I was going to write about the Gillette commercial. I was going to write about what a real man is and what good people are. But you know what? There is enough of that out there.
There are enough voices shouting at us, telling us what we should be, how we should act, and even what we should look like. The world shoulds all over us every minute of every day giving us impossible standards to live up to. Even if they aren’t impossible to attain, it gets old to be reminded day in and day out how horrible we are.
“Suck it up, buttercup” is a phrase frequently intended to toughen up the weak. But the concept that the world is rough and the best way to survive is to develop an equally tough skin is lacking. Numbing yourself to the world’s awful is not a way to make the world better.
We don’t make the world a better place with “righteous aggression” either. Carrying signs, shouting slogans, yelling at people online, and living our life in outrage at the crap does not make the crap better. Attacks merely result in equal and opposite attacks, and the peacemakers are caught in the middle eating all of it.
I might still write about the Gillette ad next week. Because the discussion is a needed one. But for now I just need to go cool off and let go of my righteous aggression.
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If you pay any attention to the modern world you’ll notice a buzzword floating around that might be a bit confusing for literalists like me. When I hear a term I pick apart it’s meaning just to be sure it’s being used correctly. Probably the most overused buzzword floating around right now is “social justice.”
Recently there was a meeting headed by John MacArthur to come up with a Christian response to the term. The group came up with a 14 part “Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel”. I plan on combing through it over the next few days and give a good summary of what I agree with and disagree with. From my initial scanning I will say I am not totally sold on it.
The more I research the term the more nebulous it’s meaning. Just like the term “toxic masculinity“, the definition of the term “social justice” seems dependent on one’s political beliefs.
What’s my definition of “social justice”?
The “social” part is not hard to understand and for the most part I think people use it correctly. It’s pretty hard not to. “Social” just refers to people. The term clearly refers to how we treat people.
The “justice” part is much harder to understand.
“Justice” is defined by the Google as: “just behavior or treatment”, “the quality of being fair and reasonable”, “the administration of the law” which is somewhat helpful, if we can define “just”, “fair”, and “reasonable.”
“Just” is defined as “based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair” which seems clear right? It’s also defined as “(of treatment) deserved or appropriate in the circumstances.”
So who decides what is fair? Fairness is a rather subjective thing. “Deserved” is also a relative term, especially in this day and age of entitlement nonsense.
These definitions are pretty cut and dry when speaking in legal terms. When a civil violation or a criminal action takes place fairness and a deserved retribution can usually be pretty easy to parse out. In “Social Justice” however, fairness and deserts can mean just about anything.
That leaves us with “morally right” and “appropriate in the circumstances”.
As a Christian, I have a basis for the moral treatment of others in scripture: “Treat others as I would have them treat me” “Love my neighbor” and “love my enemy”. To be socially just I must take pains to ensure I am loving those around me. Add “appropriate to the circumstances” and this becomes a slightly more difficult task.
Social justice as a Christian requires a great amount of discernment and attention to individuals. We cannot approach the subject as the pagan world does with blanket platitudes and government programs. We have to be involved with individual members of all classes, races, genders, religions, and whatnot.
To be just we must know what our neighbor deserves (love, first and foremost) in their individual circumstances. We must treat our enemies with love, understanding that they may deserve different things than our family or neighbors (again, they deserve love, but tempered with caution).
Social justice is a silly term for Christians to use. We have had the golden rule for millenia, why use such a trendy buzzword?
I’m just going to keep on treating others with love and kindness.
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Buzzwords are notorious for having hard to pin down definitions.
Definitions of buzzwords are frequently dependent on the social or political persuasion of the individual being asked. This is why I tend to avoid them, they are imprecise and often meaningless to a real search for truth.
One such buzzword (buzzphrase?) getting a ton of use lately is “Toxic Masculinity” (“TM” for brevity).
I have seen “TM” used by hard core feminists and not so hard core feminists alike. “TM” gets blamed for everything from manspreading to mass shootings.
Basically anything that men do in quantifiable measures more than women can be reduced to “toxic masculinity” depending on who you talk to.
I am a fan of one definition I found. This is the definition that describes toxic masculinity as a cultural push to make men into “manly men”.
In “TM” culture, men are supposed to be hyper-sexual, hyper-aggressive, unemotional, aloof, and unable to nuture or show compassion. Any man who is not “manly” on these terms is a “cuck” or any number of other derogatory terms. I have no problem opposing that kind of “toxic masculinity”.
It is destructive to men and women to define men in such terms.
It’s not just the culture at large where we see this push. The concept of “wild” men is quite prevalent in the church as well. Men are supposed to be “wild at heart” and their wives should not seek to “tame” (ie emasculate) them by insisting on their emotional availability. Men are supposed to be strong and quiet and never let their wives see them as weak or insecure (ie human). Godly men don’t need to be corrected by their wives, that would undermine his role as strong leader. He is to be left to his own devices, after all, God did make him strong for a reason.
This kind of “masculinity” is just as repugnant as the world’s view of men as womanizers and aggressors. But, as one article points out, it’s a culture, not a real masculinity. The problem is not masculinity itself, but the way we have defined it.
Frequently I see “toxic masculinity” used whenever any injustice (real or perceived) against women occurs. By this definition “toxic masculinity” is at play even when something as simple as a book without a strong female character is in question (or if that character is a “strong female“) .
If women aren’t proportionately represented in a particular job class, it’s probably the fault of “toxic masculinity”. If a man rapes a woman, he must have been raised in “toxic masculinity”. In the mind of many of the hyper-feminists out there, it seems like nothing ever happens apart from it.
Could it, in the definition I appreciate, be at play in any and all of these things? Maybe. But always? And to the point where every time a disproportionate hiring or a rape or a mass shooting occurs we need to automatically place it in the “guilty” category?
I don’t think so. Nailing down why a bad thing happens in this world is hardly ever simple, labeling it with a buzzword to raise “awareness” (another buzzword) is not going to stop it from happening again.
I also have seen “toxic masculinity” blamed when any gendering of a person takes place. If you call a girl “pretty” or a boy “handsome” or “strong” without correcting your speech to say boys can be pretty or girls strong you are guilty of a pernicious crime. In this view any promotion of gender differences is automatically supporting “toxic masculinity.”
Gender differences do exist. The problem is not that genders exist, the problem is that we gender things. We gender colors, blue is a boy color, pink is for girls. We gender toys, dolls are for girls, cars are for boys. We gender personalities, females are nurturing, males are rough and aggressive.
It is not the fault of toxic masculinity that boys can’t like pink and play gently with dolls. It’s the fault of a culture that likes efficiency in distinction. “Boys are boys and do these boy things. Girls are girls and do these girl things.” Our culture likes cut and dry distinctions, anything outside of the norms makes it uncomfortable.
I think this is also why buzz words and catch all phrases gain such traction. It is easier to blame a concept of “Toxic Masculinity” when men do horrible things than it is to dissect individual factors.
I have a hard time adopting phrases that get adopted by the uber political class. They water down and change meanings all the time to fit their needs. Words and phrases get overused and misused and no one can quite pin down exactly what is being communicated.
Words have meaning, and words without meaning have no place in rational discourse.
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This was in a Facebook group I’m in. Most people got the joke. One guy commented:
“What exactly is this meme saying?
Why is the woman abandoning her God given role as mother “for the next few days”?
Why is the father being regarded by both women almost as a boyfriend?”
My response was “you gotta be trolling.”
But looking at his timeline I really don’t think he was. His posts show that his worldview assumes men and women were created exclusively for distinct “roles”, women to pump out babies and stay with them constantly until they are capable of pumping out their own, and men to go out of the house most of the time to till the fields and provide the means to buy food (which definitely falls into the woman’s role). These roles are rigid and unbending.
I’m not completely opposed to the idea of roles. In any organization, such as a family, division of labor is helpful to ensure that all jobs are taken care of.
But implicit in this guy’s worldview is the idea that men are incapable of raising children. The fact that a woman would “abandon her God given role” and leave her children in the incompetent hands of their father is appalling. We all know men don’t have the capacity to nurture. We know their attention spans are way too limited to ensure the kids get all that they need to survive.
Implicit in this worldview is the concept that fathers are nothing more than babysitters when they take responsibility for the care of their children. If this guy had his way, the mother would never be out of the child’s presence. The father would will never be left out of his league watching the kids for a few days, let alone a few hours.
Maybe I am being uncharitable. Maybe this guy is a great father. Maybe he lets his wife “abandon her role” and go out occasionally. I don’t know.
All I know is I take exception to the idea that men are useless for raising children. I reject the notion that fathers are babysitters and the jokes about them needing “rescue” and being incompetent.
This guy may not have understood the meme, but I think most of us got the point loud and clear.
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Brave, strong, energetic, fierce. What do you picture when you read those words? Rather, who do you picture? I dare say the person in your mind’s eye is a male.
Likely you have many reasons. Fairy tales, action movies, perhaps you even read the book “Wild At Heart”. We assume men naturally have these characteristics. And that these are positive traits. Men that lack them seem like less of men.
But girls that have them? Do they become less girly? No, quite the contrary: they are well recieved.
We actually value these traditional “male” traits more than traditional “female” traits like humility, quietness, meekness, and delicateness. Characteristics that can be considered “weak” are looked down upon in our “only the strong survive” culture.
We have so over-emphasized self-reliance that any trait that seems dependant on another person, like empathy or compassion, has become a flaw. Femininity, or rather what we have chosen to define as femininity, is weak. To be feminine is to be demure and vain.
Therefore, we are more than willing to accept a “boyish” girl. She is strong and self-reliant. She will not be a burden on our individualistic society. She will contribute to it by being in the workforce and producing independent, strong children (who she will give to the State to educate and raise, but I digress).
We can accept girls who don’t exhibit those traits. After all, they are girls. We can’t expect all but the most exceptional of them to act strong and independent. Girls who aren’t “boyish” are okay. They make good wives to the more “manly” (read: brutish) men out there.
What about boys who don’t exhibit those traits? What about ones who actually exhibit those feminine traits?
We have gotten to the point where it is just assumed they are probably gay. We have actually gone back in history and labeled many historical figures as such. Men who expressed deep love for other men and wrote passionate letters to them (not sexual, just passionate) must have been homosexual. I’ve even read theories that Jesus and John were a couple.
Apparently straight men are incapable of anything other than brutish vulgarity and everything they think, say, or do is basically sexual. If he is brutish and aggressive the man is straight, if he is gentle and passionate (yet restrained) he must be gay. Or at best asexual.
And gay, like feminine, is weak.
Why can girls be “boyish” but boys can’t be “girlish”? Because we are phobic of “weakness”, that’s why.
My wife sent me a link last week knowing that I would just have to comment. I have written at least three posts about the subject after all. I didn’t ask this exact question though: Why is it that girls can be “boyish” but boys can’t be “girlish”?
Perhaps that is the wrong question. The more pertinent question is: How do we define what is “boyish” or “girlish”?
The article in question discussed several points like clothing preferences (colors and sparkles) and personality traits like compassionate or caring vs agressive and aloof.
To the first: preferences like these are almost completely cultural. What one culture considers feminine may very well be masculine in another culture. Pink and blue are not inherently gendered. A flashy man is not a less masculine man. There just happens to have been a movement towards dull drab colors on men in our culture over the past 120 years or so. If your son likes rainbows and flash he is not less of a boy for it, he just likes something less boring than the current culture would like him to.
To the second: what makes character traits feminine or masculine? Sure, there are definite hormonal and physical differences between males and females that result in slightly different personalities, but these are hardly universal. And they aren’t even that big of differences when we really look at them. My sons are definitely different from my daughters, but the differences are so subtle I couldn’t tell you if it was gender or simply their personalities.
Why this cultural push to make gentleness and compassion a strictly “female” trait? Why assume that a gentle man is effeminate? Why assume a woman who is strong and courageous is “acting like a man”?
Personally I think we are a culture much too obsessed with sexuality and gender. Since when are people narrowly defined by who they want to have sex with? Since when does gender dictate every character trait and personality quirk?
It’s gotten to the point where people even worry about their sexuality in church. Someone was complaining that worship songs in their church sounded “gay” because they call God “beautiful” or express a sentiment of wanting to be with Jesus. While I could agree that the theology of these types of songs is usually lacking and they are usually set to fru fru tunes it is ignorant just to lay them out as “gay”. Are those sentiments incorrect? Was it “gay” when Jesus washed His disciples feet or when we are told to greet one another with a holy kiss? What is it about expressing love in a gentle fashion that is “gay” or even “unmanly”?
Back to the first question though: Why is it that girls can be “boyish” but boys can’t be “girlish”? For that answer you’ll have to wait for next week.
By taking daughters out and treating them kindly you are teaching them to expect men to love, honor, and cherish them. You are teaching them to expect respect from men. This is anti-patriarchy.
Since today is Valentine’s Day, and this story came across my feed recently, this seems an apt topic.
Sunday morning I was greeted first thing with a blog about daddy-daughter dates. The author of this post has decided that treating your daughter with common decency is symptomatic of “the patriarchy”. She contends that it is “creepy” to take your daughter out and treat her special. Somehow, in her mind, inspiring your daughter to expect respect from men is encouraging “rape culture”.
First off, I contend that fathers should treat their daughters special just because their daughters are their daughters. This is a little person who loves you and needs your love in return. You’ve been entrusted with her care and with teaching her to be a decent human being in a big ugly world. Treat her special because she is special.
Secondly, it’s not wrong or “creepy” to treat your children with common respect. The author’s contention that pulling your child’s chair out for them, picking out their outfit, and basically treating them with kindness and love somehow promotes “rape culture” is ridiculous.
Please, stop insisting that a man holding the door for you is “rape”. You’ve destroyed all the meaning of that word and have disrespected every woman who has actually been raped. Rape culture is promoted mostly by teaching little girls that all men are creeps. Set their standards low and they will settle for any sleeze that tells them he loves them. After all, if all men are creeps, why waste time trying to get a good one?
When a father takes his daughter out and treats her with respect, he’s not teaching her that she is unequal to men. He is teaching her what real love looks like from a man. Real love respects others and treats them not just as equals but, in many respects, as superiors. Shouldn’t this be desired by modern feminists? Shouldn’t they want this?
Why do modern feminists insist that equality is a zero-sum game and that we can’t treat people with kindness and also see them as equals? Not only do I open doors for women, I also open doors for men. Is it because I think they are weak, or below me, or not equal? No, it is because I respect them and I like to treat other people with kindness and love.
Do these women think that men treat other men like dirt and therefore the only way to be equal with men is to be treated like dirt? Instead of teaching men to stop treating their daughters with special love and care shouldn’t we instead call men to treat other men (and women) with respect?
Must men treat women like dirt in order to be considered up to date with modern feminist equality standards?
She also says that mother son dates aren’t a thing. Personally, I hope women do take their sons out on dates. Parenting requires one-on-one time with your child. When you have 5 kids like we do it’s darn near impossible to get one-on-one time with each one. Being intentional about getting that time is to be commended.
Thanks to Freud and the sexual Revolution, our culture is convinced that our sexuality is what defines us as people. Therefore, according to our culture, even showing affection to your kids is somehow sexual. This is just plain stupid. It is not sexual to show affection to your children. If it is every good parent should be in jail. (And if it does in fact become sexual, you deserve worse than jail.)
It is perverted to suggest that somehow taking your daughter out for dinner, pulling her chair out, opening doors for her, and calling her beautiful and a princess is somehow sexual. To claim such doesn’t just betray the insecurities of the author, it strongly condemns modern culture with its ridiculous sexual mores.
I’ll give her that purity balls are a little creepy and weird. Those actually do create a weird sexual tension between fathers and daughters. Yes, you should abstain from sexual activity until you are married, but pledging your purity to your father is a little awkward and kind of creepy.
But taking your child out one-on-one for special time together is healthy, natural, and should be normal.
Should we take our daughters out one on on? Yes. Should we also take our sons out one on one? Yes. Should we treat them with dignity and kindness and do kind things for them? Yes. This is teaching them common courtesy and how to treat others like human beings. It is not teaching them to lay down and accept demeaning treatment.
It has been shown that girls often marry men like their fathers. They learn how men should treat women from how their father treats them and more importantly, their mother. Girls who are abused or watch their mothers be abused often pursue men who abuse. Is this what we want our daughters to do?
Why do modern feminists want men to continue to marry jerks? Is it because they want to validate their idea that all men are jerks and that all men are part of “the patriarchy”?
Daddy-daughter dating is not patriarchy. Patriarchy is insisting that your daughter or your wife is less than you and that she does not deserve your respect. Patriarchy says that because of her sex she does not deserve honor. As a woman, she deserves nothing but to be under you as a slave or servant.
Patriarchy views females as less than males. It does not honor them by opening doors, calling them wonderful names, or treating them with respect and dignity. Patriarchy puts women under men’s thumbs. By taking daughters out and treating them kindly, you are teaching them to expect men to love, honor, and cherish them. You are teaching them to expect respect from men. This is anti-patriarchy.
I suggest to these feminists that if they want to end “the patriarchy” they should call on men to start treating their daughters with kindness and honor. They should encourage them to put their daughters on a pedestal and treat them as individuals worthy of great respect. This will teach their daughters to expect their husbands and all men to respect them and treat them with dignity.
If daughters are treated like dirt by their father they will learn to accept that treatment by all men. They will continue to support the patriarchy by giving themselves to patriarchal jerk men. Let’s instead encourage them to expect more from men.
End the patriarchy, and while we are at it, end third and fourth-wave feminism.