The 2017 Women’s March on Washington, D.C is history. Many women were able to vent their collective discontent regarding more than just women’s rights. Madonna was the public face of their anger. A movement was launched leading up to the march called the Pussyhat Project. The website at the time declared, “We love the clever wordplay of ‘pussyhat’ and ‘pussycat,’ but yes, ‘pussy’ is also a derogatory term for female genitalia.” The word was used as a means of empowerment. “Women, whether transgender or cisgender, are mistreated in this society… the answer is not to take away our pussies, the answer is not to deny our femaleness and femininity, the answer is to demand fair treatment.” The knitting circles that make these pussyhats are visualized as “a safe place to talk, a place where women support women.”
Men, patriarchy as a system in society where men hold the power and women do not, is dead. Women have been demanding “gender equality” for a long time. I have come to affirm “equality feminism” with its focus on fair treatment, respect, and dignity. But when you look at the video of the march, you see angry expressions of “gender identity politics,” which Camille Paglia sees as “self-absorption” with gender identity. She believes all the “hyper-self-consciousness about ‘Who am I? Where exactly am I on the gender spectrum?’ is mere navel-gazing.” In Paglia’s opinion, it does not deserve the media attention it is getting. I agree. The march helps me understand more fully the work both men and women have to do in becoming secure in their male and female identities.
Pink as a very female color representing “caring, compassion, and love” has been thought of as weak, but is now being declared by the movement as strong. Wearing pink together, “is a powerful statement that we [women] are unapologetically feminine and we unapologetically stand for women’s rights.” Knitting circles have been thought of as frivolous “gossiping circles” but now can be seen as “powerful gatherings of women.”
I applaud these women and their attempts to show strength as women. “A women’s body is her own. We are honoring this truth and standing up for our rights.” My questions are, “What is meant by ‘strong’ and ‘powerful’ and ‘empowerment?” What are their rights? Are historically masculine traits perhaps valued above the historically feminine ones? And how do women come to a healthy balance of the feminine and the masculine?” masculine. The image of God in humans is both male and female (Gen 1:27) and we are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28).
Men, don’t let the feminist movement dictate how you view yourself as a man. Could it be that the movement is emulating masculine traits at the expense of the feminine? A 2008 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported this in a study of gender and personality in 55 nations: “In all the countries studied, women tended to be more nurturing, risk-averse, and emotionally expressive. Men were more competitive, reckless, and emotionally flat.” Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers has observed, “Overall, I think we have enough studies to show that men tend to be, on average, more risk-taking and rule-breaking, and women on average, tend to be more nurturing – and this manifests across cultures.”
While men do not typically gather to knit, they do need “safe places” with elders and father figures, to find affirmation for their masculine souls, with an honest recognition of emotional wounds and baggage from the past, including an embrace of the nurturing and vulnerable side of the masculine soul. The old paradigm of the masculine is no longer accepted. The new masculine includes a secure affirmation of the masculine that is balanced with a complementary feminine. The best words I can come up with are, “tough yet tender.”