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When Men- and Women-Only IS Okay

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4. Community. Whether it's young mothers getting together to share stories and seek support or random women getting together to laugh, study the Bible, or, for instance, discuss leadership matters, same-gender fellowship bonds us. Women can understand women in ways that men just can't. Vice versa, I'm sure. And not to get into that whole When Harry Met Sally "Can men and women really ever be just friends" conversation that dominated the cafeteria my senior year of high school, but let's face it, same-sex friendships tend to be the least, let's say, complicated. For the most part, we need fewer boundaries, and I think that leads to increased community.

Of course looking over the list it looks like I just made a case for why the golf club that set this all off should or can exclude women. I mean, isn't the literal "old boys" club simply offering privacy, safety (though from what I'm not sure?), opportunity, and community? Yes, you can argue that. But I think there's something else is going on. Maybe it's just because I know that the club in question not too long ago excluded African-Americans, Jews, and Hispanics (and may still, actually). Maybe that's what makes me suspect hate, fear, and stereotypes are behind the decision to bar women - just as they were the driving force to keep out others.

Maybe it's because even though my MOPS group may be for Mothers of Preschoolers, no guard stands at the door of our fellowship hall barring fathers from walking in - or from speaking to us - as they do at the club. Maybe it's because at places like Gifted For Leadership, we welcome and encourage male voices here, even as we serve women leaders.

But it's not to say that men are the only guilty party here. Especially as women gather to bond and unite and discuss, it's easy to fall into a mindset that "others" don't understand or have nothing to contribute. Plenty of women's groups have employed the same fear, hate, and stereotypes that have kept so many sidelined throughout history. We all need to remember that God created men and women to tend that garden and bear his image - together.

Anyway, those are my further thoughts. Yours?.?

May30, 2008 at 10:56 AM

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