Jane Fonda in a recent interview had some choice words for men. “Man power,” she maintains is, “wounded now but there’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded beast, thrashing about, flailing its tail with the barbs on it, and a lot of people are really getting hurt badly.” Further, “Hanoi Jane,” believes, “the most intractable problem that humanity faces is the problem of patriarchy,” which she partly blames for the rise in terrorism and the destruction of the environment. Ms Fonda may be partly right in her observations, but as a radical feminist she is blind to the demise of a healthy masculine model needed for young men to emulate during the gender wars of our time. Only emotionally healthy, godly men can model this, not the angry feminist protest. I offer two observations, as one called to strongly protest the psychological and social overreach of the radical feminist movement.
First, it is true that men are wounded. Young men have been taught to question their own masculinity, suppressing their God give instincts, while enduring “a frowned-upon presence” in society. Men are expected to be “girly men” – less competitive and more sensitive. As one observer put it, “In trying to empower the girls, we implicitly sent a message that the guys were not as good. Women succeeded in creating positive new roles for themselves. What we haven’t come up with is what a positive image of man would be.” That is why men are wounded. The passion of this blog is to address this wound. Yes, Ms Fonda, I too, worry about men becoming dangerous when they are wounded. How do we heal the wound?
Secondly, I agree that a distorted patriarchy has done much damage in our culture. Many women have suffered because of male abuse and unhealthy dominance. But we can’t eliminate the God given purpose for the healthy male presence and hope to improve culture. At the heart of what it means to be a man is living selflessly, putting one’s greatest strength at God’s disposal, while serving others (servant leadership). That’s healthy patriarchy! A healthy culture needs men who out of submission to Christ, motivated by godly compassion, are willing to sacrifice by leading, providing, protecting and living transparent lives in humility and honor. This is what healthy patriarchy provides. Otherwise, we face the demise of our culture as it becomes more feminized, having lost the true expression of the masculine. Radical feminism cannot restore a benevolent patriarchy. It has to be modeled by other men.
So how do we model a wholesome masculinity in our culture bring healing to men and expressing a healthy patriarchy? I have two brief comments. First, men give your life to Jesus Christ. When a man comes to Jesus in his brokenness and confusion, living in a culture that despises any model of patriarchy, you will find healing for your masculine soul. The more transparent and honest you are before the Lord in the company of a “band of brothers,” the more whole you will become. Surround yourself with other “wounded warriors.” Secondly, affirm, celebrate and emulate a healthy patriarchy. Look to Jesus as your model. Find other older men who have “walked to walk.” (Here’s a suggestion) Find confirmation of a godly patriarch, by asking his wife about his character. That is the real test.
Here is a good watch word for men who emulate godly patriarchy. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (I Cor 16:13 ESV).