As a fairly well integrated elderly male, I disagree with comments made by former First Lady, Michelle Obama at a recent conference in Chicago. She wondered publicly whether society may be protecting men to believe they are “entitled” and “self-righteous.” The focus, in her opinion, has been on raising strong girls and protecting boys. “The problem in this world today,” observed Ms. Obama, “is we love our boys and we raise our girls…..We raise them [girls] to be strong and sometimes we take care not to hurt men…..We nurture men and push girls to be perfect.”
I have a different perspective on how men and boys are being raised in our culture. I do agree there should be a concerted emphasis on raising strong girls, encouraging them to secede. But to say, on the other hand, that men and boys are being protected, so as not to hurt them is simply not true. The current cultural mandate, as expressed by third wave feminism is certainly not to “nurture” men, while loving our boys. I don’t think many men, especially younger men, feel entitled or self-righteous. Rather men are confused, feel threatened, and insecure. They need other godly men, not feminist to help them “man up.”
My argument with Ms. Obama would be, why not strive for both strong men and strong women. That would be the implications of Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” God never intended one to be more superior then the other. Rather, together as male and female, we are to reflect the likeness of God. “When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself. He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them human” (Genesis 5:1-2).
There was one piece of advise Ms. Obama gave in her remarks, however, in which I agree. She implied that men need to be more relational. “Men,” she observed, “need a support network of friends” to be able to talk with each other. In a rather sarcastic tone she said, “Talk about why Y’ll are the way you are.” I totally agree. I have said this often in my blogs. Men need to get together, tell their stories, listen to each other pain, and cry out to God for help in the healing of their masculine souls. And yes, I agree that men need to repent of any sense of “entitlement” or “self-righteousness.” Through a secure masculine soul, men need to be able to narrative their story as both servants and warriors in our confused culture.
I refuse to except the idea that men need to be protected or nurtured by strong women. Together men need to rise up and take their rightful place in God’s order of creation. I read recently a quote from John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” about men not breaking. “Men stood by their fences and looked at the ruined corn, drying fast now, only a little green showing through the film of dust. The men were silent and they did not move often. And the women came out of the house to stand beside their men – to feel whether this time the men would break….After a while the faces of the watching men lost their bemused perplexity and became hard and angry and resistant. Then the women knew that they were safe and that there was no break…Women and children know deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole.”
Lord strengthen the souls of men reading this blog, so that they will not break in the coming days.