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Ladies, Let’s Start Speaking Well of Men

Ladies, Let’s Start Speaking Well of Men

There’s ample conversation about toxic masculinity in our culture today. In some circles, the consensus seems to be that all men want nothing but to wield power and subjugate women.

Of course, many of us know that this isn’t true of all, or even most, men—we need the gifts of both genders to build a truly healthy society.

Unfortunately, it’s very trendy to speak as if we don’t. Even those of us who appreciate men can find ourselves complaining about “all men.” All men are trash. Men are only after one thing. Toxic masculinity. The phrasing goes on and on, and each variant seems to offer a niche opportunity to complain about men in one way or another. How is all this negative talk affecting men? How is it affecting us women? Is this how we really want women to view men?

First, one weed doesn’t destroy the entire garden. Of course there are some bad men out there; we shouldn’t blanket half the human race as “trash” because of them. Their existence  doesn’t in the least erase the massive number of good men in the world.

We need to actively remember all the amazing things men bring to the world. Many of the world’s most impressive feats have been performed by great men. Wars have been won, countries established, religions saved, and science progressed by men of all sorts.

Perhaps even more impressive are the silent heroes of our everyday lives, the men we rely on as strong fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons. In our modern world, it is more important than ever to draw attention to the masculine champions of our times. We need them, and they deserve to know it. No number of angry, violent criminals can erase the impact of even just one good man.

Men face an unacceptable “guilty until proven innocent” public attitude. Women are usually given the benefit of the doubt in court cases, media representation, Hollywood gossip, and group debates. The same cannot be said for men. Perhaps the most famous example in recent times is the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp case.

Remember the term believe all women? What started as a “#MeToo” movement for sexual assault survivors morphed into sociopolitical attacks against any man in the public eye. Many of the ensuing scandals were later shown to be women simply seeking a moment of fame or someone paid to publicly humiliate a man for a different reason, co-opting real victims’ credibility along the way. This attitude has deeply pervaded our social awareness. It is now commonplace to thoughtlessly assume a man is wrong, guilty, or inherently bad, regardless of whether there is evidence or not.

My husband shares stories of men in his life who now refuse to strike up a conversation with or even open the door for women they don’t know, for fear of being falsely accused of harassment or assault. And we ladies wonder why we can’t seem to meet good men! Men are facing a “guilty until proven innocent” attitude from the public. This is not acceptable, fair, or normal. We as women ought to be aware of this pervasive mindset and not be afraid to call attention to the damage it is doing.

Degrading others pervades all of our relationships over time. We’re not just talking about romantic relationships between girlfriends and boyfriends, or even husbands and wives. Verbally trashing the male gender affects our relationships with other women, with parents, with our children, and everyone else too.

Whether or not we actually hate men, speaking as if we do has a strong ripple effect, for it encourages others to speak in the same way. Unchecked over years, we can stray into the territory of emotional and verbal abuse. I personally have heard multiple women verbally abuse their husbands in public, often for no reason other than to show dominance or “be a realistic example.” (Yes, that was a verbatim excuse.) Women can unwittingly become abusers to our husbands and sons if we blatantly follow the trend of trashing men. Do we want our sons to grow up thinking “mama is smart and daddy is dumb”? Or teach our daughters that every man is either useless or out to hurt her? This will do nothing but hurt our marriages, crush our sons and fathers, and enable other angry women to do further damage.

The golden rule still applies. Modern women are incredibly quick to rush to the defense of women when a man says or posts something misogynistic. We take deep offense when someone harasses us or belittles us. There are even specifically anti-male terms like mansplaining or the male gaze.

The lesson is clear: We hate being treated as an inferior group—who would want such poor treatment? And yet, most of us think nothing of discussing men as if they were an inferior group. I’ve recently witnessed quite a few women in their 20s stating how their boyfriends and husbands are more like their children, because they’re helpless without us women to do everything for them. We might say or claim, “Oh it’s only joking!” or “I don’t really believe it, it’s just stereotypes.” But flip the script. We don’t want men talking about us this way. Why do we allow ourselves to indulge in this double standard?

Finally, I want to remind all of us ladies this: Men rarely call us out on our verbal degradation. Why? In this age of rampant fourth-wave feminism, they know there’s not much point in trying to change a made-up mind. They are more likely to get yelled at, belittled, or angrily dismissed than have a valid opinion heard.

So, my final challenge is to listen when a good man calls us out. If a trusted man kindly points out our language, our attitude, or our complaints regarding him or others, we should hear him out. I’m not saying be a slave to anyone else’s feelings. I am merely saying that we must be grown women and consider the other perspective. We are not always right, and men have been taught not to speak up with their side of the story. Remember, good men will endure a relationship through many things, even years of trendy complaints from a wife, sister, or daughter. Is that really how we want to treat good, loyal men?

Let’s instead focus on men as our champions and protectors, for that is either what they are or can rise to be. We have the choice either to honor good men and uphold them as the heroes they are or insult them all based on the lowest actions of the few.

It starts with our words.

Image credit: Unsplash 

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  • Avatar
    WL
    April 26, 2024, 6:37 pm

    Every time a woman I know, and I'm a woman married almost 30 years, starts to talk about or bad mouth her husband, my first thought is, I really want to ask her, "can you imagine the things he might be saying about you if these are the things you're saying about him?"

    I rarely say anything negative about my husband. It's not that he doesn't have his faults, but I have many, many faults as well. Sometimes I feel sorry he's married to me. 🙂 Bad-mouthing him damages my relationship with him, but also my relationship with whomever I am talking to: Legitimately, if somebody bad mouths somebody else to me, it makes me wonder if they ever bad mouth me to someone else. It always goes both ways. (And I have found it is true, as well, unfortunately.)
    In any way shape or form that's nothing or talking poorly about someone destroys many relationships.

    REPLY
    • Avatar
      WL@WL
      April 26, 2024, 7:50 pm

      Typo alert! Should be:
      *In any way, shape, or form, bad-mouthing or talking poorly about someone destroys many relationships.

      REPLY
      • Avatar
        Cadence McManimon @WL
        April 27, 2024, 10:02 am

        Your experiences are a good witness to the power of words in all of our relationships! Thank you for sharing your story and for reading 🙂

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    • Avatar
      Tionico@WL
      April 28, 2024, 11:22 pm

      The ONLY biblical way to act in such situations as you describe is to ask the bad-mouther this: have YOU talked to THAT ONE ABOUT THIS ACCUSATION?
      MJusjs' ow words to us aare:

      WHEN your brother offends you…. when yuo have offended your brother….. when you find fault with another…. the remedy is always and only this:GO TO HIM privately and reconcile,restore, etc. That will go ne of two eays:N restoration results, or it does not. If it does not, then take two or mor witnesses who are not neutral (no dog in the fight) and go back too the offender. Go over the issue again as these wo witnesses listen and remember what is said. No that is not a gang-up session on the offender, the witnesses are not to know anything about the issue prior to this meeting. If recincilition s not the result of this meeting, take it to the elders.. the two witnesses are simply there to establish y their recollection the facts of the discussion. The elders will hen decide… the guy is not out of line, he neds to repent and restore the damage he's done, or whatever. If he refuses, then put him out from amongst yourselves.

      When is the last time each of you reading this now actually DID this when you knew of situation fitting any of the above thre scenaria? Repent, and obey the clear cimmands f Jesus.

      I can't remember how many times I"ve stopped someone in the course of telling a tale of someone else's evil and offense to a group who are eagerly gobbling up the "report", and stopped it cold by asking the tale-bearer "have you brought this to the ine you claim did this?" I did that one time in a circle of about twenty males out in the car park afger a church meeting, chewing up one poor sap. Jus like when Jesus asked the men accusing the woman of adultery if they were able to cast the first stone upin her. They one by one quietly put down their rosk and turned and walked away,leafing her alone.

      Acting on these words of Jesus is THE CURE for the man bashing, and woman bashing as well.

      REPLY
  • Avatar
    Mark Tapson
    April 27, 2024, 12:29 pm

    Thank you for this piece. Too many boys and young men are being battered by cultural messaging that discourages them from rising, as you put it, to being the champions and protectors they are meant to be.

    REPLY
  • Avatar
    Walker
    April 27, 2024, 1:00 pm

    Good article! Makes me think of that book "The Boy Crisis" by Warren Farrell that I've been meaning to read for a while now…

    REPLY
  • Avatar
    Morgan T.
    April 28, 2024, 11:11 am

    Round of applause for this article.
    Men are not an inferior group, nor should they be treated as such. Good men deserve respect especially from the women closest to them, and I would argue that respect, or lack of it, from the women in their lives can shape boys' and men's characters and view of themselves for the long term. Our words are powerful, use them for good!

    REPLY
  • Avatar
    Rick
    April 29, 2024, 8:17 am

    An issue I've encountered is the idea that anything a man does is somehow childish, immature. It appears as though many (Not all!) women believe (have been taught?) that the differences between the genders' approaches are not legitimate. I've had women tell me I'm doing something wrong simply because it isn't the way SHE does it. Often (again, not ALWAYS, but enough that it's noticeable) HER way is The Correct Way, and anything he does that isn't congruent with her approach reflects him somehow requiring "Mothering". Many of the complaints I've encountered about "I have to be his mother" stem simply from him doing things differently, and she can't deal with that. Many of the complaints about boyfriends/husbands being another child could be avoided if she simply accepted that he isn't a woman. He will take a different approach to many tasks than she. He will articulate things a little differently than she.
    I've been told I scramble eggs wrong because of how I folded them in the pan. I was told I loaded the dishwasher wrong, and she couldn't give a reason other than it wasn't the way SHE does it. There was nothing objectively wrong with how I loaded it, it just wasn't HER way. There are MANY examples from my relationships and those of my peers and friends.

    All we need is to be accepted as legitimate in our differences. Sometimes we will do something objectively wrong, but most often it's simply different. Allowing that will reduce HER anxiety, reduce stress within the relationship, and make everyone's lives better.

    REPLY
    • Avatar
      Cadence McManimon @Rick
      April 29, 2024, 9:39 am

      Yes, differences between men and women run far deeper than external appearances! It's popular these days to think that we are neurologically the same, and we simply aren't. Thank you for reading!

      REPLY

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