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January 29, 2008 / beidson

Girl Gladiators and Female Fullbacks: Androgyny and Gender Rebellion

Just in case the first series of American Gladiators wasn’t enough to confuse adolescent boys and girls for life, it has now been resurrected from the dead and has returned for the viewing pleasure of a new generation.  The gladiators are asgladiator.jpg tough as ever, and their collective muscle power is as great as it is frightening.  But there is something else about this show that is much more frightening than muscles.  It is the misplaced machismo of the female gladiators.

If kids today are anything like I was when I was growing up, as I’m sure they are, they too are probably asking themselves the very same question I asked myself as a young boy: “Why does that woman look like a man?”  It’s not that you can’t tell the difference between the male and female gladiators.  It’s just that some of the characteristics which would normally be distinctions between male and female have been blurred significantly, such as the larger physique and physical aggressiveness of the female gladiators, to the point that they look very much like their male counterparts.

Is this simply practical gender equality or does this point to a greater reality, a reality of gender confusion and moral rebellion?  Being a muscular woman is not a sin, per se, nor is it a sin for women to be competitive.  However, to deny the proper physical distinctions between men and women is to confuse the special creation of man and woman as God’s image bearers.  He made us male and female, with obvious differences in our anatomy, phsique and drives.  This is why department stores have two clothing areas: one for guys and another for girls.  Even clothiers know that men and women are made differently.

The Independent Women’s Football League is another example of the blurring of natural disctinctions between men and women.  In case the NFL doesn’t give you enough hard hitting action, you can now enjoy the peculiar sight of female fullbacks breaking tackles left and right.  Forget female place kickers; here is an entirely new breed of grid iron girls, shoulder pads and all, poised to defend and destroy.  Though I doubt the IWFL will ever find a place on prime time television, it is interesting to consider why such a thing even exists?  Do some women really want to tackle each other, financial compensation not withstanding?

At any rate, these and other cultural oddities can be traced to a denial of God’s good gender design.  Does androgyny equal equality?  Does it help to blur the distinctions between men and women?  Are girl gladiators and female fullbacks the product of enlightenment and cultural evolution, or are they simply signs that we do not want to be who God has made us to be?  It is not just juiced-up women who are guilty of gender rebellion.  Nor is it jut the teenage girl who dresses like a boy, or the working class American man who got breast implants because he believes he is a girl.  The man who hits his wife when he ought to be defending her is rebelling against God; his wife is not a man, so he may not hit her as he might hit another man.  Any woman who refuses to have children because she despises the responsibilities and believes she is master of her own body is ignoring the clear teaching of Scripture: she has been created in the image of God and ought to find pleasure in using her body in whatever way God would have her to, according to Scripture.

Are gender distinctions part of God’s design, or are they artificial barriers that can be leveled at will?  Just ask the little boy who can’t figure out why a female gladiator looks like a man.  Even he knows that something is not right.


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