Nancy: Okay girls. "Sugar and spice and everything nice." That’s not exactly the image of womanhood that our culture promotes is it.

Mary: Not at all the image. I think that culture has intentionally tried to change the image. I mean, the Mother Goose rhyme from way back when. I remember when I was a girl. “Sugar and spice and everything nice is what little girls are made of.” But you know what comes to mind on that is that cartoon, The Powerpuff Girls. You have girls. Are you familiar with that cartoon?

Dannah Gresh:  I am, unfortunately. 

Mary: It just strikes me how intentional culture is being about changing the idea of what womanhood is about. Because sugar, spice, everything nice, in that particular cartoon, the three little girls have an encounter with three boys who are called the Rowdy Rough Boys. These boys come in and they are larger than life—big, mean, tough boys. And then the girls figure out the way to subdue them is by giving them sugar, which is kisses. Then when that doesn’t work anymore, they see that every time they insult the boys and really insult them as boys—basically emasculate them and insult their manhood—these boys get smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. And so our young girls who are watching these messages.

Nancy: And how true to life is that? When we act that way toward men, what are we doing to men, making them smaller and smaller and smaller in their own minds.

Mary: Exactly. It just seems that we have such an issue in our culture with this and girls that are sassy and in-your-face and not just towards men, but towards each other. Insolence and arrogance is really seen as girl power, and that is seen as something that is very, very positive.

Dannah: One of the things that really bothers me is just television commercials, because the guy is always the brunt of the joke. He is always the dummy. He is always the one who doesn’t know how to order pizza or use a tissue or open a can of something. Why does he always have to be the dummy? And why is she always so smart and the one that solves the problem? I mean, just something in my spirit goes, “This is just not fair! It's not right.”

Nancy: I think we underestimate the impact that these messages are having on women, teenagers, little girls.

Mary: And on men. I have a house full of boys. It was difficult raising them with countering the messages that they were hearing about their identity. Girls now are just really being poured into and lifted up and given all the prominence and given the funding. And certainly it is good that we are paying attention to the women, but it’s often at the expense of the men. The attitude of this superiority. It’s just so fascinating to me because really what the women’s movement was complaining against was that men were seeing themselves as superior to women, and they wanted to equalize the playing field.

Dannah: And that’s the double-mindedness of the feminist movement, isn’t it? They have achieved many of the things that were useful. I’m grateful I can vote. That’s good. But why does my son have to be treated like a second-class citizen so they can feel good about themselves? That infuriates me.

Mary: As the oppressed has become the oppressor in our culture.

Nancy: And yet there’s a sense, don’t you think, among women that nice doesn’t cut it? "Sugar and spice and everything nice." Thinking that if you’re going to have a gentle spirit, be kind, be gracious, be nice, that you’re going to get walked all over in the work place, you’re going to get taken advantage of. That’s a way …