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Women aren’t Fish and Men aren’t Bicycles

| April 1, 2012

Target Tee Who Needs Boys

In the seventies, Gloria Steinem famously quipped, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Then she and the rest of her feminist buddies set about to convince us of this idea. Sadly, we swallowed the bait. And now a whole generation of girls is being raised to believe that men are inconsequential, and that women can make it just fine without them.

Take the T-shirt a friend of mine spotted for sale in Target, for example. In large, garish print designed to splash across a girl’s developing breasts the T-shirt proclaims, “Who needs boys, I can WIN by myself!

Just think about it for a moment. On the surface, the slogan seems to encourage a girl to develop a healthy self-respect and avoid getting enmeshed in dependent relationships.  But there’s an underlying message here. The slogan insinuates that men are inferior, and that they are expendable. It fosters an unhealthy, independent, a-woman-needs-a-man-like-a-fish-needs-a-bicycle, type of attitude.

Honestly, what would you think would happen if Target started selling a boy’s shirt that spouted: “Who needs GIRLS, I can WIN by myself”? Can you imagine the outrage?

Power and Independence

Today’s young woman is taught to value personal power and independence. She can WIN! She doesn’t need men. Indeed, in order to truly win, she must do so without them. Men are the bad guys. They’re the ones who stand in the way of a woman reaching her full potential. They’re the optional and disposable piece in a woman’s life. Independence is the highly prized and sought after trait that will guarantee her success. So she approaches relationships with the resolve to retain her autonomy at all costs.

Even in Christian circles, we cultivate an attitude of independence in our girls. The underlying message is that women need to be independent because men are untrustworthy, and will almost certainly let them down.

But can a woman truly “win” in a world without men? Is she better off without ties to a godly father, uncle, cousin, husband, or brother? Will she succeed when she fiercely exerts her autonomy and regards and treats men as non-essential? Will this attitude actually enhance her relationships and her life?

I think not.

Independence versus Interdependence

God created the two sexes to be interdependent—not dependent, codependent, or independent. This is the case in marriage, and is also the case in the general way the sexes interact with one another. Scripture actually cautions us against adopting an independent attitude:

“In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman and all things come from God.” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12)

God did not create male and female to operate independently. In this game called life, we’re players on the same team. We’re “heirs together of the grace of life.”

You will do your daughter a disservice if you teach her to be fiercely independent. It’s not a biblical perspective, and it’s not good for her.  Yes, you should teach her to guard against unhealthy relationships, and not to look to men for her source of identity.  But at the same time, you should be careful to teach her to respect men, to encourage and speak well of them, and to value and welcome the contribution that they can make to her life.

I understand that there are some scum-bags out there. I understand that your daughter may never get married. Or that her spouse might ditch her. Scripture provides an answer to these potential situations.  It teaches that God has a special spot in His heart for women who don’t have dads or husbands. It promises that in such situations, He will be their father or husband.

We Need Each Other

Women need men. Even those who will never have a boyfriend or husband need men. Do not buy into culture’s idea that men are unnecessary. Do not teach your daughter to be independent of men. Do not teach her to devalue men and write them off as inconsequential to her life.  We need men. We need them to be the fathers, brothers, husbands, protectors, providers, and heroes God created them to be. Being interdependent and having healthy relationships with males enriches a woman’s life. To truly “win”, women and men need to function interdependently.

It may be true that a fish doesn’t need a bicycle. But it doesn’t follow that women don’t need men.  Gloria Steinem clearly got it wrong. After all, women aren’t fish, and men aren’t bicycles.

What do you think?

How does an attitude of independence negatively impact male-female relationships?  Why do you think women fear losing their independence? How can women avoid becoming dependent, co-dependent, and independent, and foster a healthy interdependence instead?

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Comments (42)

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  1. Aprile says:

    Thank you for this article! For me, “healthy interdependence” has come from choosing to believe what God says about men, gender, marriage, etc. and being intentional about saturating my mind with HIS truth (instead of the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle distortions of it, like what appears on that t-shirt). A healthy relationship with men flows from a healthy relationship with Jesus in which His cross/the gospel is central, His Word is obeyed, and His joy is the ulitmate source of satisfaction. Any time find myself seeking independence from my husband and his leadership, my own selfish heart is the culprit. Autonomy is my default, but it’s not God’s desire for me. I get into a lot of trouble when I forget that. Hmmm . . .not much has changed since Genesis 3!

  2. Rochelle says:

    Great article! I’m apart of the generation 30 and unders, and have these conversations with women who don’t hardline with feminism but still fight acknowledging their interdependence on men. This article will be shared because you present the truth beautifully! Thank you.

    • sapphire says:

      I believe we need each other. If you notice couples together, especially in the teen years, they don’t look like theyre even together. the boy doesnt even hold her hand, she is holding HIS. He doesn’t even have to put his arm around her shoulder. When these modern day girls give themselves away sexually, women and girls act ‘desperate’ and cant function interdependently. Today, it’s the MEN that don’t need US… I wish there is a way to reverse this trend. There are too many 20 something women in my family who never married. Even a couple of 30 somethings!…ahem..we jumped off the ‘pedestal’ and into the mud

  3. LadyJulian says:

    I get the point in this article, and I am thankful for the men in my life: my father, a few guy friends, and a new brother-in-law.

    But the author has missed the point of the feminist movement. I take offense particularly at this quote: “Honestly, what would you think would happen if Target started selling a boy’s shirt that spouted: “Who needs GIRLS, I can WIN by myself”? Can you imagine the outrage?” Yes, there would be outrage, but it doesn’t follow that the girls’ version of this T-shirt is wrong. What we’re running into here is privilege: For many hundreds of years, girls have been taught that they only way for them to live a successful, healthy life is to support the vision of the men around them, whether they are the daughter of those men or married to them. Some groups (fundamentalist religions, usually) still teach this. The T-shirt for girls works against the male privilege of being able to have their own vision without marrying someone; a T-shirt for boys would be wrong because it would reinforce privilege.

    We MUST teach women that they can be successful on their own, that they are valuable without the company of men. You say this:

    But can a woman truly “win” in a world without men? Is she better off without ties to a godly father, uncle, cousin, husband, or brother? Will she succeed when she fiercely exerts her autonomy and regards and treats men as non-essential? Will this attitude actually enhance her relationships and her life?

    However, we live in a fallen world. As you yourself point out, there are scumbags out there. And women need to be prepared to handle life on their own if men desert them. Yes, you’re right, God is there for these women. But God has taken on human form once; He will not do so again to balance women’s checkbook, to help them unclog their toilet, or to teach them how to invest in stocks. Women need to be prepared to handle life on their own.

    By all means teach women to value and respect men. But don’t forget to teach men to value women as equally independent and strong creatures, capable of living life on their own, created in the exact same image of God.

    • Greer says:

      Dear LadyJulian,

      I respectfully disagree with your last statement, that men and women are “created in the exact same image of God.” Men display the image of God in ways that women don’t and vice versa. In Genesis 2:18 God calls women helpers: “And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” This word is only ever used in the original language (Hebrew) for women and for God as the One who helps His people. Women display God’s nature as helper, men display God’s image as protector and provider. Of course there is overlap – both men and women display God’s image in our creativity and eternal souls for example – but we are not created in the exact same image of God.

    • I have heard several people use the argument that there is a separate standard for those in privilege than for those not in privilege. However, I find it truly hard to understand. Why is that legitimate?

      Also, how do we decide who the less privileged person is? Is it okay for black men to speak hatefully about white women if we determine that black men are less privileged than white women. Or why even judge this based on large categories like race and gender at all? Why can’t any person say any hateful thing they like, provided, of course, that they can prove they are less privileged than the person they are speaking about?

      It seems to me that do unto others as you would have them do unto you should work regardless of categories such as race, gender, or privilege.

    • Jen Ochej says:

      Thanks for articulating the thoughts I couldn’t quite put into words. Great response.

    • Jennifer says:

      Hear! Hear! I value the contribution men could make to my life and would welcome it, if there were godly men to be found. I don’t have a choice BUT to be fiercely independent. Yes, God will be my father and husband but he isn’t going to be the one getting on the phone being strong and determined when I’ve been cheated, or need to fight for a wrong to be righted, or to pay the bills, or…

  4. Anonymous says:

    When I read something like Gloria Steinem’s comment I see it as a response, or at least a reaction, to the fairytale image (still quite prevalent in western society!) of a woman needing a man to rescue her, of her having no legitimate life without a man at the center of it.

    I know there’s some sense of feminists devaluing men in their essence, but often I wonder if that’s simply a reaction to an attempt to balance the power relationship – to bring society to a point where women are recognized as full people and not simply attachments to men.

    This doesn’t mean we throw men out – we should value all people and all relationships – but I hope we can come to a point where women can be respected for their abilities and not judged by their gender or devalued even in insults made to men that their lack of conformity to a stereotype of maleness makes them women. So much to discuss in that one alone.

    A strong, and truly independent woman can be the strongest of partners in a marriage, as the man and woman come alongside one another in life.

  5. Anonymous says:

    In the end its really not going to matter what we “think”, what is going to matter is what God says. God has some things to say about the role of the WIFE and the role of the WOMAN. Women, black people, victims of any type of injustice, perceived or otherwise; organizing marches, sit ins, protests, etc., none of this is in accordance with His Word and as long as any of this is used to advance an issue, that issue will remain. Nothing will change until the issue is taken, en mass if necessary, before God. God is who is over all authority and nothing is changed without His permission. We keep forgetting that the battle is not ours, its the Lords.

    • sapphire says:

      anon…when you said women, then black people? what about BLACK WOMEN…some black women never had the ability to be the ‘at home’ mom to their husbands and HAD to work. Yes some of us had doors opened for us, like being cops, doctors etc. but in this economy, it looks like nothing is happening to ANY OF US. I also notice, when women are in ‘femnine’ mode, ‘real men’ would stand up and help.Men today dont even have to pull thier weight, many arent in higher learning to make a better wage, etc.

  6. Connie says:

    Hmmmm…. I actually agree with a lot of what is in this article, but I agree more with the comments of LadyJulian and Anonymous. There is a historical backdrop to the slogans discussed. The comments express them well. In my counseling office, women consistently have to work on finding their identity apart from men and growing beyond an posture of dependence on men (often fostered by the church) MUCH more than they have to work on giving a proper value to the essential role of men in their lives. “Waiting to be rescued” is a horribly vulnerable posture (that has been encouraged by modern culture and Evangelicalism) and a posture that most men would NOT tolerate in their own lives. That said, those who know me know that I hold men in high regard… starting with my husband and my father, and following with several significant, honorable men in my life.

  7. LadyJulian says:

    Anonymous, you said it well – much better than my overly-academic jargon about privilege. I try to avoid jargon when I can, but years as a graduate student makes it hard. :)

  8. anonymous says:

    some women choose badly, wind up with a loser, and then apply their experience to all men. just as a young boy needs a strong mother figure in the home, girls need strong father figures too. when she has that, she’s more likely to pick good relationships with the opposite sex.

    BTW, my husband has encouraged me as much or more than anyone in my life to keep growing and become more than i thought possible. i’ve never been held back and had his support all the way. that’s more than i can say for my girlfriends!

  9. Mike says:

    Sigh. To Lady Julian and Anonymous:

    Ladies, it’s not about whether or not there are “scumbags” in the world; there are. It’s not about whether a strong woman brings something to a marriage; she does (see: Proverbs 31). Rather, it’s about shaking your fist at God and telling Him you have a better plan than He did when He made you.

    When God made man and woman, He never intended for them to live as separate beings, any more than he intended for Christians to live as Lone Rangers. The whole quest for “independence”, as envisioned and, indeed, championed by the feminist movement, is really about rebellion. It’s the same as the lie the serpent told Eve in the Garden (Genesis, chapter 3):

    “You can have it all. No need to place limits on yourself. God is lying to you. You can do it all by yourself. Ditch the man – God’s appointed protector / provider. Reach for the fruit – and become your own God.”

    We humans are meant for community, most especially within the bounds of marriage. We were never intended to be “independent” – not as genders, not as individuals. (“It is not right for man to be alone” – Genesis 2:18; “For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. – Romans 12:4-5.)

    I plead with you to reject this notion of “independence” as something healthy, because it’s not. It’s a lie born from the sinful desire of … pride. All of us are called to submit to God’s plan, and that plan means we are not islands unto ourselves.

    God bless.

  10. Rachel says:

    I appreciate this article, but I wish there had been more clarification as to why men and women need each other, and how our differences complement each other. I agree there is too much of an independent spirit in the world today, especially among women. I am just beginning to understand a few of the reasons why we need each other, and would like to learn more. :o)

  11. Caroline says:

    THIS captures what I try to teach the girls I mentor – you don’t “need” men to be complete (you are complete in Christ, even overflowing in His abundance). We are, however, created to work in partnership with men as we respond to God’s call to love Him and love others. It’s all part of the mystery of His creation – we cannot decide to reflect certain parts of His character and not others. He created us to be in community and IN that community to reflect Him – not in spite of or apart from it.

    Thank you for this encouragement today!

    • sapphire says:

      AMEN….you do NOT need men to feel complete, BUT years ago, the vows were, I PRONOUNCE YOU MAN AND WIFE…. HE WASNT complete until married…when they changed it to HUSBAND AND WIFE…it changed the whole ‘ballgame’.and guys feel they dont need women, so they dont need to put out for her—–yes we are complete in CHRIST..but theyre too many single women for the population

  12. Erica says:

    How true!!
    My Heart is deeply grieved by the twisted thinking of our culture.Thank you for sharing the truth in this article!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s true that men and women need to be interdependent, but it’s very easy to assume the roles they must take in this interdependence, and thus we limit both men and women. I think this may be what much feminism is fighting against.

    I will raise my daughter to know that she is God’s child, and will support her in whatever God calls her to, whether that is a strong leadership role or a more traditional female role. Within this I will encourage her to be a servant, just as I will encourage my son to be a servant in whatever he does. I will encourage them both to be defined by God and not cultural expectations of what their gender means.

    I will model this with an interdependent marriage, with Christ in charge, not me or my husband.

    Thanks for your blog. These are important issues, and is great to know that people with different views and backgrounds are still loving Jesus and trying their best to work out how to live His way.

    Thanks again.

  14. Sandy says:

    Great article! Love what you’re saying here. I would love to hear more about interdependence. What does that look like for men? For women? It’s easy to identify ways that women can benefit from the contributions men make in their lives, but in what ways do men need a woman’s contribution? I don’t doubt that they do, but I would love to see this picture painted more clearly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Me too! I’m looking forward to more examples to flesh out what this looks like in everyday life.

  15. Samantha Davis says:

    Like the title of the site a LOT. :) 

    I’m halfsies on this one. 
    Girls she be taught independence because that is what all people should develop ASAP. Teaching a child anything but self sufficiency and assuming responsibility for the actions and consequences in his or her own life will lead to a pathetic adolescence in one’s adulthood. 

    So I don’t see how independence is anything but wrong UNLESS, like any tool of Satan it becomes an Idol: Girls, you should be so independent that you develop a bitterness and a hatred for men or people that don’t rely on themselves. Of course that’s wrong! 
    Any extreme is. Beth Moore said in a study of the fruits of the spirit that obsession in any one direction is an idol (over independence, complete lack of independence) and that the only place of peace is balance: “I am independent and take responsibility for the actions in my life. But I also trust God’s reign in my life and he is the only being i depend on FULLY to provide for me as he is God and he is my king. When hard times come, He is the only guarantee for deliverance. And because He is almighty, I understand that He can work through others to provide for me. He can work through friends, family, strangers, my spouse, men, children, and women to help and aid me throughout life.” 

    It’s a balance. We are only completely dependent on God for all things–the provision for leaky pipes, financial struggles, car problems. Does a man ever really help a woman? Does a woman ever really help a man? God works through people for people and it is ignorant to believe that we do not receive abounding help through all kinds of people, regardless of gender. 

    Just as it says in Galations, although we are different and have different roles,God sees men and women as equal. So I dont understand all this hyped up crap about which gender should be taught what and when about how to rely or not rely on one another. All beings rely on God first and foremost that trust in Him and from there, it is a part of life to provide for each other. That’s not a gender issue, it’s a commonality between humans. 

    As far as I understand, the word “independence” is used as a tool of instruction so that children do not expect any person to live their life for them or to handle its problems. It enforces self-sufficiency and taking responsibility for one’s own life. It doesn’t mean you wont receive help, but you have to deal with your situation regardless. A woman never messed up in life if a man helped her out when she was in a time of need. She can still be “independent,” still taking care of herself in the proper way, eating certain foods or taking certain medicines, praying to the Lord for healing. 

    The acceptance of gifts from anyone–man, woman, or God–does not negate independence. If it did, no single person could be defined with such a term. 

  16. Beck Gambill says:

    I actually used to have an even worse attitude than independence. I used to wish I had been born a man. I wanted their role of leadership and resented my position. Thankfully God transformed my thinking and led me to embrace his gift of womanhood and respect mens roles in my life! Unity of heart in Christ’s bride, that embraces diversity of roles and gifting, is a blessing.

  17. Laura McCormick says:

    Thank you for writing what many in our culture would perceive as controversial.

    I was raised by an abusive father and as a result bought into the “who needs men?” solution very early in life. I pursued a double major in college and then a Master’s degree, determined to never be trapped under the thumb of any man.

    But God was merciful to me; He gave me a kindhearted husband, who later became saved, which improved upon his existing good qualities. Together, we are raising 5 darling daughters.

    God has shown me that I DO INDEED need a man in my life, but old habits are hard to shake; I find myself lecturing my girls about being strong and independent. I hear myself saying, “You may not find a husband and if you do, he may die or divorce you. You must be prepared to stand on your own!” This sounds great, but it is motivated by my old fears and bad memories.

    May our faithful Father in Heaven lead Christian parents to seek balance in their child rearing! We want our children to be able servants for God, but not bitterly independent.

    Thanks again for a great article.

  18. Lila says:

    As a Christian woman I take offense to this article. I am an older single woman and while I would love to have the typical fairy tale marriage – God did not give that to me at 21. However, I do not believe it is wrong of me to have a good head on my shoulders and think for myself. Did the woman in Proverbs 31 not go and sell her goods? Chances are she had to deal with men. That meant she had good business sense and folks respected her. I know that procreation without men is impossible but that doesn’t mean I can’t run my own home, pay my own bills, change my own oil, and caulk my trim work on my own. Women, Christian or not, should never look for men to “fill” certain voids in their lives. In life there are not two columns: one for me and one for women. I’d love to marry a guy who can cook and enjoys gardening. I hope he thinks it’s awesome I know how to clean a gun and can drive a tractor. Marriage is about finding the person God made specifically to compliment you – NOT to complete you. I think it’s wrong that Christians tell their young girls they can’t be amazing, because that’s the man’s job and the girls must be meek and quiet and supportive. I think it’s completely archaic to pigeonhole women into the traditional barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen roles. Girls can be anything they want to be – God gives us all types of skills and talents and if we aren’t using those to the best of our absolute ability than THAT’s wrong and THAT is Biblical!

  19. KC says:

    I hope the author of the article will read the last two replies because they say what is wrong with this attitude of women needing to “submit” to men better than I could. This is exactly the kind of thing that turns people off, way off, of Christianity or religion of any kind. Christians put a lot of emphasis on getting married, the younger the better and spitting out as many kids as possible and bowing to the man as the “head of the household”. Well, for many off topic reasons that isn’t going to happen for me, and as the other poster said, God isn’t around in human form to do all these “manly” tasks I shouldn’t have to trouble my inferior female brain with. That shirt is awesome, by the way. Sorry you are so offended by it.

    • Lila says:

      Thank you for agreeing with me. I recently left one of the most traditional and conservative churches you can imagine without being amish or menonite. I was also raised by a very loving father who encouraged me to try all sorts of interesting and sometimes tom-boyish things. I share those things to say that I am not bitter about being older and single. I was blessed that when I left my church recently it was because God opened my eyes to things that were happening that bordered on criminal. A 16 year old girl married to a 27 year old man… That set off red flags. A young woman being publicly screamed at because she did what her mother told her to do instead of what the pastor said. A single mother punished because the pastor saw her hugging a man (turned out to be her step father). These examples are extreme but since leaving this environment God has shown me there is freedom in Him. I feel like a completely different person. He has blessed me with a job I NEVER thought I’d be doing and I am put in situations everyday that would have made the old me uncomfortable. However, I can’t help but think that being a single independent woman helps that. I know that one day I will (Hopefully) marry and when that day comes I look forward to serving God with my husband as the head of my household but I think the most important lesson we can teach our girls is that we must use WHAT we have, WHEN we have it, or God may take it away. If I was still at home letting my parents take care of me just because I’m single then I fear God might have removed some talents from my life. I just get so upset when I hear of young women just biding their time till marriage. I don’t see that practice taught anywhere in the Bible.

  20. Laura McCormick says:

    Sin is always a heart issue. There is nothing wrong with a Christian girl growing into a strong, intelligent woman. But when she becomes prideful and bitter, considering herself superior to others, including men and women, she should expect discipline from her Lord, who has made her to SERVE others and to glorify Him.

    By the way, she (like all of us) was created with certain limitations and in spite of what our Disney culture likes to preach, she cannot do anything that she sets her mind to. Her creator has given her a limited number of gifts; her job is to discover them and hone them, for His glory.

    She is ultimately going to find herself single or married, but I am sure that along the way, she is going to need to work with men. May her heart be gentle and loving toward them and not hardened by an attitude that screams, “I don’t need you!” When a man changes her tire or opens a door for her, may she accept the services with sincere gratitude.

    Jesus washed his disciples feet. He wants us to do the same to others (care for them). Yes folks, we do need each other.

  21. Mike says:

    Many of the comments on this thread make me truly sad.

    Much of the commentary runs along the lines of, “I’m not willing to surrender my independence because men are unreliable / a man did X to me / what if I trust a man and he betrays me?”. However, ladies, have you ever considered the fact that the same sword cuts both ways?

    I run a web ministry for divorcees (click my name to go to the site). Although many people don’t realize it, most divorces (at least 2/3) are initiated by women … and the stories of men betrayed by their wives – divorced, bankrupted, kids taken, sued, imprisoned, the list goes on – would break anyone’s heart.

    Women frequently complain that they aren’t willing to give up their independence because there are no good men or because the risk is too great or because they’ve been hurt. And I certainly understand that. Fear and bad experiences are powerful motivators.

    But have you ever considered: Was the man you wanted hurt the same way? Did your Prince Charming run into the Wicked Witch instead of Cinderella?

    You’d want him to pick himself up and try again, wouldn’t you? You’d want him to follow God’s direction and take that risk, right?

    So … what makes it different on the other side of the gender divide?

  22. Matt says:

    I think interdependence is a good ideal, but I think the language of this post isn’t doing women any favors.

    If we were to reverse the gender language here, I think the complementarian camp would find it completely unacceptable. If we told parents we shouldn’t raise our boys to be independent, but to depend on women, how would that sound? If we told unmarried men they still needed to depend on their mothers and grandmothers until they found a wife, they would be derided as momma’s boys.

    Interdependence ought to work both ways, and if we’re teaching one gender to be more interdependent than another, then that’s not interdependence, that’s just dependence. I want my daughter to be able to trust men and to be able to rely on a husband if she gets married, but I don’t want her to NEED a man in her life to function. I want her to be an independent woman who puts her trust in a man because he’s earned it, not because she’s trying to fill a hole in her life that only a man can fill. She can be a independent woman who depends on God, not men.

    • Mary Kassian says:

      I did not say that women should depend on men. My point is that Scripture teaches interdependence — not dependence, co-dependence, or independence . . . and the same goes for man as for woman.

  23. Elveria says:

    It is the same way in a lot of other areas. As an African American, I think we have elevated pride over who we are to the extent of putting down European Americans. We are all made in His image to bring Him glory.

    God in His wisdom made us male and female, from every nation to worship and honor him. We should enjoy and appreciate the difference and variety in each other instead of putting each other down or “dissing” as the young folks say.

  24. D. Adams says:

    My youngest daughter is on the equestrain team at a major university, and this weekend they had a horse show which I attended and where I heard the most feminist comment from her coach. One of the girls mentioned in front of many people a tweet that their coach had recently tweeted. The coach tweeted, “Marry the hot ones, and then make your own money!” I was so saddened by the comment, especially since her husband was sitting right next to her. I just cringed for him. He smiled and laughed along with everyone else, but I know he must have been cruchsed inside. How could he not be?!

  25. J. Lankford says:

    My mother bought my daughter a shirt that says, “Girls RULE.” I have never liked it, and asked her not to wear it out of the house. THIS article speaks why. We wouldn’t allow any other class of people to proclaim their superiority on a t-shirt . . . would we?

  26. Julie Chohan says:

    You know, I saw this shirt and thought initially, “What is this trying to say?” and after a moment’s pause, I thought, “Well, that’s good. Teaching girls not to be boy crazy and dependent on having a boyfriend is a good thing. Maybe this is pushing towards getting involved in sports and such rather than serial dating.” Since I don’t have a daughter, I didn’t really think much beyond that. And it’s funny, because I teach on Biblical Womanhood and I champion Complementarian teachings, and the deeper implications of the message on this shirt were totally lost on me! Thanks for the reminder of the subtle and not-so-subtle messages our culture is preaching. I think you hit the nail on the head with your ideas of interdependence without dependence and co-dependence. Therein lies the subtleties.

    As far as how women can foster a healthy interdependence, I think it comes from a firm foundation on who they are created to be in the first place. Understanding our unique, feminine design by the Creator and everything that means is crucial to having a healthy God-centered self-image in the first place. Only then can girls understand their important role in the interplay between the genders. Thanks again for your diligence to expose the truth!

  27. Tacicia says:

    Amen. I totally agree with this article.

  28. Anna says:

    I think we were being convinced by the feminist culture that if a woman is not totally independent then she must be a weak and pathetic creature and that only important thing is to be able to do anything and to compete with men. And that’s the saddest thing. Thankfully there are young women who seme to understand the difference between being interdependent with men and being weak…

  29. Dawn says:

    The scriptures are full of incredible role models for women. Familiar Bible stories feature strong, intelligent, independent women such as: Deborah(Judges 4 &5), Abigail, Tamar, Queen of Sheba (1Kings 10: 1-13),Ruth and Naomi,and Esther, just to name a few.

    The author writes, “You will do your daughter a disservice if you teach her to be fiercely independent. It’s not a biblical perspective, and it’s not good for her.”

    However,as a mother of two young adult daughters (ages 20 and 25) I disagree that independence in women is a negative trait. Whether you have daughters or sons I hope that they are raised to be independent,responsible,critical thinkers,full of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)and capable of being the very best that God intended them to be as individuals.

    I am not sure where the “man-bashing” attitude comes from (“She doesn’t need men. Men are the bad guys . . .stand in the way of a woman reaching her full potential . . . fiercely exerts her autonomy and regards and treats men as non-essential?”). My daughters love and appreciate the godly men they have in their lives, such as their father, grandfather, uncles, and family friends.It is these interdependent relationships that they have cultivated that will enhance their lives.It is also these relationships that have encouraged my girls to become independent young women.