Focus on the Family recently suggested something that seems, at first glance, to flatter women. I did not feel flattered at all. They suggested women are the number one way to change men for the better:
… the most fundamental social problem every community must solve is the unattached male. If his sexual, physical, and emotional energies are not governed and directed in a pro-social, domesticated manner, he will become the village’s most malignant cancer. Wives and children, in that order, are the only successful remedy ever found. – Glenn T. Stanton
This is highly problematic, to say the least.
From the theological perspective :
Have Focus On The Family never heard of Jesus and being born again? Surely Jesus is better at changing humans – even the alleged “malignant cancer” called unattached males – from the inside than any woman is? How could a Christian™ organization say that women, not Jesus, is the only remedy for men’s bad tendencies?
Stanton also says:
“The Savior of the world chose to come to us through a wife and mother.”
Firstly, Jesus came through a woman/ girl who was unmarried and not a mother yet when she got pregnant with the Savior. Secondly, is Stanton suggesting that a male Savior without a mother to “domesticate” him would have used his “sexual, physical, and emotional energies” in a destructive manner? Otherwise, how does this sentence relate to the topic?
From the male perspective:
Don’t men find this message highly offensive? To be, allegedly, some kind of animal that can only be domesticated (Stanton’s word, not mine) by a good woman is literally dehumanizing.
From the female perspective:
The message that women can/ should change men is one of the most dangerous messages ever given to women. Women who showed their so-called “femininity” to the wrong men have been abused, abandoned and neglected both inside and outside of marriages. This article implies:
Women, your potential dating pool is a bunch of savages. Any of these savages have the potential to kill you emotionally and perhaps even physically. Act feminine and team up with one of them, that is the one way you have to (perhaps) change one barbarian into a productive human. Feminism tells you to not be feminine, and then it is your fault if the men around you stay barbarians.1
My opinion: The barbarians will most likely hurt me before I get close enough to turn one into a productive human. That is if he ever does become a productive human and does not simply hurt/ kill me. No! If men actually are a malignant cancer on society, the best thing I can do is stay away from them. (Please note that yours truly is not calling men savages or barbarians. Men are called savages/ barbarians/malignant cancer here for the sake of argument, to discuss the topic that Glenn introduced.)
Glenn, do you ever give any thought to all the ways in which women suffer because they are told that the only/ main way to find meaning in life is to take responsibility for loving some savage until he improves?
When you Focus On The Family, Glenn, do you ever Focus On the well-being of the adult female member of The Family? Or are women just human sacrifices to the barbarians called men, so that barbarians may perhaps become civilized while abusing them?
From the complementarian perspective:
“Worthy men adjust their behavior when a woman enters the room. They become better creatures. Civilization arises and endures because women have expectations of themselves and of those around them.”
Why then, would anyone expect women to one-sidedly submit to men? That, assuming Stanton is right, is civilization taking a back seat to those who cannot behave themselves.
Would God say that the civilized people should not teach or have authority over the barbarians? This article itself suggests women should “govern and direct” men’s “sexual, physical, and emotional energies.”
From the logical perspective:
Is the cause and effect not, maybe, the other way round? This article claims:
[T]he most powerful and important influence women have had on our nation’s founding, growth, and success is this: They make men behave. All their other important contributions are secondary.
How about this theory, instead? : In a society where women did not have equal opportunity to study, lead, and work in a wide variety of fields, women’s biggest contributions were in the only area where they were, to some degree, allowed to influence those in power.
It also claims:
Husbands and fathers become better, safer, more responsible and productive citizens, unrivaled by their peers in any other relational status.
Or how about this theory? : Among bunches of males, the responsible ones could be more likely to find wives. If you then compare single men to married ones, the married ones will be more responsible. As for comparing divorced men to married ones, women could be divorcing because their guys are not the “better, safer, more responsible and productive citizens” that they wanted. Meanwhile, the “better, safer, more responsible and productive citizens” stay married.
Is this perhaps a better suggestion?
Even if women have the claimed effect, it seems to be wiser to encourage men towards agape, love-others-as-yourself love for women, and children, and other men. A love that does not see anyone as less than. A love that values all people as much as the self, that wants to contribute to their well-being. That kind of love would not do it for only one man at a time after society already influenced him in savage directions but would create a more civil society.
I think our problem is a society that encourages men to be violent, not that women should be whatever-definition-Glenn-T.-Stanton-has-for-feminine so they can motivate men out of being a malignant cancer. If appreciating a woman’s opinion is life-changing, let men and boys, single and married, respect women and their opinions in every sphere of society – including in politics, in church, in the home, at work, and in social settings.