Does any society benefit from rigid definitions of manhood and womanhood? Of personhood? At a time when constricting, harmful definitions of gender are loosening, dissolving and broadening to more accurately reflect the spectrum of human behavior and identity, I agree with columnist Kathleen Parker that Sen. Josh Hawley’s version of masculinity seems draconian and sorely outmoded.
Of course, courage, assertiveness, independence and protectiveness can be virtuously applied, but are they the exclusive bailiwick of men? And do these qualities preclude other more "feminine" skills and sensitivities? Each person is uniquely qualified to define him or their or herself — to live a life of accomplishment, of joy and of character if given a chance.
While Hawley’s ideas (including his approval of the racists and sexists who ransacked the U.S. Capitol in the name of Christianity) are clearly misguided at best, I question Parker’s notions of tradition vs. reality. Women have long ago proven what they can do and do well. With very few exceptions, they are the same as what men can do. The idea of men’s work and women’s work smacks of exclusion and ignorance and contain an understated violence.
I think it’s time to look to the future of humanity as it strives to be its fullest self. Ditch the roles of the past that have proven to be limiting and harmful. All are created equal. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — for all. And all are at liberty, within the law, to define themselves and pursue their own brand of happiness.