Snips & Snails & Other Precarious Tales

snips_and_snailsPerhaps you remember the rhyme:

What are little boys made of
What are little boys made of
Snips & snails & puppy dogs tails
And such are little boys made of.
What are young women made of
Sugar & spice & all things nice.

It’s a good thing we just don’t believe everything we read or hear. Ask yourself: are all boys defined by snails and dog tails? And are all girls sugary nice? Is a boy not truly “all boy” if he is a percentage sugar or spice?

The snips in the early nineteenth century nursery rhyme are “little bits of” things with the assumption that it’s the little things found in a boys’ pockets. Bits of string, bits of rocks, bits of shells, bits of sticks, etc. Bits of just about anything you might find in the pockets of little boys. Think about it. What would we have found in your pocket as a child. Do those things define you?

I’ve struggled for years with the often commonplace idea that masculinity is defined by athleticism, brawn, hunting, toughness, or the pursuit of cars. But what if the things in your pocket look more like art, tenderness, creativity, or song in the color of pink? If you fit in that category of sugar and spice and bits of nice, is there something wrong with your masculinity?

And so, I’ve struggled with my “maleness”.  I’ve asked the hard questions. I pondered if there was something wrong with me. I examined the discourses of Christian books on the topic of masculinity and found excerpts that made me question my identity and God. Did He make a mistake?

What does the Bible say about masculinity? How does society or the church define or dictate our gender stereotypes? Is there room for “boys” like me who don’t seem to fit the macho mold? Have we bought into the snips and snails mentality and other precarious tales? Is there anyone else out there who feels the same way?!

Join me on my new blog and book writing adventure as I examine the Scriptures, explore the stories of others, share articles and quote from books, and continue to ask the hard questions about masculinity. FOLLOW the blog and feel free to send me feedback and leave comments!

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