The war on men

Culture | College students discuss the ‘harmful’ effects of masculinity
by La Shawn Barber
Posted on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at 11:58 am

Imagine that a group of students at a college wrote this to advertise an event:

“Femininity can be extremely toxic to our mental health, both to the people who are pressured to perform it and the people who are inevitably influenced by it. We would like to encourage discussion on how to openly talk about our emotions and our wellbeing, and how to engage in feminine identities in a healthy way. Relevant to this discussion is how femininity can harm our relationships with people and one’s ability to cope when relationships are difficult or end. We want to create a safe and open space where we can talk about femininity and its various intersections with our identities and experiences.”

How do you think the general student body and leftists outside the school would react? You’d see the word “misogyny” tossed around. You’d hear dire warnings about the “war on women.” Replace the word “femininity” with “masculinity” and you have an actual gathering of students at the Claremont Colleges in California who discussed why men being men is a bad thing.

One student described the group as mostly women (surprise!). Another student said there was a “common consensus” at the event that masculinity “is harmful both to those who express it and those affected by it.” What harm are they referring to, exactly?

We all know, even feminists, that men are, for the most part, stronger than women. Generally, they take more risks, speak less, and are less emotional. Men and women have observable physical and behavioral differences. Despite the feminist line, men are the builders and providers. And thank God for all those differences. These aren’t societal constructs—they are based in biology, and they complement and compensate for the physical and mental aspects of women.

Every man, woman, and child is a sinner. There is nothing inherently “toxic” about masculinity or femininity. We sinners sometimes use these distinctions to our advantage for evil and for good. Despite the transgender nonsense, people know—they know—that we remain the sex assigned to us, no matter how much secularists and leftists lobby the government to penalize us for having the nerve to contradict them.

A man’s masculine characteristics are God’s design for His male creatures.

A man’s masculine characteristics are God’s design for His male creatures. God made two sexes for different roles and functions in the world and in relationships. And the marital relationship reflects Christ’s relationship with His church. A husband, the head of his family, is to love his wife as Christ loves His church. That is a powerful parallel that stresses how important these roles are and how much we rely on Christ to love as He loves. But a husband, like his wife, is a sinner and can abuse his authority. Our desperately wicked hearts are the problem, not God’s created order.

I hope men will push back against this anti-male tide, just as Christians have to push back against our diminishing freedom to live as Christians in all aspects of our lives.

La Shawn Barber

La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications

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  • Rich277
    Posted: Wed, 10/05/2016 01:54 pm

    I thought "we're born that way" is the universal excuse for all behavior.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Wed, 10/05/2016 01:58 pm

    Apparently an unacceptable one if you are a man.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Wed, 10/05/2016 02:05 pm

    Every boy should read Beowulf.  (I like the Seamus Heaney translation.)  That is a rip-roaring, hair-chested, muscular story about male heroism.  Probably unknown to most people who have heard of this story but never read it, the hero actually asks whether a dragon that afflicted his nation later in his life was brought about because of sin.  And he still deals with the dragon.

    DO NOT watch the movies.  These are twisted forms of the story.  The latest CG version of the story moves into morally nebulous ground that is simply not in the book.

  • EverydayGrace
    Posted: Fri, 10/07/2016 04:45 pm

    My daughter is reading Beowulf right now in her senior English class at a Christian school. She does like it, but she also confessed to me that she thinks that, to be fair, the class ought to read Sense and Sensibility next. ;-)

  •  Melissa D's picture
    Melissa D
    Posted: Wed, 10/05/2016 06:54 pm

    Agreed. I think, as women, we also hold a crucial role in defending masculinity, because men won't be heard by the feminists.

  • Nanamiro
    Posted: Fri, 10/07/2016 09:35 pm

    Amen! They're tearing down our husbands, sons, dads, brothers and friends. We need to defend them more diligently.


  • VT
    Posted: Thu, 02/16/2017 03:57 pm

    Thank you! Amen!

  • George Gaskin
    Posted: Wed, 10/05/2016 10:02 pm

    Great commentary!

  •  FreedomInTejas's picture
    Posted: Thu, 10/06/2016 09:38 am

    @Brendan Bossard

    Beowulf, as well as The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter (a woman, no less!).

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Fri, 10/07/2016 01:59 pm

    Interesting.  Thank you for the recommendation!

  • Jeff Jentgen's picture
    Jeff Jentgen
    Posted: Thu, 10/06/2016 10:25 am

    Nice piece, nice reporting.  I hope World becomes stronger in opining on the issues of the day.  We need more
    commentaries like this one.


  • Bill Taylor
    Posted: Fri, 10/07/2016 11:37 am

    Women used to tell men, "Not unless we're married, and I won't marry you unless you grow up and get a job."  Men grew up, got jobs, got married, and helped theri wives raise theri children.

    Now that women no longer say that, men don't have to grow up. "Men, Women, Marriage, and Not Growing Up" explores some of the results.

  • RMF
    Posted: Sat, 10/08/2016 11:03 am

    A fine point sir, thank you.

  • SKK
    Posted: Fri, 10/07/2016 05:06 pm

    It would be interesting to know how many members of the group are part of the LGBT community.

  • Nanamiro
    Posted: Fri, 10/07/2016 09:32 pm

    I was just thinking today about how there is all this talk about a "war on women", when it dawned on me-there is no war on women! There is and has been for a long time a war on men! America, or maybe the West, has become increasingly sexist towards men. I have two sons and fear for their future in this increasingly anti-male culture. But I know they are in God's hands.

  • RMF
    Posted: Sat, 10/08/2016 11:08 am

    Thank you for the thoughtful commentary. Another place these attitudes and views are encountered is in secondary schools and many other child-centered activities. Many young children and their parents, are being "taught" these corrosive and dangerous views of the world.

  • Xion's picture
    Posted: Sun, 10/09/2016 05:19 am

    Recently I was in Alaska observing animals in the wild.  Male and female animals are pretty clear on their roles.  There is no gender confusion out there.  Animals act like animals, so it doesn''t carry over 100% to humans, but it helps clarify some things.  My wife has female traits and I have male traits.  After decades of marriage I still need to remind myself to treat her like a woman.  We aren't the same.  When I tell her this it makes her happy that I recognize the difference and try to emphasize the distinction.  The world is going in the opposite direction.

  • JennyBeth
    Posted: Mon, 10/10/2016 11:33 am

    I agree there is a harmful war on men in this culture. This idea that there's something inherently immoral about being male is demoralizing indeed. However, to engage with people on this issue, we do have to acknowledge why there is outrage over it--women HAVE been oppressed, are still so often objectified and dismissed. (For instance, there were people who would not take seriously or support my work as a missionary because "you need to get married.")Those "feminists" who just further objectify women and make themselves ridiculous are hurting their own cause. If we can talk rationally about both sides--acknowledging on the one side the belittling of women seen in instances like how few movies pass the Bechdel test, and the studies that have shown that men actually talk a lot MORE than women and in conversations when women talk the same amount, men complain that the women dominated the conversation, while on the other side affirming and appreciating godly masculinity, we could get people's attention and slowly work positive change.

  • RP
    Posted: Sun, 10/23/2016 05:30 pm

    Thank you, LaShawn, for your wonderful articles.  Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit in LaShawn and for giving her the wisdom to format the articles she has written.  Thank You for blessing her and her family.  Thank you for finding her a wise Christian husband who will treat her with respect and honor.  Thank You for letting her have wise and healthy chlldren and homeschool them.  I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and of Washington, DC, of lsrael and the United States of America.  Thank You for helping the USA to regain the Christian principles with which our nation was founded.  Thank You for helping Israel turn to Jesus Christ as their Messiah.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ my Savior and my Messiah.  Amen.

  • M&
    Posted: Wed, 12/21/2016 01:14 am

    Impressive narrative from a Christian woman!  Have you ever thought of a career in journalism,ha.  Your intuition is spot on and as a dad(60yrs old), your petition is short but your wisdom lives all the day long!  Thank you, it is wonderful to see we still have ladies that teach impressional young men that God loves a man that respects attributes in both sexes, and encourages it. Bravo! Clearly you have a grasp of the true violation our culture has wrought, women deserve better from us and we have faultered, especially as fathers.  You remind me of my two daughters, they speak their mind and I get so proud of them. May God Bless you with His grace, and a Merry Christmas!