I wrote a new column for The Christian Century.They invited a few writers to reflect on a book (any non-fiction book). I wrestled with Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
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We asked writers to tell us about a book that they disagree with—but that they also see as important enough to argue with.
May 6, 2020
Grace Ji-Sun Kim
During a period of bonafide social and political correctness, or what the younger generations are proclaiming as “wokeness,” it can be easy to take for granted the dramatic ways our culture has become so liberated. With that shift, we have also become more careful, conscious, and reactive.
But the way we navigate subjects of race, sexuality, and gender has made a 180 degree turn in less than 30 years. In 1992, George H. W. Bush was the president of the United States, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” was at the top of the charts, and John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus was the highest ranked work of nonfiction. The self-help book, which spent 121 weeks on the best-seller list, vowed to share with readers the vital secrets to maintaining a successful relationship. This promise was predicated on a clear premise: women and men are different.
Based on this thesis, the book was marketed as a primer for understanding the opposite sex. It claimed that not only are men and women entirely different, but each must learn to speak the other’s language to have healthy relationships. Gray amplifies this idea with the metaphorical notion that women and men are so different they might as well be from different planets.
(For the rest of the article, please do purchase their May 2020 issue.)
—Grace Ji-Sun Kim, who teaches theology at Earlham School of Religion and is the author of Embracing the Other