I recently came across a few blogs that are all about raising your children with unbiased gender roles. Written beneath a cultural and feminist worldview, these women audaciously claimed that boys should be able to wear dresses, paint their toe nails, and wear pink. I was shocked! They made the claim that girls are allowed to play sports, play outside and get dirty, and play with toys made for boys so why can’t boys play with dolls and where dresses?
This might sound a little crazy but this is actually a great question for Christian parents to think through.
Let me start with a pretty embarrassing story that is so ridiculous that I am actually cringing my teeth as I’m typing.
When I was eleven years old I had the great idea of painting my toe nails red. Well, it wasn’t a preconceived thought – it just happened – and I’ve never actually come out in the open and confessed all this before… ever! It actually feels kind of nice! I did tell my wife but she just laughed and thought it was funny and cute all at the same time.
I was spending the day at my grandparents house in the country of East Tennessee. Maybe I was bored or maybe I was crazy, or a combination of the two, but I went into their bathroom and I painted my toe nails red. Little did I know that it would dry and to my 11 year old brain there was no way to remove that stuff! I tried scraping it off with a fork. I tried soap. I tried rubbing my toe nails on concrete! Nothing would get this crap off my toes. So, with a sheepish, head tilted down, and eyes on the floor look, I approached my mom about my problem (I would never have told my dad about this; this was way to embarrassing). Oh man, she laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed! I made her promise to never EVER tell my father. Well the secrets out and hopefully he never reads this post!
Why was I so embarrassed? Why did I hide it from my dad? Why couldn’t I have just flaunted my pretty little red toes like it was normal for a boy to wear this stuff?
The answer: painting one’s toe nails is strictly a feminine action.
Let me be clear, toe nail polish, dresses, and tight pants are not necessarily feminine in and of themselves. The object is neither feminine nor masculine. It is an object. It is a thing. Though the action behind these objects and the way we use them are strictly feminine in our culture. In our culture dresses are feminine objects. Toe nail polish is a feminine object.
As Christian parents, we must teach our children at an early age what biblical femininity and biblical masculinity are. We must teach our little girls about the essence of what makes a girl beautiful. We must teach our little boys about the roles of men and what makes a man masculine. Sports are not necessarily a ‘boy’ thing either. Girls can still play sports and have a feminine persona about them. Girls can be helicopter pilots and still be feminine. Guys can cut hair and still be masculine. Girls should not try and act like men, and guys should not act like women.
As men and women we are made in the image God. Both male and female. We have been given gender roles to reflect the communal aspect of the Trinity. When boys act like boys and girls act like girls they then most reflect God’s intended design for his most prized possessions.
When boys paint their toe nails they reflect femininity, which by logical comparison is not what boys should be learning about God’s design for them.
Thankfully, my parents never painted my toes. Only I was that stupid!