Gilette—the razor company—recently released an advertisement encouraging men to overcome the excuses of “boys will be boys” and to “do better.” While many “progressives” have praised the ad, there appears to be more backlash than praise for Gilette’s foray into the arena of man bashing and gender smashing. On YouTube, the Video has received over 19 million views with 522,000 thumbs up and close to 1 million thumbs down. Clearly, the ad struck a nerve, but why?
For my part, I appreciated the condemnation of sexual harassment, bullying, and fighting. On the other hand, the overall tone of the ad seemed to imply that men are, by nature, overbearing, barbecue-obsessed, sexually-obsessed, domineering, and violent. No wonder so many men threw up their hands in frustration! Not all men are rude and obnoxious! Imagine what would would happen if a similar ad were published showing women making false accusations of sexual assault, getting into catfights, gossiping, lying to judges to get full custody of their children, and firing men for being men, while a group of manicured, highlighted, shopping-laden, starbucks-carrying women murmured “girls will be girls,” I think women would be slightly offended, don’t you?
Feminism has evolved from promoting women’s rights to castigating and shaming men. While women should be grateful for early feminists who provided the right to vote and promoted a wider range of job opportunities for women, women should also be standing up against pervasive and pernicious attacks against men. Men are just as valuable as women to our society, our families, and our congregations. As the mother of a young boy, I want my son to grow into a strong man of integrity who can lead others to Christ. How do I do that in a society that can’t even decide what biologically constitutes a man or which bathroom men and women ought to use?
On this blog, my focus is on Christian matters. I want to encourage you to know the Lord, to be confident reading the scriptures, and grow your relationship with Christ. I tend to stay out of controversial issues because I don’t want it to interfere with the message of Christ. This issue, however, is one which will affect our children—how they work, how they teach the gospel, and how they interact with the world. With gender neutrality battles at a fever pitch, we need to get to the heart of what God teaches so we know how to respond. As parents, we also need to show our young men what it means to be a good man in spite of the ever-shifting morality within our society.
What are some ways we can counter the culture and encourage the men in our lives?
Women Should Praise Men When Praise is Due
Words have power.
Unfortunately, women in our society frequently use their words to tear men down.
Do we praise the good men do?
Do we extol fathers who are strong leaders, nurturers, and encouragers?
Do we appreciate men who start worthwhile businesses?
Do we value strong men who stand up for the helpless?
I don’t see this in our world.
Here is what I do see:
We say, “he had the advantage of being male.”
We say, “women can do that too!”
Sometimes, we say nothing at all.
The victim-villain mentality is overused and abused. How about instead of tearing men down, we acknowledge their valuable contributions to society? Does that mean overlooking legitimate indecency such as sexual assault, violence, cruelty, or abuse? Absolutely not. I am not suggesting that we overlook bad behavior, I am suggesting that we do not fail to extol good behavior.
Women should not feel like traitors to their sex for giving praise to a man when he has earned praise. If we want our sons to grow into men of integrity, we need to show them that we value men of integrity. If a woman is blessed to be married to a good man, she should show her son that she has respect for him in both words and deeds. She should speak positive words about her husband, showing her son that such men are of great worth. Mothers, we have a powerful influence over our children. Let’s use our influence to create an environment in which all members are treated with respect.
Men should Mentor other Men
One thing I have been exceedingly grateful for since moving to Texas is our new church family. We have so many strong leaders who encourage our young men. Last year, they started a young men’s training service to help the boys in our congregation grow confident in leading singing, reading from the scripture, teaching lessons, and leading the congregation in public prayer. I’ve been so impressed, not only by the young men who participate, but also by the encouragement given to these young men. Their confidence in their ability to lead is being built up by their peers, the preachers, and the congregation as a whole.
Our congregation also splits the junior high and high school classes into boys-only and girls-only classes from time to time, allowing men to teach the boys and women to teach the girls. There is so much value in these classes that cannot be overstated. Men are able to speak to the challenges boys face in ways that women cannot because we are made differently! God designed the church so we could help each other reach Christ. If we have dealt with a unique struggle, we are better equipped to strengthen someone who deals with similar struggles. Men struggle with certain issues in a way women do not, just as women struggle with certain issues in a way that men do not.
I recognize the sensitivity of this topic. Furthermore, I know there are many women who have suffered abuse at the hands of men. These things should not be overlooked! But just as we do not want to paint an entire race of people with a broad brush of ills committed by a few, we should not paint all men as evil for the behavior of some. Just as we want our daughters to grow strong and successful, we should seek the same for our sons.
Let’s encourage our sons to be men of integrity.
Let’s encourage our daughters to be women of worth.
Let’s encourage our children—and one another—to imitate Christ.
Christ stood up for the helpless, regardless of their race or sex. Christ loved truth, hated deceit, and healed the broken. If we teach our children anything, we should teach them to love the way Jesus loves.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2.3-8, ESV