Cultivating Womanhood in a World of Competing Voices -- By: Todd L. Miles

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 17:1 (Spring 2012)
Article: Cultivating Womanhood in a World of Competing Voices
Author: Todd L. Miles


Cultivating Womanhood
in a World of Competing Voices

A Review of James Dobson, Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2010.

Todd L. Miles

Associate Professor of Theology, Western Seminary
Elder, Hinson Baptist Church
Portland, Oregon

James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys, published in 2001 by Tyndale House, proved to be so informative and helpful to parents in the raising of their sons, that many fathers and mothers of daughters wondered when the companion volume on raising girls would be published. Ten years later, Dobson finished Bringing Up Girls, and it will no doubt prove to be beneficial to all who read it.

Dobson, the founder and president emeritus of Focus on the Family, a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor, as well as a husband and father to a son and daughter, brings a wealth of trusted experience to his writing. Christians have long looked to Dr. Dobson for counsel in the raising of children, and there has arguably not been a more influential voice in parenting and marriage issues over the last century.

Bringing Up Girls is borne out of a critical concern for the well-being of girls and young women in a culture that is simultaneously over-sexualized and confused over all issues related to gender and gender roles. There are so many competing voices for the hearts and minds of young women, so many mixed messages being sent to young men regarding the place of those same young women in society, and most tragically, so little godly sense exercised in parenting, that today, as perhaps never before, a clear voice of authoritative biblical wisdom is needed.

Dobson begins his book by explaining, in the first two chapters, why he possesses this sense of urgency in writing to parents of girls. Young women are in peril. The ambient culture wants to make girls into sex objects, and it targets them when they are young and most vulnerable.

Girls are different than boys. Femininity is different than masculinity. That might seem obvious and attractive to some, but to many in our society, those differences are unwanted and are to be negated through strong social engineering. In chapters 3-6, Dobson explores the differences between girls and boys and argues persuasively that those differences are there by design. Bringing his clinical training and experience to bear, Dobson explains that girls are fundamentally different than boys, and those differences are essentially due to nature, not nurture. Girls have different biochemistry, physiology, and neurology. They are more emotional and nurturing. They mature differently and earlie...

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