What does it mean to be a man or woman?


I truly felt the need to ask this question: ***What does it truly mean to be a man and woman created in the image of God? *** ***Theologically speaking of course! ***

There are a couple reasons as to why I am asking this I suppose:

There honestly seems to be much confusion around such a basic issue, yet it is one that is profound as it speaks to our individual nature. There are many today who have abandoned their own masculinity and femininity that is expressed through the nature of their own bodies. I suppose what is most at fault for this would be the awful gender theory that claims we can chose our own sex! :confused::confused:

I want to state that ***I do not want this thread to talk ***about that issue of individuals who “transition” to another sex, as I do believe it is falsely stated since it is biologically impossible to do so. However, this goes back to my question as I do believe that while our sexual organs are part of what makes us male or female it is not all. Our maleness or femaleness is much deeper than that and part of our inherit nature that we can never change. Anyone else care to answer my question? And share your thoughts! Please! :thumbsup:

I would have thought one only needs to look as far as our DNA to determine gender. I don’t wish to comment on gender dysphoria as I do not know enough. However, there is certainly a mental element in this desire, just as there is in a desire to lose a limb. Is is normal? What is normal, but the majority of the population are not afflicted so this desire appears to be outside the norm in consideration of any bell curve.
Spiritually speaking, I believe we are formed as a whole, soul and body. Thus our belief that our bodies will be joined with our souls on the last day. Our DNA mayor may not be a part of our soul but our DNA is certainly part of our person.

Thank you for responding Petaro! Though I do happen to agree with you that DNA determines our sexes, that really isn’t the answer to my question. I meant what does being a man or woman mean through our Catholic theology or through the Catholic philosophical lens, so to speak?

Masculinity and femininity are more than just male and female.

Those familiar with Latin and its daughter languages know that most nouns have gender but are not male or female.

Take el sol or los arboles, the ocean or the trees. Everyone knows oceans or trees, some trees at least are not male, but they are masculine.

It means to have the genetic body associated with that gender, and to be of adult age. Full stop. No nuances needed or wanted.


Poetic usage in some languages doesn’t change the fact that maleness and femaleness are very strict categories in human life.


Well, yes you are right. But this is pretty obvious, no? I’m asking in theological terms or philosophical ones. With regards to theology, St. Pope John Paul 2 once described the theology of woman as the feminine genius and Pope Francis once called for a better theology of woman as well. So what does it mean to be a woman in these terms? What about the masculine genius?

I may not be too off to say that there should be a call for a deeper theology of both sexes as we do live in a confusing era that is trying to eliminate what it means to be a man or woman.

You missed my point.

Are you a native English speaker? It is hard for native English speakers to understand the use of gendered nouns in other languages. The use of gendered nouns in other languages is beyond mere poetry. They mirror what characteristics the culture attributes to masculinity and femininity.

Masculinity and Femininity are beyond being male and female. I agree with Peter Kreeft when said this. Maleness and femaleness are subsets of masculinity and femininity respectively.

I say masculinity and femininity are strict categories in human life.

I am fluent in Spanish and French and fully understand how gender works grammatically. That really has no bearing on how it works vis-a-vis human life.

In Spanish, parts of the human body have gendered names, e.g. la cabeza, the head (f.); el cuello, the neck (m.); etc. Such names have no connection to the gender carried by the whole body.

Methinks “masculine and feminine” as distinct from maleness and femaleness of the body is equally beside the point. If a girl likes Hotwheels cars and such, that does not make her masculine. If a boy learns to cook and sew, that does not make him feminine.

It is beyond time to forget all of the nuances, IMNAAHO, and return to the literally solid truth from which gender distinctions arise, namely, the physical human body.


I disagree.

Gender distinctions is not confined nor does it arise solely from the physical human body. It is present in the human body.

It is not limited to the material world but also is present in the spiritual world as well.

God does not have a body nor is He male but He is masculine. This is why He is known as God the Father instead of the Mother.

Theology is the study of God not man. I am a very simple man. I don’t understand Feminist Theology; the theology of women; or a “deeper theology of both sexes”. We search for God in the person God gave us. I believe that presupposing a new or exciting way to use our gender in yet another intellectual assault on the entrails of our God is presumptuous. I do not see any need to place a stencil of gender onto any searching map for my God. Such a map can only be sketched lightly with the crayons of a child through a glass darkly led by the hand by the Holy Spirit. The child may be male or female; we all use crayons.

While what you say about theology is true, it was Saint JP2 who coined the “Theology of the Body.”



Thanks for all the responses guys! God bless.

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