Last month my letter was dedicated to a celebration of Mother's Day on May 13. I hope you had a chance to read it. This being June, we'll swing to the other half of the equation to take a look at Father's Day. I want to deal with what is happening to men within the culture at large.
Have you noticed that the "women's movement," as it is now called, has again declared all-out war on men? It is pervasive and comes in the form of ridicule, resentment, belittlement, hostility and anti-male bias. It is not a new phenomenon, of course, having begun with a vengeance in the late 60s and 70s. It was then called the "women's liberation movement." In the present permutation, various organizations and leftist groups are still out there teaching hate and conflict between men and women. They include Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups, the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, gay and lesbian advocates, liberal universities, and a host of other leftist entities.
Several months ago, former candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, said that she lost the election because men had browbeaten their wives by insisting that they vote for her opponent, Donald Trump. Could she really be serious? Do women not have minds of their own?
The contemporary version of the war between the sexes is an effort to make men look like fools. They are depicted as immature, impulsive, selfish, weak, and not very bright. Evidence of that campaign can still be observed in almost every dimension of the culture, especially in the entertainment industry. Television commercials slam the message home night after night.
The tiresome formula involves a beautiful woman who is intelligent, sexy, admirable, self-assured and well dressed. She encounters a man who brags and blusters and says crazy things. He is ignorant, balding, and almost always overweight. The stupid guy, as I will call him, quickly disgraces himself on screen, at which point the woman sneers or walks away. There are hundreds of these ads on TV today and have been out there for many years. Watch for them on the tube. They are constantly changing, but here are some actual commercials that appeared for all the world to see.
1. The stupid guy approaches a gorgeous girl in a bar who is pouring a Heineken beer into a glass (guess what is about to happen). She smiles seductively. He is so flabbergasted by her beauty that he overflows his own glass. The announcer then calls this "a premature pour." There is little doubt about the nasty meaning of that one.
2. The stupid guy loves driving his Acura so much that he puts lipstick all over his mouth, musses up his hair, and twists his shirt. He is trying to make his wife think he's been with another woman, but when he gets home, she looks at him scornfully and says, "You've been out driving again, haven't you?" He sighs and looks down, like a little boy caught stealing candy.
3. The stupid guy is too scared to talk to a sexy woman in a bar, so a friend writes inane notes to prompt him. He suggests to the dumb dude that he write unintelligent messages to the woman, such as, "Hi" and "How are you?" Ultimately, the girl leaves with the writer, and the stupid guy is left bewildered and alone at the bar.
4. The stupid guy is a flabby man in his forties who is standing alone in front of his bedroom mirror. He is not wearing a shirt. Then he tentatively tries on his wife's bra. At that moment, his wife comes through the door. The cross-dresser is caught. She fails to notice the bra and asks him something about sports. Relief spreads across his face. The caption then reads, "Some questions are easier to answer than others."
5. The stupid guy is trying to impress an attractive girl with his knowledge of professional football, but she corrects his facts at every turn. He then reminds her that he was a "guard" for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The girl says sarcastically, "Larry! You were a parking lot attendant!"
6. Three stupid guys are standing together at a cocktail party when they spot a beautiful woman in red. One of the men identifies her to the others as "the chairman's wife, Mrs. Robinson." (The setting recalls a Mrs. Robinson in the movie, The Graduate, who seduced actor Dustin Hoffman.) At that point, the woman sidles over to one of the men and says, "Have you ever seen something and you just knew you wanted it?" The stupid guy swallows hard and trembles. This is his big moment. Then Mrs. Robinson grabs his "Killian's Irish Red" beer and walks away.
7. This is the most disgusting advertisement I have seen. The stupid guy is a trainer in a gym who is showing a good-looking girl how to toughen her "glutes," referring to the muscles in her buttocks. He stands before her and begins to grunt and strain, bending slightly forward and grimacing. One wonders if there is something terrible happening in his shorts. Then he reaches behind to retrieve a walnut that he has apparently cracked with his rear end. Somehow that disgusting ad was supposed to make the viewer want to rent a car from Budget. It didn't work for me, I assure you.
Television commercials are not the only culprit. Today's sitcoms are downright awful. They blast away at traditional masculinity, much like wrecking balls crashing into a building scheduled for demolition. After taking many direct hits, the structure begins to crumble. As I write, there is not a single example of a healthy family depicted in a sitcom that focuses on a masculine, heterosexual guy who loves his kids and is respected by his wife. Not one!
You'll note that the polarity of the stupid guy ads is never reversed. Not in a lifetime will viewers see a corpulent, unattractive, sloppy woman lusting after a good looking man in an ad or sitcom, who shows disdain for her as she does something embarrassingly foolish. Men, however, don't seem to notice that the joke is on them. Perhaps they (we) have been desensitized by fifty years of male bashing.
Agencies conduct exhaustive market research before committing millions of corporate dollars to advertising programs such as these. So, what is going on here? Is it possible that men, especially male beer drinkers and sports car enthusiasts, actually like being depicted as dumb, horny, fat, nerdy, and ugly? Apparently, they do. We also have to assume that guys are not offended when they are made the butt of a thousand jokes. But why? Women would not tolerate that kind of derision.
Are you old enough to remember the sitcom, "All in the Family?" It was based on a redneck clod named Archie Bunker and his mousy wife, Edith. Humor was used to make a fool out of him, and by extension, every conservative man in the country. From there, primetime television programming has evolved into today's fare, most of which features profane, sexually explicit cohabitants who meander through one outrageous episode after another. The lead characters are usually men with the giddy mentality of fourteen year-old boys. Hollywood writers use these programs to snuff out every vestige of male pride and crush it beyond recognition.
This leads us to ask, why does it matter? Why should we be concerned about the war between the sexes? There are two primary consequences. First, it effectively weakens the family and damages the institution of marriage. Common sense tells us that dividing the population down the middle and pitting one sex against the other couldn't be healthy for intimate relationships. I am convinced that the war is related to the huge divorce rate in today's world. Many women are reluctant to marry, or stay married to, sniveling men who lack the confidence to lead or care for their wives and children. That hurts everyone.
The second consequence of the war between the sexes is that it warps the minds of children. Do we not know that kids are capable of noticing that men are often made to look like fools in the wider world? They watch the sitcoms too, after all. I'm convinced that many boys and girls learn to disrespect the men in their lives. They should be taught to look up to their fathers and want to emulate them. Boys, especially, need to learn how to become men by watching strong, loving dads who take the time to mentor them. A high percentage of babies are born out of wedlock and have no masculine influence in the home. History teaches that the young and vulnerable suffer most from the ravages of war. In this case, both boys and girls have been wounded by the ricochet.
Remember that the war is not just being waged between men and woman. It is culture wide. Kathleen Parker wrote, "Today's boys grow up in a bizarrely hostile environment. They're told to be tough, not to cry, to be a man. It is an ironic insult in a culture that devalues men and fathers. They're bullied by schools intolerant of boy behavior, told they're less special than girls, and left by too-busy parents to the tutelage of peers, media, and superheroes who wreak havoc to settle scores."
Michael Thompson, coauthor of Raising Cane, said that many women are hoping against hope that their sons won't turn out like their husbands.
Journalist Megan Rosenfeld said that our sons are seen as politically incorrect. "[They] are universal scapegoats, the clumsy clods with smelly feet who care only about sports and mischief."
Harvard psychologist William Pollack said women consider boys to be creatures who might "infect girls with some kind of social cooties."
No discussion of boy-bias would be complete without addressing the discrimination against males evident in American public education. Again, William Pollack said succinctly, "It sounds terrible to say, but coeducational public schools have become the most boy-unfriendly places on earth. It may still be a man's world. But it certainly isn't a boy's world."
And finally, Christine Hoff Sommers, the most passionate and effective defender of boys, echoed these concerns in her outstanding book, The War Against Boys, How Misguided Feminism is Harming our Young Men. She says this is "a bad time to be a boy in America because of the bias against them in our educational institutions."
In conclusion, let me acknowledge the obvious. Not all men are worthy of respect. Some are jerks. Some drink heavily and abuse their wives and children. Some are severely into pornography or are inveterate gamblers. Some waste the family's resources. Some are lazy. Some are unfaithful and chase after other women. Some have other serious faults. I haven't intended to make excuses in this letter for such individuals. Every situation is unique.
I can tell you this. Women often hold the keys to a man's confidence, his willingness to work, to live a clean life, and even to influence his commitment to Jesus Christ. If you belittle and disrespect him at home, you and your children could be the losers for it.
If that is your circumstance, please don't be offended by what I have written. But I urge you not to get carried along by the radical feminist's universal hostility to men—all men. Their anger is not a good thing. If you join their movement, you might hurt your sons and daughters and destroy your marriage. For all the women out there whose husbands are basically good men, but perhaps they are just not good enough in your eyes, you might want to reexamine the guy you married. He could have some hidden qualities you might have overlooked. Search for the hidden virtues and see what could show up.
Even more to the point, you should never underestimate the power of prayer. My grandmother was married to a man who was not a believer. He told her to do what she wanted with their 6 kids, but to keep him out of spiritual matters. She prayed and fasted for him for more than 40 years without response. Then he became critically ill at 69 and asked his wife specifically to pray for him. He said he wasn't afraid to die, but it was so dark. She knelt at his bedside and he gave his heart to Jesus Christ. Two weeks later, he died with a testimony on his lips. We are going to see him again on the other side. You have no idea what answers to prayer God might have in store for your wounded marriage. I have seen miracles happen many times.
Be encouraged, fathers. Your children will be impacted by your godly guidance and care if you take the time to invest in their lives. Happy Father's Day!
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