Don't leave just yet. Besides these articles, sometimes I send out extra special stuff. Don't miss out. Sign up here.
people are love and respecting (now).
Join the movement.
I’m tired of hearing about marriage and men.
Uh, Joy, I thought that was your job, vocation, calling, love, and passion?
It is. And I shouldn’t say tired of it; rather, I am tired of the bad rap men get in articles, shows, and conversations in which the attitude is that marriage is failing, men are failing, the sky is falling, etc.
But, Joy, research shows that marriage is falling apart and that all the good men are gone. The Wall Street Journal said so.
Yes, they did. So now what?
A number of people, including fellow blogger Ally, recently sent me the article “Where Have All the Good Men Gone” and asked for my thoughts. Ally’s article was a catalyst for me to share.
If you haven’t seen my video in Part One yet, check it out. I’ll expand on my video thoughts in the following posts, starting with this:
While articles like this can be true, they can also be unproductive because while they name the problem, they do very little to solve it—and here’s why.
I have hesitations regarding the value and weight we put on what “they” say. I fear the damage that some “research” will have on our culture and the way we label people.
My humble observation about research:
Many researchers have a bias. Researchers can be connected to (or paid by) companies that want their research to show a specific conclusion or that are personally invested in the outcome. This creates a temptation to formulate questions and/or situations in a way that will give the desired outcome.
Most publications don’t give you all the details. The next time you read an article, try to figure out the reputations of the researchers who performed the study, what their sample was, and how many times the research was performed before the results were published. Even academic journals usually save the sample details until the very end.
Research names and defines. This can be good to bring about clarity, but it can also provide a temptation to label, name, and put someone in a box. We love labels for other humans because it helps us make sense of what confuses us, but when you call someone something enough times, he or she will eventually answer to that name.
So here’s my question to you: The problems (true or false) regarding men have been named — a lot.
So now what?
Don't leave just yet. Besides these articles, sometimes I send out extra special stuff. Don't miss out. Sign up here.
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.
Move the target. Call men to something higher. But what? How? I know it’s cliche’: the Bible.
Men will disappoint and fail from time to time. This is where the support and respect of the women in his life is so crucial. If ladies are willing to suffer him or suffer his mistakes, while loving and respecting him, men can have the courage to plow towards the future.
It’s slightly contradictory to support him while constantly expressing your need for and belief in him, but that’s what’s needed. Labeling or naming causes a divide where we need to work with one another to live our best life now (politics meets Osteen: wretch!).
At times I wonder if the way we live in this society creates humans that do not need to act in a respectable way. Why would men not want to marry or grow up when sex is so readily available to them? Does this sounds old fashion? Yes it does but I think sometimes that those old folks got some things right. Why do men need to grow up? We women take on a million responsibilities for them, we raise the babies alone, we give them sex freely, and we earn our own money. I just wonder, if we have not given them anything to fight for? Of course I am aware that there are many opportunities for men and women to choose respectable behavior and there are many that do choose it. I do not want to label either (although I have been guilty of this in the past). I also want to interject that it is wonderful that women have the abilities they did not have in the past. Such as being able to join the work force on equal footing with men, but when it comes to men are we doing something wrong? Just a thought feel free to tear it apart and come up with some ideas.
I think J alluded to part of the problem—a swinging pendulum. Women are now able and entitled to have more rights and responsibilities. Often we push the proverbial pendulum away from treating each other with respect to an “its my turn” mentality. What to do? See the past as the past and not an excuse for bad behaviour. Speak out positively. Point out negative stereotypes where they exist.
I recently reviewed a commercial’s storyboard for a household product. There was one frame showing a husband sitting in the middle of a mess enjoying a sandwich and his dog’s company. I voiced my concern that this was disrespectful to men and encouraged a negative stereotype. Who knows if it will make a difference? I did what I could in that situation.
pkphinfan – I think men and women both need to be called to something higher — the Bible as you mentioned is what calls Christians to live differently. Hopefully men and women will desire God and his Truth dictating their actions, words and emotions rather than letting the world and their feelings justify how we treat one another. My crazy challenge to women is to simply encourage the men around them. A gift without any other motive other than to go against the grain of what media and our feelings tell us to do. I would love men to do the same thing. Yet, it feels like fear paralyzes us.
J – You may have read an article that was recently published on this very topic. You are right in your assessment (if this article and my similar observations are correct). It’s like we have created the perfect storm that contributes to the down fall and distrust of healthy relationships. I’m not linking to the article because as my friend Val said in the last post…
“I think the church is in a unique position to call those who are looking for a more meaningful response to consider some significant truth in light of Jesus’ lifestyle and Scripture.”
We need to be informed, but there is just SO MUCH out there that I feel like it’s keeping us stuck in this, “that’s whats wrong” stage instead of just living and taking responsibility to be in community with those around us and make the changes we can in light of how we know Jesus calls us to treat one another.
Sheryl – Right again. And I am so proud of what you did!!! This is exactly what I am talking about…we need to fight against the pendulum swings by living out the gospel and being fair and balanced and treating everyone as if they are valued, loved and respected.
It’s always really weird to listen to (or read) women talk about men; about who they are and who they should be. A lot of times it comes across as patronizing even if what is being said is positive towards men. I always know women mean well, but it just feels weird. I have a woman friend that’s about 15 years older than me and she’s become like a sister and we talk about interactions between men and women. It’s great because she doesn’t assume anything about men, good or bad. I think that’s what bugs me, the assuming. whether it’s assuming all men are pigs or we need our egos stroked, it just feels like who I am isn’t a factor. It’s like a scene in a movie when somebody says something about another character and that person says, “Hello! I’m standing right here.” Just a weird feeling.
Aaron – I couldn’t agree with you more.
Trust me that this is a weird place for me to be in because I ALWAYS picture men reading this and think that they must feel so weird. And that has been what has kept me from writing some things…
But I was encouraged to write this because I have to step back and go…”Which will do more damage…not saying anything or saying something to hopefully help be a voice of reason.”
I’m not sure if you read the WSJ article, but many women have. And the same author has written an article labeling women. I could write a whole response on that, but many of the letters I get are from women and I am a women, so I feel that a voice to my own gender can hopefully be the most helpful.
I guess what I would ask all my readers to step back and say is – “What is at the heart of what Joy is saying?” And hopefully what I am communicating is that labels and name calling are not going to be effective in the long run. I hope as a man you can see that what I am saying could be applied to your views on women. Because ultimately I see men and women as being different…HUMANS are different…and if we don’t start giving grace and trying to build one another up, the increase in “information” that we have out there will continue to tell everyone what is wrong with each other. And that to me perpetuates something that is not God’s intention for mankind.
But I would love your feedback. Pretend you are me and you are getting emails and reading articles from women that essentially say, “What is wrong with men?” and letters from men essentially saying, “What is wrong with women?” As someone trying to “help” what would you suggest I do?
And lastly, your older friend seems awesome. With age comes maturity. I would encourage you to talk to your peers and see if they have any negative assumptions about the opposite sex. And think to yourself…is this true about all men? All women? Where are their assumptions rooted? Is it affecting the way they are dating?
Thank you so much for your honesty! Again — I agree and share your concerns.
Here’s a stab at answering the question Joy poses in the comment box, which, BTW, is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart.
One place to start is to look at the evidence that is typically used to support views like those expressed in the WSJ article.
Typically, two sets of statistics underlie the argument that there’s something wrong with young men. First, on average, young men have been harder hit by the recession than young women. Second, young women earn more undergrad and graduate degrees than young men.
I agree with the statistics, but I disagree with the conclusions that are drawn from those statistics. Yes, men have been harder hit by the recession. But, I don’t think it’s that men are less resilient than women. Rather, I think it’s because the average man is more willing to take risk than the average woman. Risk means higher expected return, but also more volatile outcomes. Relative to a young woman who is a nurse, a young entrepreneur is more apt to lose his business in the recession. But, he is also more likely to soar when times are good. We need to understand risk and differences in risk preference between men and women. We need to make sure that we don’t criticize or patronize men after the fact, for undertaking risky ventures that made sense at the time the decisions were originally made. As Christians, I think we should be particularly sensitive to this because Christ encourages us to take risks for the Kingdom! Luke 12:4, for example, says, “Fear not, you can only be killed.”
Yes, women earn more grad degrees than men. But, this is because the vast majority of grad degrees are master’s degrees, and the vast majority of masters degrees are awarded in education and the helping professions. Women tend to gravitate towards jobs in teaching and the helping professions where advancement is based on time-in-rank and graduate education. In contrast, men gravitate towards jobs in private sector where advancement is based on on-the-job performance. Not surprisingly, male recipients of grad degrees in the hard sciences and business, outnumber women by about 2-1. I’m not convinced that all of theducation data is evidence of a crisis.
A second take on the WSJ article, is to consider the appropriate response from the Christian community. Here, I love what you’re doing, Joy. To me, the Love and Respect message is primarily about how men and women are to relate to each other. I become concerned when Christians’ primary focus, instead, is on the activities women undertake. Does my respect really mean that I am to achieve less or be less competent? Now, I don’t mean to say that we should toss out all gender-role advice around managing a household and raising children. But, I worry when I hear “Men would achieve more, if only women achieved less” arguments coming out of the Christian community.
Marilyn – Excellent points. Thank you for bringing your highly academic and well balanced perspective. I love what you said about risk and our responsibility as Christians to do things differently.
I personally haven’t heard “Men could do more if women achieved less” but whoever says that is not in my camp of thinking!! God sees us as equal but different and that too is how I think we should see and embrace one another.
Again – loved your contribution.
I did read the WSJ article and I thought you were spot on about saying it stated the problem, but didn’t go about solving it, although to be honest, I don’t think I want any of the author’s solutions. 🙂
Open ended comments and questions help with the “not feeling weird” aspect of these discussions. It’s not the easiest thing in this forum, especially if men aren’t going to participate in the discussion, but it encourages a more honest response. The WSJ article is a bunch of statements. I respond to those statements with statements of my own. Not necessarily bad, but it’s not the best for learning and growing.
I understand where you’re coming from and really enjoy the site and it must get tricky handling all of the grenades lobbed your way. You definitely temper the ideas out there akin to the WSJ article. I’ve seen the questions you’ve responded from men asking what’s wrong with women and vice versa.
I’ve never found the men all suck, women all suck questions to be helpful and point to some internal things in the person making those comments and I think those comments come equally from both men and women. This is where I appreciate the collection of people in my life. I have older women friends, wives of my guy friends, older men who serve as mentors and guys my age, married and single, who I can get different perspectives from.
i think that the reason men are portrayed this way is because there is often more attention focused on men who are negative than those who are not. those who stand out the most seem to be talked about the most. one example is the man i had an altercation with today @ the food court in the mall; which led to me being banned for life from that establishment. he made the most noise hence he soaked up all the attention. now there will be many people talking about how disrespectful he was to his girlfriend…