Whether celebrated by the Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times or The Washington Post, media outlets have universally hailed Hillary Clinton for breaking a “glass ceiling” by becoming the first woman to be a major party’s nominee for president.
Likely a familiar term, but one worth briefly explaining, the “glass ceiling” theory refers to the unstated biases and limitations that prevent women and minorities from reaching higher levels of career development.
Seeing any person rise above the caricatures and unjust biases that prohibit talent from being recognized and rewarded is always an occasion worth celebrating.
The media was destined to focus on Clinton breaking the glass ceiling during this presidential cycle because of her reflection on her unsuccessful bid in 2008. During her concession speech, Clinton stated, "Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it.”
But amidst the celebration of Hillary Clinton’s successes, it’s worth highlighting the irony—and hypocrisy—involved in these universal declarations of feminine triumph: When the left celebrates Clinton breaking the glass ceiling, it reveals one of the many internal contradictions inherent to secular progressivism. How can a movement that emphasizes the fluidity of gender through relentless transgender advocacy simultaneously celebrate the feminine triumph of Hillary Clinton breaking the glass ceiling to become the first female presidential candidate?
The feminist mystique is built on the idea of the überfrau—the empowered woman who harnesses her innate femininity to the exclusion of a male counterpart. At the same time, the transgender movement denies any biological connection to femininity.
So that raises the obvious question: Is Hillary Clinton’s victory a celebration for women? To the feminist, yes; but to the transgender movement, no. How so?
It’s impossible to have a worldview that celebrates Clinton’s triumph while denying that there’s anything objective to womanhood or femininity; anything objective, that is, aside from a person’s subjective feelings and perspective about themselves. For transgender advocates, Clinton’s victory is, at best, symbolic and illusory, but it cannot be said to be an authentic victory for women since the very construct of what constitutes womanhood is disputed. This inherent conflict between claims of femininity and objective womanhood is captured in noted feminist Germaine Greer’s infamous comments decrying that transgender “women” are actually women.
The incoherencies of this worldview abound. It results in biological males competing in a female track championship and a successful female swimmer who is now hardly competitive at all because she identifies as a man and competes against other males. A worldview that denies essential and objective differences between men and women is a worldview that prohibits recognizing genuine successes and advances when they occur. What it means to be human, as a result, is in a state of free-fall and subject to insane propositions, for example, that men can menstruate. Once lunacy of this nature takes root, people can be made to believe anything. This is Orwellian, pure and simple.
If maleness and femaleness are simply a matter of self-will and psychological self-description, then Hillary Clinton’s success should not be a matter of importance to women. It’s just happenstance and arbitrary because femininity becomes a mere psychological paradigm—not an objective reality possible of celebrating. What’s more, insisting that a “cisgender” female like Clinton typifies the embodiment of female success actually reinforces the stereotypes that radical gender theorists decry.
Of course, don’t expect these inconsistencies to be noted or called out for their illogical basis. We’re far past the point of honest admission because the willing suspension of disbelief is the basis of modern progressive epistemology.
But how should Christians evaluate the simultaneous claims that feminine power has been achieved while denying that feminine power is tied to anything objective concerning personhood?
These incoherencies and contradictions of society are a part of a larger pattern that stems from our rebellion and alienation from God. Sin makes us inconsistent and capable of believing absurdities; absurdities for example, that allow the Clinton campaign to celebrate unborn life in one campaign video while also denying that unborn persons have rights. This makes no sense whatsoever, and no one pays any attention, because we’ve been habituated by a world that lives with inconsistencies.
Ultimately, the incoherencies on display are about choosing which story or narrative to live in—a story of creation where the pinnacle of God’s creative work includes men and women as created realities worthy of dignity, or a story that casts off creaturely limits in an attempt to find a peace within ourselves that, as Augustine said, can only be filled by God.
Let us remember that the cultural debate about sexuality and gender isn’t simply about men or women using the restroom of their choice. Instead, these flashpoints from these current events are merely a proxy debate for a larger conflict about what it means to be male and female. This question of biblical anthropology is the chief issue of our time under attack. As always, Christians must proclaim tireless truths: As Christians, we’re told God created us in His image.
God made men and women as equal, but distinct. These distinctions are beautiful, good and a testament to God’s wisdom in creation. God didn’t make us automatons. He didn’t make us asexual monads. He made us gendered, embodied and different. Those differences extend to all levels of our being—our emotional, physical and psychological selves—and this is intentional and good.
Christianity doesn’t sever gender from sex, because according to the Bible, the unique ways that God made our bodies are tied to our roles. Women are, by nature, more nurturing than men. Men, in contrast, are by nature made with a different body type designed for protection. Rewriting laws to conform to the spirit of the age cannot rewrite the laws of nature and nature’s God (Ps. 24:1).
The internal contradictions and inconsistencies of life and worldview apart from God are evident in many areas of contemporary society. Apart from Christ, we, too, live in worlds fragmented and torn apart by sin. But the good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to live in open rebellion to God’s Word and world. We don’t have to live inconsistently. We can live in open embrace of God’s rule, knowing that we can “be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Hillary Clinton may have shattered the glass ceiling as she earned the democratic presidential nomination. But the left’s celebration of her accomplishment in the midst of its transgender advocacy exposes a shattered worldview. Christians must be able to equip the church to live in a culture where they are walking on broken glass.