In the last few months I have seen the growing breed of feminists. What feminism is depends on who you’re asking. There are feminists out there who are as vicious as a school of sharks and a pit of vipers when it comes to anyone who calls them self a man. Social media is populated by male-bashing/I-can-do-it-better/men-are-just-useless feminists who are ready to bulldoze every man off the planet but not before taking his sperm and artificially creating the next generation of don’t-open-the-door-for-me females. There are women out there of whom even I am afraid.
When I was growing up I had a healthy dose of Cartoon Network on a daily basis. One of my favourite cartoons was the Powerpuff Girls. In one episode, a villain aptly named ‘Femme Fatale’ menaces the people of Townsville by robbing its banks. The Powerpuffs are notified at once and upon stopping her realise that her stolen stash is full of coins. This puzzled the child heroes and they inquired. It turns out that the coins had a picture of Susan B. Anthony. The villain then revealed that she refused to steal bank notes as they only had pictures of men. To this woman, men were as filthy as rats in a sewer and had the intelligence of a toothbrush. As such, Femme Fatale refused to be treated as her male villain counterparts, Mojo Jojo, the Amoeba Boys etc in light of the fact that she was fighting for women’s rights. The Powerpuffs, suddenly feeling empowered, do not apprehend Femme Fatale but instead, let her go and live out their own version of feminism. Long story short, they do a bit of research on Susan B. Anthony. It is discovered that she did not wish to be treated differently because she was a woman but wanted to be seen in the same light as men; that is to be equal. Using this logic, the girls arrest her and Townsville is safe once again. And they said cartoons weren’t educational! Ha!
As there are those who see men as the source and root of all evil there are those who see women as temptresses, seductresses, models for lads’ magazines and child bearers but nothing more. The argument is often that if Eve hadn’t eaten the fruit then she wouldn’t have tempted her husband Adam and we wouldn’t be in this mess right now. Men and women always seem to blame each other. In fact, there always seems to be some kind of tugging, pulling and fighting between the sexes. There is at times tension that arises from one stepping on the other. In primary school the girls became increasingly irritated with the boys who were pulling at their ponytails and walking into class sweaty and full of grass after playing soccer during break. Ten years have passed and nothing has changed. There are scores of women complaining about boyfriends, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles and granddads. It is perhaps from here that the disappointment arises and turns to resentment and later bitterness which festers in the heart. And the men? They are unaware of the revolt rising against them and before it’s dawn they’ve become the enemy of the world.
But perhaps the war of the two powers is greatest seen in the area of sexuality. Much of the lyrics of today’s songs are littered with words of domination. Sex is a game of who can overpower who? It’s also a competition of trying to “perform” better than the last sexual partner. The plot thickens as women fight for reproductive rights most specifically the right to contraception. This being the most widely criticised of all of the church’s teachings. But on this topic men of the world will clap their hands and wave the flag of “equality”. How can this be so if they aren’t the ones dealing with the side effects of the pill and other contraceptives? Going on the pill means that women are easily available to them all of the time, even when they don’t feel like it. Surely it cannot be called feminism if it supports the rights of women only when it is convenient for men?
The best type of feminism is the one that calls men to love. It calls them to welcome their sexuality as a gift. Either that or it can so quickly become a weapon used to wreak physical and emotional havoc in the world. In this scenario Adam will always blame Eve for his lack of self-control. Ah yes, the macho man. The one who will blame his forward and brash sexual behaviour on his “manliness” The latter being what many women want and what most men think they have. Being a man is about growing moustaches, beards and back hair. It’s about beer, sports and fart wars. Classy men are known to be in the form of Bruce Wayne and Prince Harry. If you’re an adventurous man you’re eager to change your name to Tarzan or MacGyver. If you’re a flashy kind of man then you probably cruise around town in something fast and Italian doing what Johnny Bravo refers to as “picking up chicks”. You’re probably also wearing a shirt just as flashy as your car.
As you can see from this highly extensive list, the world gives many ideas as to what masculinity is all about. There are many men in the world but not enough manly men. There’s plenty of manscaping, man leggings and man buns (if you’re wondering what this is I dare you to Google it) but not enough virtues to go with them. As hard as it is to believe, the world does not need Batman or his pantyhose-wearing sidekick. The world needs men that are loving, tender, chaste, kind and honest. As St Josemaria Escriva said “There is a need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. And that crusade is your work”
Thank you to the men that have already seen this. Thank you for holding doors open and pulling out our chairs. I thank you not because we are physically incapable of doing so but because you acknowledge that every woman is entitled to respect. You love us in the way Jesus honoured women deep in sexual sin (such as the adulteress who was almost stoned to death) and women who had not sinned (such as Mary). May your virtues shine as a light in this world of spiritual darkness.