attractive, any woman period.

    “Lesbian!” “Dumpy Duplex!” Sorry, I just had to! ; – )

    • Chalkdust

      I have trouble walking a mile in another man’s shoes, but you would think my wife shared shoes with every suffering and and insecure person. She seems to know ahead of time how others will feel in any given circumstance. She “feels their pain”.

      Right, Michael. Those are exactly the phrases that come to mind when I think of the author of CTBHHM.

      It’s not just women in general. Michael appears to have such a strong view of what women are supposed to be like that he can look at an actual woman like Debi and see not reality but what he expects to see.

      • AAAtheist

        Sing it, Ariel! Sing it loud and sing it often! : – )

    • Rachel Heston-Davis

      I laughed and laughed at “Let me introduce you to your wife Debi Pearl.” Thank you! :)

      • AAAtheist

        No problem, Rachel! I find ironic humor takes the edge off just about anything. Glad to lighten your mood a little.

  • Squire Bramble

    ‘ As a man, I have trouble walking a mile in another man’s shoes, but you would think my wife shared shoes with every suffering and and insecure person. She seems to know ahead of time how others will feel in any given circumstance. She “feels their pain”. ‘

    And then bullies, berates and threatens them. Dog save us from sensitive souls like Debi.

    • NeaDods

      Seriously! If she’s his idea of sympathetic, you get a frightening glimpse into how cold he is.

    • ako

      He shows an astonishing lack of empathy coupled with cruelty towards anyone weaker who doesn’t perfectly conform, and she uses her understanding of other people’s perspectives to bully and manipulate them more effectively. Are we sure they’re not supervillains?

    • onamission5

      Michael knows Debi better than I do, of course, but based upon what I have seen of her writing I’d have to say that I don’t think she displays empathy so much as she displays projection. I have yet to see her display this quality known as feeling someone else’s pain. I have repeatedly seen her assign character traits not in evidence and draw conclusions about women’s internal machinations based upon those projections, though.

  • John Kruger

    What a nasty “test”. If you think there is even one solid answer on that piece of trash it means you are prejudiced in that area. Should I be surprised that the Pearls are apparently 90% prejudiced?

    There is next to nothing that can be assumed by a person’s sex or gender. It is uncomfortable to admit so much ignorance, and it goes against human instincts not to make such assumptions as much as possible. We have to act smarter than our instincts, though. Judging in advance about someone based on any particular loosely, or often completely unrelated, trait or affiliation is exactly what prejudice means.

  • Sally

    Sensitive when used to mean insightful is not the opposite of logical. Michael doesn’t necessarily need a woman to compensate for his lack of insight; he just needs other people who give him feedback- A Lenard to his Sheldon, for example.

    • Nightshade

      Sheldon is at least amusing, but I’d still be sorely tempted to make it look like an accident within a week. Michael? Three days, maybe.

      • Rilian Sharp

        I hate Sheldon. He’s not funny. He’s stupid and mean and sexist. He’s the most sexist of the 4 main boys.

      • Sally

        Fair enough. If Sheldon were real, it would not be funny to really live with him. Michael Pearl isn’t funny.

      • Gillianren

        I can’t stand that show. It’s insulting to just about everyone. It isn’t funny. And of course, there’s no middle ground between “as smart as the main characters” and “dumb as a brick” for the main female character to fit into.

      • NeaDods

        To be fair, there’s no intellectual middle ground for the men either. They’re either geniuses or people like the comic shop guy.

      • Gillianren

        True, but when she was the only important female character on the show, it was a bit glaring.

      • Hilary

        What show?

      • Ahab

        Big Bang Theory.

  • ZeldasCrown

    Just because Michael is devoid of feelings/emotions doesn’t mean that all men are that way too. And he as much as admits that he is feeling-less in this section. He’s pretty much just saying here that he needs a wife to feel the emotions he’s unable to (because I guess emotions transfer via discussion in PearlWorld?).

    I get the feeling that by “discussion” he means Debi tells him what she thinks/feels and he promptly disregards it (and then, if things go wrong, he can blame it on her, since “they talked it over”). Perhaps that’s why she advises women not to discuss anything with their husbands-because there’s no point to it in her marriage. Debi’s book states that Michael read and approved every word, so there’s really no excuse as to why his book seems to offer totally contrary advice. I think perhaps Michael is just good at seeing what he wants to see, and Debi’s book helps him justify his behavior.

  • Trollface McGee

    Funny – I went through that list and couldn’t assign any of those qualities as male or female – maybe that’s because I see people as more than poorly written two-dimensional cartoon characters.
    It’s scary how Michael takes a lack of empathy – something that should be of concern – and treats it like some normative and positive male trait. I wonder if he actually is a clinical sociopath and actually needs to remind himself to think about the feelings of other living things.

    • ZeldasCrown

      Well, let’s take a look at the factors that indicate psychopathy. One scale is the PCL-R (I looked it up on wikipedia). Each item is ranked 0-2 (with 2 being very descriptive of the person). The highest is 40, and a score of 25-30ish (it depends upon the country) would indicate a clinical sociopath.
      Facet 1: Interpersonal
      -Glibness/superficial charm
      -Grandiose sense of self-worth
      -Pathological lying
      -Cunning/manipulative
      Facet 2: Affective
      -Lack of remorse or guilt
      -Emotionally shallow
      -Callous/lack of empathy
      -Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
      Facet 3: Lifestyle
      -Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
      -Parasitic lifestyle
      -Lack of realistic, long-term goals
      -Impulsivity
      -Irresponsibility
      Facet 4: Antisocial
      -Poor behavioral controls
      -Early behavioral problems
      -Juvenile delinquency
      -Revocation of conditional release
      -Criminal versatility
      Other
      -Many short-term marital relationships
      -Promiscuous sexual behavior

      Some of these, we don’t know much about, since we only have his books to go by, but there’s quite a few here (particularly in the first 2 facets-I think he exhibit pretty much all of these) that fit Michael to a T. He paints this picture of a wonderful, almost equal at times marriage, and has many followers (so he’s certainly superficially charming). He very obviously thinks a lot of himself and is constantly trying to prove how manly he is. His book and Debi’s contradict one another, so obviously one of them is lying or stretching the truth. He clearly thinks he can do now wrong, and any mistakes are his wife’s fault, regardless of how they came to whatever decision that didn’t work out. He certainly has some degree of impulsivity and irresponsibility (re-the garbage incident). I would say that he does have some long term goals (based on the fact he’s written all these books), and as far as I know doesn’t have any criminal activity under his belt (so the last two under antisocial don’t seem to apply). From the introduction, he has a strong sexual appetite, and has lusted after many women (wanting to “one of his own”), but as far as I know, he has only had the one marriage and sexual partner, although he seems sexually possessive. By my count (admittedly with some gaps based on what we know), I’d put him somewhere in the 20-24 range, which is getting pretty close to that 25-30 mark.

      How would everyone else rank Michael on this scale?

      • Ahab

        I don’t think we have enough information about Michael Pearl’s life (i.e., his youth or criminal record) to rank him using this tool. However, Facets 1 and 2 fit him like a glove, which is a VERY BAD sign. It wouldn’t surprise me if he were a sociopath.

      • ZeldasCrown

        I totally agree. There are at least 4 or 5 items on the second half of the list that I can’t even guess at (as you mentioned the criminal aspects, and I suspect he has no convictions). It is disturbing that he would have an almost perfect score on the first half (which would already get him up to say 16-18 points). Plus, there’s a couple of items (such as “parasitic lifestyle”) where it’s hard to tell if that comes from Michael himself, or is more from the patriarchal outlook (i.e. if he’d still make his wife do everything around the house without this submission idea).

      • Trollface McGee

        He definitely has distinct traits – if he isn’t a sociopath, he has some serious mental issues that he hasn’t addressed.

    • NeaDods

      He also considers über-machismo and lack of curiosity as normative and positive. Basically, he considers himself the pinnacle of humanity.

      • Trollface McGee

        That’s true – and the fact that people look up is mind-boggling and frightening – at least many other cult leaders/ministry leaders/sociopaths/self-help gurus have some sort of charisma, intellectual prowess, or some sort of appeal – he just seems to me like the spawn of Archie Bunker and Al Bundy and people buy his crap.

      • Ahab

        Archie Bunker and Al Bundy, while repugnant, at least had some redeeming virtues. I can’t name a single one of Michael’s virtues.

      • Sally

        I’ve seen some All in the Family Reruns lately and have been thinking about whether Archie and Edith are like Michael and Debi Pearl. For a while I was thinking no because Edith actually stands up to Archie way too much to be a good model for Debi’s book. But based on Michael’s book, she actually does often play the role Michael talks about at least to some degree …. maybe. It’s hard to really say because Archie and Edith are caricatures but so are the wife, husband, and parent in the Pearls’ books. Anyway, I saw you mentioned Archie Bunker and thought it was an interesting point- maybe not so much in the content of what they (Archie and Michael) say but in the way they bumble through life so ignorantly, arrogantly, and dominantly.

  • NeaDods

    The part that jumps out at me so strongly and chillingly isn’t the part where he can’t understand how his actions hurt other people’s feelings, It’s not like Michael hasn’t made clear that he neither understands nor wishes to understand people’s feelings!

    It’s ”This makes sense to me. Either it makes sense to you, or you are ignorant or contrary.”

    Michael has just said, out loud, that he is never wrong, indeed that he cannot EVER be wrong. That what he, personally, wants and thinks is so obviously Universal Truth. That he, himself, is never for a nanosecond ignorant (despite his fear of nuance and thinking) nor contrary (despite his pathetic machismo and his abuse for critics, culminating in the infamous “lauging” post at the beating death of a child).

    This is, to me, the most terrifying thing he’s ever said, beyond his sociopathic lack of empathy and even his sadistic glee in baby beating. Michael Pearl has just claimed that he, personally, is infallible, and that anyone (including infants of a handful of months old) who disagree with him could not do so from thought or principle, but only because they are either “ignorant” (implying he has the right to teach them) or “contrary” (implying that he has the right to correct them.)

    That line, that single line, those 17 words *right there* are the taproot of the poisoned tree that bears the poisoned fruit.

    • smrnda

      Anybody with empathy and a little intelligence knows that something which seems obvious or makes sense to one person isn’t necessarily going to look like an obvious universal truth to everyone. Or… that the universal truth a guy like Michael is sure he has is really just a totally subjective perspective and that the reason other people don’t think it makes sense is because it’s wrong.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    The idea that God created two genders to fully reflect His image….that is where the logic of hierarchy really begins to fall apart for me. Michael emphasizes that man cannot fully reflect God’s glory without woman, because she’s literally half of it. According to Michael, God had to create two genders or half of himself was going to be left out. So…why does it make sense that one of those halves is not allotted full expression? If it’s important for both “natures” to be equally present, wouldn’t one person having “the trump card” work against both natures being equally expressed? It just doesn’t make sense!

    Also, that pussycats fighting thing…really annoyed me. Looks like Michael is a lot more worldly than he’d like to think he is. It’s very much a pop culture thing to portray women as unable to get along with other women. Get two women in a room together in a TV show or movie and they’ll find something to fight about, because, you know, those hussies just can’t get along! In real life, women can and do get along brilliantly.

    • The_L1985

      Because tradition.

    • NeaDods

      Remember, his notion of womanhood is the jealous and possessive Debi who wanted him for years before she got him and even now views any other woman as competition to be driven off. He thinks women cat fight over men because his does, constantly.

  • ako

    Looking over the little gender test, I haven’t seen a single trait that struck me as exclusively male or female. I’ve seen traits that, on average, the men or women I’ve encountered tend to show more often, but nothing that’s either exclusive to one gender or all that rare in the other. Which shows this list is utterly useless as a guide to what traits a specific man or woman can be expected to have. I mean what, am I supposed to do, go “Stop being sensitive, man! Only about forty percent of the exceptionally sensitive people I know are men, which means you’re doing gender wrong!”?

    Actually, the sad thing is that there are people who will discourage men from work that uses their sensitivity and tenderness, and chase women away from work that that relies on courage or logic, because they’re so convinced their personal sense of what’s typical is all-defining.

  • onamission5

    And seriously, comparing women to cats now? Really?

    Ahem. For the record, I totally called it.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      You did. Cookies for you!

      • LadyCricket

        I remember when he asserted that dogs are 35 smarter than cats. Eeyup. Not sexist at all when you consistently compare women to cats.

  • Limeade

    “Sir, you are not complete without the full input of your wife. Your wife is more than your sex toy; she is the other half of your humanity. A man out of balance with his wife is unbalanced.”

    …And yet, a woman is to always defer to her husband and abide by his every wish, no matter how stupid or infantile, because his manly penis logic is always right. Her ‘input’ is ultimately meaningless.

    • NeaDods

      Plus, she has to put out as often and in any manner he wants. Just like a sex toy.

      • Sally

        Yeah, it’s funny. When he says “more than your sex toy,” that should me “she’s not actually a sex toy,” but with Michael, it pretty much means “she’s your sex toy for sure, but wait, there’s more.”

  • Ahab

    “I am prone to deal with situations based on cold, hard logic and Justice.”

    No you aren’t, Michael. Your so-called parenting advice in TTUAC is neither logical nor just. Your fundamentalism, misogyny, and utter self-absorption are neither logical nor just. Pearl has zero self-awareness.

    “In most cases women are the first to offer mercy and grace. The only time the female creatures are ungracious is when there is feminine competition … Otherwise women are full of mercy and pleasant goodwill towards the failing of others.”

    You don’t get out much, do you Michael? Human beings are multifaceted, and they don’t fit into neat little boxes based on sex.

  • onamission5

    I’m not so sure that Debi’s constant assumptions of ‘woman uncomfortable = woman must be wrong and man smug = man is correct’ demonstrate empathy, exactly.
    Is Michael having another Inigo Montoya moment, perhaps?

  • smrnda

    It isn’t the worst nonsense coming out of the Pearls, but I *really get sick* of the whole ‘men are logical and analytical’ and ‘women are intuitive and emotional’ crap. I’m a former mathematician and a software developer, and I had a guy who taught English give me a talk about how science and technology and other “logical” areas were *so totally guy things.* The fact that he said that, given how we pretty much disproved that with our own occupations shows you ingrained that is and how unaware people can be that they’re spouting a stereotype.

    But how do you define human behavior in a lot of situations as ‘logical’ or ‘intuitive?’ What’s the logical way to shop at the grocery store? Is it ‘intuitive’ to inquire whether anyone you’re eating with is a vegetarian, vegan or keeps kosher or hallal before you plan a meal, or is that ‘analytical’ or even ‘sensitive?’

    I do find that Michael, like a lot of people, just decides that his behavior is ‘logical’ in the sense of ‘if I’m an asshole, it’s just that I am totally logical and you are not.” However, as far as social interaction goes, being an asshole isn’t a logical choice, and there’s no reason ‘logical’ and ‘considerate’ shouldn’t go together. Arguing that men are more logical or rational than emotional women is such a standard gaslighting tactic.

    ” I just cannot fathom why anyone else would be upset by my “cutting to the chase, telling it like it is”.”

    The reason, Michael, is that you aren’t telling it like it is.

  • Rebecca Horne

    It seems odd to me to separate “she’s empathetic” from “I like to cut to the chase.” My girlfriend and I are both female. Our “arguments” such as they are, go like this: “I’m feeling really hurt because of _____.” “You’re right, that was a really messed up thing for me to do.”/ “I’m sorry I hurt you. Can you help me understand what the problem is?”

    Really cut-to-the-chasey, and really empathetic. And not, like…somehow combining opposites either–we cut to the chase *because* we are empathetic, and don’t want to make the problem worse by dancing around it.

    In general, also, the whole division between justice and mercy confuses me. Justice doesn’t mean punishing as hard as you’re allowed to–it means seeking the best outcome for everybody involved, so that the problem is actually resolved and the world is made slightly better for that. Likewise, mercy, I would think, doesn’t mean ignoring the potential for future danger–it means recognizing when cracking down on a problem wouldn’t be as effective as handling it with compassion.

    These two ideas *cannot* be separated. They *aren’t* opposites. If you are denying mercy in situations where it’s called for, then you are being cruel, not just. If you are letting dangerous people escape all consequences of their actions and continue to cause harm, then you are being reckless, not merciful.

    Justice and mercy aren’t flip sides of the same coin, or complementary traits. They are, I think, more often than not, THE SAME THING.

    • Sally

      I really like your insight about justice and mercy. Well said.
      Regarding your other point, I wonder if Michael could ever knowingly make an I-statement. You’re right, that does cut to the chase and is sensitive to the other person’s feelings in that you’re not stomping on them with what feels like an attack. I wonder if that long-awaited section in Debi’s book where she tells us the magical way to make an appeal respectfully is to use an I-statement. If so, well then that will be one of those things she gets right (until she finds a way to twist it, of course).

    • Mogg

      There’s a few pastors and preachers out there whose brains would asplode if they had to reconsider the justice/mercy opposites trope. I had a great deal of difficulty with this one but was never able to articulate it to myself as well as you have here.

  • Jolie

    Doing the test thinking of myself and my boyfriend:
    Sensitive: Ummm, both? We sob at movies about equally. All things considered, perhaps him a little bit more
    Merciful: I’d say him; none of us hold grudges, but short-term I get angry easier; he’s more tolerant of people’s flaws
    Courageous: Probably me
    Logical: Both of us, again perhaps me a little bit more? And definitely his sister is more logical than both of us combined!
    Hasty: Me
    Full of grace: whatever this means… If they mean ‘like a ballerina’ which I doubt, then me I guess;if they mean in the religious sense we’re not of the appropriate religion, so N/A
    Intuitive: Me
    Just: Both of us
    Tender: DEFINITELY him
    Compassionate: Both of us
    Cautious: Him, I have way too much faith in humanity
    Imaginative: Me
    Analytical: Both of us, though in slightly different ways; I’m a very good theoretical thinker and he’s a very good policy thinker; I’m more theoretical and philosophical, he’s more of an applied thinker

    Creative: Both of us, perhaps me a bit more?
    Aggressive: None of us; I think I tend to be a bit more assertive and outspoken, and more likely to express anger and revolt, but I wouldn’t equate that with being ‘aggressive’
    Kind: Hopefully both of us; him ABSOLUTELY
    Meek: None of us
    Full of faith: Um, he identifies as a ‘soft atheist’ , while I believe in inter-human spirituality and am mostly agnostic on the idea of a transcendent Being; I worsship occasionally in a Unitarian Unversalist church which he has no interest in, and have also had some feeble attempts at practicing Buddhist meditation; which, again, is not his thing. On the other hand, I’m much more outspokenly anti-clerical and critical of certain forms of organised religion than he iss Make of that what you will.
    Discreet: Him I guess? Not sure what they mean by it
    Honoring: Now I’m completly in the dark as of what they mean
    Nurturing: him

    I think of myself as a faitrly feminine woman; and he has a very binary cis male identity. On the genderbread person, I’d place myself as around 90% female, and he sees himself as 100% completely and entirely male; but damn does this test make me feel genderqueer :)))))


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