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Where are the Men?
A Feminist Defends Masculinity
By: John Stonestreet|Published: July 31, 2014 6:26 AM
Topics: Culture/Institutions, Gender Issues, Worldview, Youth Issues
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When was the last time you heard a feminist defend masculinity? It’s a “man bites dog” story, next on BreakPoint.
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You probably won’t see her on Fox News. And she doesn’t have a column in National Review. But a lesbian academic trained at Yale, Camille Paglia, who describes herself as a “notorious Amazon feminist,” is an unlikely prophet of cultural doom. And maybe that’s why we should listen to what she has to say.
In a wide-ranging interview in the Wall Street Journal, Paglia says most feminists today deny the basic differences between the sexes, and as a consequence are setting us up for a huge fall. “What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” she says.
How? Well, Paglia says, many members of the cultural elite have no experience in the military and in fact disdain military service, a traditionally male province. “These people don’t think in military ways,” Paglia says, “so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind…. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”
Friends, as our friend Chuck Colson would say, this isn’t primarily a knowledge problem. It’s a worldview problem. Paglia says modern feminists pass that misunderstanding onto the rest of us at the earliest opportunity—in kindergarten.
“Primary-school education is a crock, basically,” Paglia warns. “They’re making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters.” As the Journal article relates, “she sees the tacit elevation of ‘female values’—such as sensitivity, socialization and cooperation—as the main aim of teachers, rather than fostering creative energy and teaching hard geographical and historical facts.”
And the same thing happens, she says, all the way to college. “The PC gender politics things,” Paglia says, “the way gender is being taught in the universities… is all about neutralization of maleness.” Another prominent feminist, Christina Hoff Sommers, who first alerted us to the ongoing “war against boys” in the culture, agrees, saying, “Boys are languishing academically, while girls are soaring.”
Male neutralization, Paglia says, includes the idea that men and women are biologically the same and that gender is nothing but a social construct. And this is why we shouldn’t be surprised that California schools have started to allow kindergartners with supposed “gender identity” issues to go to whichever bathroom they choose.
Paglia warns us that men have “no models of manhood” in our culture, adding: “Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There’s nothing left. There’s no room for anything manly right now.” The culture, this feminist admits, needs men and it will die without them. Wow.
So what to do about it? Paglia suggests a “revalorization” of traditionally masculine trades, such as construction, electrical, and plumbing work, which pay well enough but don’t come with the PC cache of a college degree. Well, that’s a start, but what I’d really like to see is a “revalorization” of traditionally masculine virtues.
We have too many guys, even in the church, afraid to be men. We need men not afraid to be strong risk-takers, to be courageous, to take responsibility, who are self-controlled, gentle leaders and willing providers. We need these real men in our homes and the public square, in churches and in neighborhoods. Remember, God made us male and female. We need both.
Now I realize I may be walking on thin ice here, because virtue is not gender specific. Women can also be strong! I pray my own daughters will be bold risk-takers for the kingdom—but as women, not as men.
Come to BreakPoint.org for some strong Christian resources and good reads on masculinity, what it means to be a man—for men and for boys. . . because we need strong women and strong men. In fact, Western civilization depends upon it. Just ask Camille Paglia.
(This broadcast originally aired January 9, 2014).
Further Reading and Information
Where Are the Men?: A Feminist Defends Masculinity
As Christians, our goal is to raise our sons to be responsible, courageous, masculine men as God intended them to be. For resources to encourage and help us do just that, click on the links below.
Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues
Bari Weiss | The Wall Street Journal | December 28, 2013
How to Make Schools Better for Boys
Christina Hoff Summers | The Atlantic | September 13, 2013
Men in the Muddle: Navigating the Confused State of Manhood
Regis Nicoll | BreakPoint online | July 19, 2007
The Dude’s Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits
Darrin Patrick | Thomas Nelson Publishers | January 2014
The Book of Man: Who Are Men, What Should Men Be, What Should Men Do?
William J. Bennett | Thomas Nelson | November 2011
We Became Men: A Young Man’s Journey to His True Masculine Design
Shawn Brower | P & R Publishing | June 2012
Bringing Up Boys
James Dobson | Tyndale House Publishers | February 2005