The Personalist Project

Comments (5)

Joan Drennen

#1, Mar 26, 2012 1:28pm

I also loved that Alice von Hildebrand talked about ambition in a postive way, Teresa. I caught her few passing words about it and they have been feeding my mind ever since. I've always believed that ambition was negative, and suddenly I am freed to see how necessary it is to do God's will.

Wish I could write more. I like what you're saying. I also like the combination of gifts that you possess, Teresa! Thank Goodness you spoke up to your friend. The fact that we all possess such different combination of gifts and tratits shows how much we benefit and need each other.

Scott Johnston

#2, Mar 27, 2012 3:15am

Hmmmm. Well, in my experience, generally speaking, nature seems to give a bit more weight toward one or the other side of the spectrums above. But, there are indeed men who are also more intuitive and sensitive than most men, as well as women who are more objective and outward-focused than perhaps most women. But I think such are more the exception than the rule.

When it comes to men, I call to mind some rather rare men who are both accomplished in the field of medicine, but also very intuitive/creative/artistic as well. One physician I am thinking of is both an expert in his field, as well as a musician and someone with a poet's ear for speaking movingly in public. Very rare!

As there are men who not only excel in their more typically male strengths, but also have a greater measure of the more typically female strengths than most men, so too there are women who might excel in both the more typically female as well as more typically male traits.

Scott Johnston

#3, Mar 27, 2012 3:47am

So, it seems to me, that

1. Generally, the spectrum of strengths above do divide more-or-less along gendered lines. (of course, this is simply to speak of possessing these traits in a somewhat stronger, more focused way, not at all to say that the opposite gender does not possess them at all)

2. If a person excels in strengths that tend to be more prominent in the opposite gender, it seems to me that they don't necessarily also excel in the special strengths more typical of their gender. (e.g. more emotional, subjectively oriented men tend not to be drawn to math & science careers).

3. People who posses multiple areas of strengths that are typical of both men and women's usual natural gifts, are rare gems. They have special gifts that can be a great benefit to society because in themselves they possess unusual combinations of insight and depth and breadth of understanding of the human condition that few people have. Perhaps such may also find it extra challenging to cultivate deep friendships because they don't perhaps identify as strongly with (most) people who tend to see life from a viewpoint weighted more heavily toward only one gender's typical strengths?

Katie van Schaijik

#4, Mar 27, 2012 10:25am

A few quick points:

First, every typically "male" or "female" virtue is first of all a human excellence, and therefore good to have, good to strive for.  To me it would be a kind of insanity to, say, try to discourage girls from being ambitious (in a good way) or having goals on the grounds that those traits are more typically found in boys.

But, like Scott says, the fact that they can be found in some girls doesn't mean they can't, speaking generally, be recognized as more common in boys.  I remember reading in a book about Russian history that contemporaries said of Catherine the Great that she possessed a mind "infinitely more masculine than feminine."

I've often marvelled at the differences between my boys' minds and my girls': what attracts their attention, what questions they ask...

Teresa, your story about the gathering of women proves the basic point.  It's practically impossible to imagine (isn't it?) a similar gathering of men friends.

But, you are of course right that it isn't a case of either/or. More proof that we're made for communion!

Scott Johnston

#5, Mar 28, 2012 1:57pm

Hi again!

Here is an excellent article that is not exactly on this subject, but it has a lot to do with it. . .

"In Praise of Men"

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