Teaching women to be resentful of men has real, lasting consequences
By John O’Sullivan
December 19, 2013
When I was in college, I thought feminism was good. That all changed when the conversation ceased to be about equal opportunity for women and became all about what’s wrong with men. The news is filled with stories about relationships in which men are labeled abusers and women are presumed victims. These constant reminders of the worst of my gender have come to define us as a nation.
When the media make public declarations that men are the bad sex, or simply losers, children are listening. Some of these children are now older and dating, or even married, and many avoid responsibility as a result of our anti-male culture. This is especially true with women. When something goes wrong in a relationship, the default position is that men are to blame. Everyday normal behavior becomes one of scandal or abuse.
When my wife, who has stage-three breast cancer, goes to the emergency room, the first question they ask her is whether or not she feels safe at home. If she is anxious, the hospital social worker feels comfortable assuming some form of abuse. They repeatedly ask inappropriate questions and make grave assumptions without proof.
As a society, we are so trained to look for abuse that we ignore any other possibility. An argument can be called verbal abuse. A wife under serious stress is a victim. A man concerned about spending money is controlling. A wife refusing to answer her phone is enduring harassment. These opinions are presented as facts. It’s just assumed a man is oppressing a woman. That’s what feminism run amok has done.
Relationships can, and do, end based on these overreactions and assumptions about men, which are purposely escalated via people who claim concern. I’m all for protecting someone who’s been mistreated. But so-called professionals who say inappropriate things and interject themselves into private relationships never stop to consider that men have feelings, too.
There are far more people with genuine marital problems than there are abuse victims. Escalating marital conflict with strong negative language, as our postfeminist culture does, is counterproductive. The vocabulary of kindness and calm is more socially responsible.
What I have learned is that people feel comfortable assuming the worst about husbands and ignore their noble gestures and sincere kindness. Is it so hard to believe the world is filled with concerned husbands who make constant sacrifices for loving wives?
A few years ago, when my wife was sick with a different illness, we separated for a short stint. I had people tell me I just had to get divorced, as though this were the obvious solution. I would hear: “You can’t stay together for the children.”
Why the hell not? Nothing on God’s earth that is more important than children.
I was told things like: “Once this happens, things don’t get better.” Well, I think my marriage is worth the risk and more. “In sickness and health” is more than a catch phrase. I realized my wife was sick, so I took care of her.
But there will always be unethical lawyers and social workers with their own baggage who want those experiencing marital problems to blame the other person, usually the husband. That’s how these people make their living, and their efforts are easily propelled by public declarations against men and national debates about the “end of men.” But when you’re busy blaming someone else, you are allowing yourself to be distracted from your own failures. Shouldn’t we be making public declarations of successful relationships instead?
It’s time to stop allowing people with failed relationships to define the culture of marriage. Fathers and husbands who display great character should be the focus of discussion. I have spoken to people who are older and have been married for decades, and they all tell me they had times where they thought their marriages wouldn’t last. Maybe some marriages aren’t salvageable. But many, many are.
Before the 1970’s, when married people had conflicts, the prevailing wisdom was to go back to your spouse and work it out. The feminist ideal suggests this is unfair to women—the assumption being that wives are always the victims in any marital dispute. But marriage can be unfair to everyone! It is gender neutral.
I don’t want to judge people who make different choices than I. But people need to take a deep breath, demand some calm and be positive. Feminist vocabulary is degrading. It hurts men, women, and children; and it erodes marriage. The divorce rate is sky high because people are leading with fear based on a negative narrative that’s constantly repeated in the media.
Teaching women to assume the worst of men has real consequences. We should not tolerate such a toxic message. We live in a country where millions of children are prohibited by law to see Dad because we imagine extremes to be normal.
The feminist establishment needs to take responsibility for their constant negative dialogue. We need to stop celebrating divorce and start praising good marriages. There are countless great men and an abundance of delightful women in the world.
Marriage, for most people, is about a partnership—not oppression. If we lead with our highest expectations and confidence in our wills, we can silence those who lead with the lowest common denominator and the greatest of fears.
Love can conquer and forgive. But first we must change the vocabulary and the ways in which we live. God Bless.