I have a “NRO Weekend” piece up on the movie Juno and the Jason Bateman character in it (something that doesn’t have to do with the presidential election!!). This is an e-mail I got in response:
I was with you completely until you quoted John 15:13. I’m a religious man so that verse has meaning to me, but that does not necessarily mean that such a sentiment translates easily to action, particularly in our culture. Additionally, a woman quoting such a scripture regarding self-sacrifice in our day and age comes across as pretty hypocritical.
Feminism’s second wave has had many, many unintended consequences, one of which is that men, not just women have been liberated from their traditional roles. Many men simply don’t feel the need to grow up because women have quite plainly said they don’t need or value men. “You say you can take care of yourselves? Fantastic! I’m gonna go invent computer games and play them for as long as I want.”
So, women indulged in a gigantic fit of self-indulgence and selfishness, which they are still very much involved in, and along comes not just one woman (you), but many of them, calling upon men to engage in the self-sacrifice of yesteryear, while at the same time, retaining all of their newfound privilege, comfort, self-determination, and yes, power, both over themselves (fair) and men (not quite so fair). Don’t like your husband? Divorce him and don’t worry about it. The law will ensure that he still does his 18th century duties; and you’ll still get the kids. Not quite feeling fulfilled enough? Drop your kids at day care without a thought to their welfare and go get it.
Now, you will have men, like me and many that I know, who choose to have wives and children and fulfill their obligations to them. You’re not trying to convince such men to grow up; we already have. You’re trying to convince the men who aren’t growing up.
Why, in the name of all that’s holy, should they? You (women) said you could take care of yourselves and you’re doing so just fine. You treat them as disposable, dispensable, replaceable components of your lives and so they’re disengaged from you and they choose not to make commitments to you. The dissolution of a commitment to marry and have children has enormous negative financial and emotional consequences to a man. Why should they make such commitments when women consider such commitments easily violable, valueless, and trivial? Is there anything about the response of men to our culture and the choices of women that really surprises you?
I’m grateful that women like you are willing to examine the lot of men in our culture, but honestly, sometimes, general, dispassionate examination isn’t quite enough. I’m not seeing anywhere near enough direct action on the part of women or even enough direct messages TO women regarding THEIR behavior and choices …
We need to hear more messages like these directed at women: Respect the men in your lives; permit them to be men; honor and thank them for what they do; fulfill your own role in you your relationships with them. Raise your sons with honor and respect for their gender, conveying the message that they are powerful and that power is to be channeled for the benefit of those around them.