My #metoo cents

I wonder how many men are feeling like creeps today. Not that that would be a bad thing, necessarily. Some of them are and need to know it. But many others, I’ll bet, are more than anything else just feeling frustrated and confused.

It’s not easy being a man these days…she said as something entirely other. Well…not entirely. Both men and women are human, need love and acceptance, want to be respected and admired, and want to understand themselves and the sometimes perplexing other. But we perplex because we are still very different, and no amount of denying it will change the reality. If in the name of feminism we succeed in so brainwashing society at large into believing the sexes are really the same, we are in for a heap more angst and anger, distress and damnation than we are seeing and feeling right now.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I think this social media movement calling attention to sexual harassment is a good thing. It’s “taking a knee” without any perceived pokes at patriotism, so women, and some men, from all races, parties, and cultural viewpoints are putting in their #metoo cents. The stories coming out that seem to make male bad behavior ubiquitous are sobering and disturbing, but if we want to change a culture that is so pervaded by it we need to consider how our culture has likely fostered it.

It seems to me a bit incongruous to find the preoccupation with sex acted out in unwelcome ways disturbing, but not be disturbed by the preoccupation with sex that marks popular TV shows, films, and music, and how it may be contributing to men’s bad behavior. Sex early, often, and rarely with commitment or consequences, is the norm in entertainment, so it doesn’t surprise me if those who work in entertainment or regularly partake of it get the clear message that sex is for entertainment. And since there’s nothing invaluable about entertainment…it has no essential worth like parenthood or a contributive vocation…sex is cheapened as a mere leisure activity, and what is cheap is used and discarded rather than valued and protected.

And how come we’re not as disturbed by the proliferation of pornography which objectifies and demeans women and fuels the ever-simmering cauldron of lust in men, bubbling over into lewd, crude, and disrespectful behavior by many of them? Porn communicates to men that the female body is made for their pleasure only, so naturally that message will be acted on by some in ways that assign women the same value porn does.

Getting back now to contemporary feminism’s gender-blending…when feminists insist that women are not only equal in value to men but equal in abilities and non-distinct in roles, so that there is really nothing special about men, they squelch men’s natural impetus to protect and provide. It’s easy to see how such emasculation will lead some men to behave in ways that overcompensate for their weakened masculinity. Though a bit oversimplified, it’s worth noting the dissonance when feminists reject men as heroes then complain when they act like villains.

None of this is meant to absolve men who sexually harass from any of the guilt they deserve. We are all responsible for our own actions. But just as we assign a measure of responsibility to parents who so indulge and spoil and fail to discipline their child when their little angel who can’t think of anyone but herself makes life miserable for her classmates, and just as when that child gets a little older and mercilessly bullies the shy, awkward new girl driving her to suicide we feel justified in pointing a finger at the bully, so too are we justified in asking why these men harass and laying some responsibility on the cultural factors that encouraged and enabled them.

A friend told me last night she doesn’t think this #metoo movement will have any lasting change, and she may be right. Our culture needs to change first if we’re going to expect men to truly honor and respect women and not use sex for their own cheap ends. We talk about “protected sex” with an eye to preventing pregnancy and disease, but I think we need to protect sex itself from its rampant abuses. We need to safeguard it as a sacred, intimate, binding act between a husband and wife that causes all kinds of physical, emotional, and societal harm when engaged in outside of that sacred, marital union.

And if we even hope to see a day when a #metoo movement would never get off the ground, we also need to recognize and celebrate the uniqueness of both men and women and encourage instead of denigrate the honorable and beautiful qualities of both femininity and masculinity. Before we forget what they are.