Conservative Christians are terrified. They are terrified of offending women, especially women in feminist rebellion. This creates a problem, because conservative Christians still want to condemn the outcome of feminism. The question is, how to condemn the outcome of feminism without offending feminists?
For an example of the fear conservative Christians have of offending feminists, critics accused the movie Mom’s Night Out of not only failing to pander to women, but of being anti-feminist:
Directed by brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, this ostensible femme-powerment film is strangely unsympathetic, even demeaning, to its target audience. Rather than pandering to moms, this unfunny, unabashedly anti-feminist comedy consistently points out how wrong or unnecessary or ungrateful they are.
Failing to pander to women, and even worse, being anti-feminist are serious charges to a conservative Christian! According to The Blaze, the creators of the movie were alarmed at these accusations. ‘Moms’ Night Out’ Director Blasts ‘Alarming’ Media Reviews Calling Film ‘Unabashedly Anti-Feminist’ and ‘Borderline Dangerous’ (emphasis mine):
Erwin said he was “blown away” by the fact that critics seemed to go after stay-at-home moms by claiming that the movie, which simply portrays their lifestyle, is “anti-feminist.”
“I think we all want to live in a country where no one’s bullied for their way of life and that should extend to moms,” he told TheBlaze. “Every woman should be free to choose her way of life … and I think this word ‘tolerance’ should be enforced in this regard.”
Erwin clarified that Mom’s Night Out went out of its way not to make any judgment about the decisions of mothers, including women who choose to be single mothers:
“If at any point in the movie the stay-at-home mom [and protagonist], Allyson, said, ‘This is how you should live life,’ then there would be grounds for some of this stuff. But that’s not in the movie,” Erwin added. “And the movie features a single mom, a full-time working mom — and they support and encourage people throughout the film.”
Erwin reiterated the importance of not restricting women’s choices:
“The message that I would deliver to critics is that I think we should embrace the ideal that every woman is free to choose whatever life she feels like she wants to live,” he said. “And that we believe in a world where no one should be bullied for their way of life and that should extend to stay-at-home moms and it’s obviously not right now.”
Normally conservative Christians don’t come right out and say they support women choosing to become single mothers. Normally conservative Christians instead ignore the sins of single mothers and focus on blaming men for the fact that single mothers don’t want to be married.
If only men would man up, women wouldn’t want to be single mothers.
We see this sentiment from conservative Christians all the time. Glenn Stanton, the Director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family (FotF), explains:
Women want to marry and have daddies for their babies. But if they can’t find good men to commit themselves to, well… Our most pressing social problem today is a man deficit.
Pastor Mark Driscoll explained the same thing:
The latest statistics, 40 percent of all children are born out of wedlock. It is now at the point where women aren’t even pretending they’re gonna ever get married. They go to college, get a good job, get pregnant, have a kid. They’ve lost any hope of ever finding a guy who can actually carry the load, and that’s tragic. We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.
There is a variation of this same message from Honor Your Father Today:
In a society where fatherlessness (or at least dads who aren’t stepping up to the plate) runs rampant, one thought must race through the minds of so many men and women out there: “How do you honor someone who isn’t honorable?”
Father School was originally established by Duranno in October, 1995, in Seoul, South Korea, in response to the growing national epidemic of abusive, ineffective and absentee fathers. Father School was founded on the premise that when the father stands firmly as the head of the household, society will too stand firm, ultimately making the world a better place.
UNCOMMEN exists to encourage men to be better Leaders, Husbands and Dads by equipping individuals and organizations with inspiring and educational resources. Our vision is to help men succeed at being the man they were always meant to be…
When men win, we don’t have to build as many shelters for abandoned families, or pay the psychological and emotional toll for fatherless kids, or care for so many abused and neglected wives.
If we’re going to solve societal ills…
Legacy Minded Men states (emphasis original):
The greatest challenge this country, and yes the world, faces is not unemployment, the environment, drugs, violence, teen pregnancy, government corruption or even terrorism. The greatest challenge we face are men who have abdicated their role as leaders, husbands and fathers. Legacy Minded Men exists to bring this truth to light AND provide the tools to reverse this trend.
Clearly there is wide agreement that if men would only man up, the feminist assault on the family would be reversed. But how can men man up without offending the very feminists assaulting the family? Since biblical patriarchy and headship are out of the question, conservative Christians were forced to invent an entirely new “Christian” seeming ritual. This ritual is what conservative Christians are talking about when they say Man Up! or Step Up!
What is the “Man Up” ritual, and how do your perform it?
The Man Up ritual consists of equal parts hair shirt and chest thumping. The hair shirt comes first, and it consists of finding the flaws in men that are causing women to sin. While the headlines often misdirect with claims of abuse or men impregnating innocent women and refusing to marry them, the real focus is on carefully cataloging the most minor sins of the best married Christian fathers. In fact, the more petty the accusation, and the more godly the father being accused, the better! This change in focus is critical because it is almost exclusively the responsible married Christian fathers who are performing the ritual.
For an example of the hair shirt part of the ritual in practice, see the Focus on the Family review of the movie Courageous:
That’s the life lesson Adam Mitchell, an Albany, Ga., deputy sheriff, learns in Courageous, Sherwood Pictures’ follow-up to Fireproof. Adam is someone many fathers will identify with. He wears his uniform with pride. He provides for his wife, Victoria, and his two children. And because of that he figures he’s not actually required to join his teenage son, Dylan, in a 5K father-son race. And even though 9-year-old Emily is the apple of his eye, he’s quite positive that he’s too dignified (read: embarrassed) to dance with her in a parking lot just because she begs. “I’m dancing with you in my heart, honey,” he explains.
Adam’s sins in the movie are:
- Not dancing with his young daughter in a parking lot.
- Asking his son to help build a shed, when the son would rather run with his father.
Note that the FotF reviewer agrees with the message of the movie. Adam needs a stern wakeup call so he is properly motivated to wear the uniform of the married Christian father, the hair shirt. Without spoiling the movie, I can assure you that Adam receives the harshest wakeup call imaginable, and proceeds to wear the hairiest hair shirt he can find. From there Adam joins with other hair shirted fathers, and their wives instruct them in the proper way to thump their chests. It is a truly glorious message (if you are a conservative Christian).
What is the proper method of chest thumping?
There is no single right way to chest thump, so long as it is hyper masculine while being non offensive to feminists. For this reason, actual headship is out, but borrowing from images in secular culture is in. Military/combat and sports metaphors are probably the most popular. For example, the featured program by Legacy Minded Men is a football based program called Move the Chains:
What would the world look like if men were REAL men? What difference would it make in your home, community, workplace or church? It’s Time to MOVE THE CHAINS!
2-time Super Bowl champion Lee Rouson, Legacy Minded Men founder Joe Pellegrino and Certified Life Coach Juan Garcia provide the men with powerful and fun tools to answer this important question wrapped in a football metaphor.
The program even has a football themed chant to ground men’s ministries (emphasis mine):
“Our Move the Chains Workshop had over 60 men in attendance. Lee’s chant of “Go, Go, Get it, Get it” fired us up and laid down the ground work for our men’s ministry to begin understanding how God desires us to become better husbands, fathers and men of honor!” – Pastor Eric Butler, True Vine Christian Church
Be aware that at times it can be very difficult to distinguish between the hair shirt and the chest thumping. For example, making a public resolution to be a better husband and father serves the function of both the hair shirt (he’s not good enough) and a chest thump (this is what a real man looks like).
What to do when the ritual doesn’t work?
Since the whole point of the exercise is to avoid confronting the feminist rebellion, the ritual doesn’t work. But conservative Christians have faith. Not in the Bible, but in the Man Up! ritual they have created. They believe that if they only practice this ritual often enough and hard enough, all of the problems in our post feminist culture will go away. Feminists have faith that feminism isn’t working because real feminism hasn’t been tried yet. Conservative Christians have faith that feminism isn’t working because weak men are screwing feminism up.
When the ritual fails (as it is bound to do), this is proof that the men aren’t manning up hard enough. They must seek out even hairier hair shirts, and thump their chests even louder. If they do this often enough, hard enough, and publicly enough, they are certain it will work. Conservative Christians turn up the volume on their calls for men to Man Up!, and married fathers answer the call by completing more and more man up programs, hoping that this time they will get the ritual right and make the world safe for feminism. This naturally has created a multitude of Man Up! programs, books, and DVDS. There are even Man Up! apps* for your phone.
I’ll close by noting that there is a certain twisted logic to the Man Up ritual. Feminists have flooded the world with irresponsible unfeminine women. Conservative Christians are countering by attempting to flood the world with hyper-responsible cartoonishly masculine men.