It goes without saying that gender is somewhat of a hot topic at the moment. From the UN to Disney films – think Frozen, Brave, Maleficent, more people than ever are catching onto a movement that started decades ago.

But here’s the thing. With every big, historical movement comes the danger that we will swing too far to the other extreme, tipping the balance unhealthily in the other direction. And my worry is that such a good and worthy fight as the one for gender equality will lead us to lose any sense of gender at all. In deconstructing what gender means, will we then fail to reconstruct it, losing the sense of God-given difference between men and women?

You don’t have to look far to discover that the lines between gender are becoming blurred. The arts, fashion and media give us a glimpse into the direction popular thought is heading. Look in any magazine at the models and you’ll see that the androgynous look is at the height of fashion. Women looking like men. This started decades ago with high heels coming into fashion; women physically becoming as tall as men. I shouldn’t need to be as tall as a man to feel as valued. Facebook now has 51 different options for gender. I think we are losing any definition attached to gender at all. It feels impossible to say ‘men are generally like this’ or ‘women are generally like that’ without appearing sexist.

We have spent the last few decades deconstructing gender and changing its definition. But now we need to reconstruct and redefine it. While society is telling us what gender isn’t, it is failing to tell us what gender is. If we were supposed to be the same then why were we made this way? Why are we not just androgynous beings that can produce offspring? Why are men stronger and taller in general? Why is it that women bear children and men don’t? Why can women breastfeed? Why do we have different hormones?

Because we’re different. And yes there is a spectrum going from feminine men to masculine women, me falling somewhere around tomboy, and yes, none of us fits into a nicely packaged gender box. But I think there are things that men are generally better at and things that women are generally better at, with lots of exceptions of course. Because of this, I don’t think it’s wrong or sexist for there to be things we rely more on men for and things we rely more on women for. These shouldn’t be strict and there should be lots of crossover.

For example, when I had my baby, I wasn’t pushing for my husband to feed him when my body seemed pretty keen to do the job. I think this is fitting of a race that has been created to have two genders, and I think it reflects something of God.

So this is my question, and I don’t have an answer here. If gender isn’t how we’ve defined it historically, then what is it? Because there is a point to it. We were made this way. And I think a distinction needs to be made between fighting for women’s rights and fighting for men and women to be the same. The first is necessary. The second is toxic.

Written by Anya Briggs // Follow Anya on  Twitter // Anya's  Website

Anya is a full time mum to two little boys and a freelance writer when she has the time. Her husband is the associate Rector at St Georges, Leeds, where they have recently moved.

Read more of Anya's posts

Comments loading!