This year’s Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira and JLo created a lot of buzz and commentary. Just another example of how there seems to not be one single issue that Americans can agree on these days. Conversations abounded on the topics of cultural values and modesty in entertainment. I just reread Mere Christianity around the time of the Super Bowl and this section popped out to me as being potentially relevant yet written nearly 80 years ago! This is perhaps how C.S. Lewis might have framed the topic:
The Christian rule of chastity must not be confused with the social rule of “modesty” (in one sense of that word: i.e. propriety, or decency). The social rule of propriety lays down how much of the human body should be displayed and what subjects can be referred to, and in what words, according to the customs of a given social circle.
Thus, while the rule of chastity is the same for all Christians at all times, the rule of propriety changes. A girl in the Pacific islands wearing hardly any clothes and a Victorian lady completely covered in clothes might both be equally “modest,” proper, and decent, according to the standards of their own societies; and both, for all we can tell by their dress, might be equally chaste (or equally unchaste).”
Read this 1 page article- http://www.apa.org/research/action/difference.aspx
This brief article has a lot to say, however, the following quote is extremely pertinent and therefore deserves attention:
…even where there are patterns of cognitive differences between males and females, “differences are not deficiencies.” She continues, “Even when differences are found, we cannot conclude that they are immutable because the continuous interplay of biological and environmental influences can change the size and direction of the effects some time in the future.”(emphasis mine)
I think too many people, men and women, get bogged down by the idea of differences implying some type of value statement when in fact differences do not need to be viewed this way. When we use the word “equal” we do not mean totally and utterly the same in every facet possible. If this is the standard of equality, then nothing is truly equal. However, equal has a much deeper meaning as it relates to dignity and intrinsic value as an individual human being. Humans are ends in themselves- not simply means to an end. Nor should our intrinsic value be measured by some external number or outcome. If we measure people’s value merely on what they can produce then we are on a slippery slope to a place that has historically been the cause of much pain and death. Men and women have differences but so does every individual within each group.
The question to me is not, whether or not our genes and the environment impact our views and behaviors. The question is- which views and behaviors ought we to have? This question presupposes that we have agency to act outside of the restraints of our sociobiological situation and that there is an objective (opinion independent) standard by which to measure good vs. bad (and what a “good” society or individual might look like). However, this this view immediately throws out naturalistic determinism (no free will) as well as the idea of complete moral relativism. I am under the impression that the vast majority of today’s leading social scientists and psychologists in gender research, take for granted the fact that they are aiming to create a “good” society in the objective sense. For on their worldview, “good” is simply a social construct and therefore they cannot complain when someone disagrees.
Offensive? It shouldn’t be. True? You tell me.
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