by Bill Nugent
Betty Frieden is said to have pulled the trigger on history with the publication of her book The Feminine Mystique in 1963. The book helped launch the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s which sought to liberate women from traditional family responsibilities and encourage them to work outside the home. The movement later dropped the name Women’s Lib and was called feminism. Some grandiosely call it the Women’s Movement in order to implicitly claim that it speaks for all women.
In this article let’s look at a different movement that runs parallel to feminism and piggybacks on it in a parasitic kind of way. It’s a stealth movement that gets little publicity but its carnage is everywhere. It can be termed Men’s Lib. As women were moving away from a strict adherence to traditional family obligations people applauded women’s new found freedom to use their talents in the workforce. Men also moved away from traditional family responsibilities and the results are disquieting.
Let me emphasize that I don’t think all women should be homemakers. Some have to work outside the home and some have enormous talents that can only be expressed in a career. The danger is the overemphasis on work outside the home to the neglect of family.
Men were supposed to pick up the slack at home. Some did. Many, however, joined the subtle men’s movement to abandon the man’s traditional role as provider and protector of the home. Men left home too!!! This subtle, destructive men’s liberation movement is an unintended consequence of feminism. It “liberates” men from traditional roles but turns them into feckless cads.
A recent article titled The Marriage Strike by Wendy McElroy, editor of ifeminists.com details the sharp drop in the marriage rate. In 1990 there were 9.8 marriages per 1000 Americans. By 1999 it fell to 7.4 marriages per 1000 Americans. The article gives statistics covering the period 1960-2000 that space prohibits me from detailing. The trend is a clear downward shift in both marriages and presence of fathers with their children. The article also alludes to the fact that this trend is international in scope. Statistics show an alarming increase in fornication and cohabitation which the Bible strictly forbids.
Apart from statistics, the examples of fatherlessness and broken homes are all around us. Far from liberation, women must increasingly do both traditional roles at home. In pre-lib days mom could get at least some help from dad but with dad gone she must do it all.
The Bible gives clear instructions on the proper roles of husbands and wives in marriage to meet the emotional needs of each. When the emotional needs of husbands and wives are met the marriage remains stable and the children enjoy the care of both parents. To summarize the content of the marriage passages; I Peter 3:1-7 and Ephesians 5:22-33, I would point to the fact that these passages teach that the wife is to be loved and protected and the husband is to be respected as the head of the household.
Secular feminism regards men and women as identical except in regard to physical differences related to reproduction. There is currently a rethinking and rejection of that assumption even by secularists. The family breakdown caused by hyper-egalitarianism is discernible even by the obtuse. The fact that pioneering feminist Gloria Steinem got married has prompted thoughts of postfeminism.
In politics we’ve seen the abandonment of communism and a return to property rights and economic freedom which are taught by the Bible. This happened because after decades of forcing communal living on people (and murdering tens of millions of them in the process) the communists finally learned that communism doesn’t work. They then returned to the Bible’s concept of property rights.
In gender relations we see a similar pattern of social experiment. Women’s lib and men’s lib causes disintegration of the home. Millions of women are raising their children alone in poverty. Fatherless boys are joining street gangs to find male affirmation. People are starting to wake up.
There is now a slow but discernible return to the biblical pattern. Dr. Laura Schlesinger’s recent book The Care and Feeding of a Husband is but one of many indications of this. It is part of what can be called the ultimate triumph of Bible based ideas. The fact that the Bible’s wisdom, when applied, brings positive results is further proof that the Bible is inspired by God. “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19 NAS).