Tiger Mom Versus Mama Grizzly

They had never known a man like this Man—there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as "The women, God help us!" or "The ladies, God bless them!"; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious.*

The West's Mama Grizzly has a sense of herself as a serious, transcendent actor, standing athwart God, history, and human society on behalf of her children. In its way, this role is as intense and exacting as the Tiger Mom's. It can be misdirected and lose its balance. But it has produced many people of noble character, resilient spirit, and goodwill. Like the Tiger Mom, the Mama Grizzly is a product of her culture. She has weaknesses that have to be made up by other elements of society. But she also has great and enduring strengths.

* Quoted from Dorothy Sayers, Are Women Human?, originally published in 1947. Excerpted in numerous fora online (e.g., here).

1/24/2011 5:00:00 AM
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    About J. E. Dyer
    J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval intelligence officer and evangelical Christian. She retired in 2004 and blogs from the Inland Empire of southern California. She writes for Commentary's CONTENTIONS blog, Hot Air's Green Room, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.