[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his clip from the 1979 film Monty Python’s Life of Brian is perhaps not something you would expect to find on our website, being as it is, the satirical story of Brian, born in the stable next door on the first Christmas day, who spends his life being mistaken for the Messiah. However, this particular scene highlights the growing issue of gender ideology.

Gender ideology is based on the premise that sexual identity is entirely relative and can (and should) be exchanged for sexual orientation and social role. It says that whilst biological sex may be absolute, ‘gender’ is how we see ourselves; it is a social construct and can, therefore, be changed. And it may not even change from one definite to another, but rather can exist in a fluid state.

According to this theory, marriage and motherhood are structures invented by men to oppress women: biologically they may be female (sex), socially they are forced into this role (gender). Therefore by changing their social behavior (by not marrying, not having children, through the use of contraception, or even abortion), they can change their gender identity. This is probably a gross oversimplification, and the issue is much broader, including not just radical feminism but many complex issues such as transsexual, transgender, intersex, homosexuality, same-sex attraction…

Monty Python’s – I Want To Be A Woman

Confused? The truth is that sexual identity is not assigned but observed. Society does not decide whether a person is male or female and allocates their sexual identity based on a preference for the color pink over blue (or vice versa). Rather, when a child is born we observe (biologically) that he or she is male or female. If society stereotypes or oppresses someone because they are male or, more commonly, female (for example denying girls the right to education) then that is a problem which we need to address, but the fact that a person is either male or female is not a problem in itself.

The Bible tells us that sexual identity is not merely a convention or a social construct but that ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27). More importantly, this same verse tells us that male and female are created in God’s image. Yes! Both men and women are created in God’s image. We know that men and women are different. Biologically, this is obvious. After all, Stan does not have a womb. Psychologically we are also different; reacting, behaving, experiencing and expressing our emotions in different ways. Some of this might well be ‘learned’ but it is not wholly so. So, we are different, but we are both created in God’s image, and therefore men and women are complementary (not to be confused with complimentary = a free gift, or compliment = saying nice things about one another, but that we complement one another = enhance or emphasize the other). Together, we are much more than we are separated and we reflect something more of the mystery of who God is.

As a side note, the video also says something about the problem of false diplomacy and political correctness. His three friends respond to Stan’s desire to be called Loretta in three different ways. Francis seems uncomfortable, looks at his feet and is silent. Reg causes offense (and indeed, oppression) by pointing out that he can’t have babies because he doesn’t have a womb. Judith, on the other hand, goes for pacifying political correctness, advocating the right to have babies despite the obvious impossibility of actually doing so. Reg’s incredulity is even shocking, despite the fact that he seems to be the only one who actually admits the truth; Judith ignores it and Francis is embarrassed by it. But which of them is actually being the most helpful to Stan?