Twenty-two years ago I started a book soon after the birth of my second daughter. Picking it up again in 2005 I subsequently lost the manuscript. Each attempt was during another season of my life where, as the father of daughters and husband to a bride beyond my dreams, I had to come to terms with the horrid evils of misogyny and sexism in every corner of culture.
Yet again, in the last few years, I learn more about the problem and how countless people have been speaking into the ether on the matter. I am also discovering the depths at which the hatred of women lurks, even among other women. One of the greatest depictions of this hatred, of better yet evil, is the expressions of women and their place in the world by those who are so-called religious.
I’ll go ahead and put this on the table. My voice is senseless in this battle. So this writing is an autobiography of sorts and anecdotal in part. I am not going to express any “wokeness” or sense where I, as a white male, have the insight needed to answer these problems. I hope to share my journey so that those who care to trust my wisdom, will think about these things. Most of all, I hope that those who are part of the true Christian community, will embrace the Christ-centered reality of these discoveries and disavow the religious, alter-conservative views that demonize the humanity of women.
In truth, this writing will be more about what men have done and still do to contribute to this issue than it will be an expression of my understanding of the plight. I can never grasp the depths of this for women, and in 1000 years, no one will have done so either until they’ve lived as a woman in these circles. Even then, I fear that many women are not even aware of the subtle ways in which culture has devoured them. Some, I dare say, feel proud to be undermined, hated, belittled, controlled, and abused by this systemic evil.
My life is what it is today because of women.
I was born into the world by a woman, my mother, who at the time was a rebel in her way, standing firm on her convictions and loving her baby despite the cultural stigma. Not to detract from any male leadership in my life, but by in large, my life was completely developed and formed by strong, bold, and confident women. My mother, her mother, my father’s mother, and two great-grandmothers paved the way for my view of women, partly against the unspoken expectation of the masculine world around me.
And listen, it is not wrong or bad to be masculine, just like it is not wrong to be feminine. It is wrong when we press these characteristics into a corner and shape them out of untold biases that are rooted in superiority and hate.
I’ve learned that I have feminine qualities and that my wife and daughters have masculine qualities. I’ve further realized that these qualities are not sex-specific, nor are they related to any biological gender. Further, when I read the Scriptures, I find God expressing Himself in these ways, especially in Hosea and other prophets. God uses the directions of masculine and feminine in His care, comfort, wrath, etc., and thus instructs us to view and live out these in our own lives without bias and in love.
Many Christians will read my book and scoff, call me a heretic, and paint me with a brush of accusations, and all manner of hatred.
I don’t mind.
I have stopped giving in to the fear of what others think because those who hate me and my life’s story are part of my transformation, my growth, strength, and clarity. I can be thankful for the terror as it has laid the way toward the truth. And some of those naysayers and terrorists are proof of what I am talking about. Many who care to continue renting me a room in their heads in their vitriol prison, well, you can pay the rent. I don’t have to. Sadly, in this context, the women are the ones paying for it.
Those with critical minds and thinking spirits, those with compassion, empathy, and a desire to truly invest in the world around them will carry my sentiment, even if they disagree with my conclusions. After all, until you’ve worn my shoes, you cannot come to my destination. So, get your journey started. That’s what I want from you.
I’m writing to women who want to see a male perspective on the matter and who have an interest in digesting my journey. I’m writing to women to show them some men attempt to understand because they care and want to see change. I’m writing to women who are stuck in the middle of these battles and have been trying to get out. Maybe some of the things I say could help you feel free, whole, and human.
I’m writing to the women who mock my thoughts and stand firm that they are free, loved, appreciated, and respected while being subjected to their involuntary abusers (or voluntary) for the sake of purity, religion, or community. I’m talking to the men who are up in arms and those who want to see. I’m talking to the men like me who have given their days to the benefit of women in their lives only to find that even some of those championed causes hurt women in the process. I’m talking to myself who has awakened to many ways in which I have been part of the problem and now am working with great passion, to be an ally in the solution.
I have a lot of women to thank for this writing.
My daughters, three of whom are grown, and even my nine-year-old, who has shown me much more about the matter than she’ll ever know. I thank my mother and the matriarchs of our families. I thank my mother-in-law, who is with the Lord, but showed me the transformative reality of true love and embraced me as a son, and encouraged me to understand the struggles of girls and women.
Most of all, I thank my wife. My bride of 27 years as of this writing. Her beauty runs deep and her patience with me as my partner, friend, lover, and teacher is priceless. I do not flatter, so my sincerity here is for my conscience, not to move anyone. I cannot express the absolute gratitude I have for my best friend in life, marriage, parenting, and love for all that she is and for not letting me consume her personality in the realm of male-centered foolishness. Thank you, Robyn. You are a true rock star. A true woman. A person worth emulating. A lover of people. Kind. A sincere hopeful light in the darkness. An example in many ways. Someone worthy of all respect and love.
In the future, I will define a few things so that as you read, you won’t assume what I am trying to say. I will be clear to underscore what I am saying so that you won’t hear my omissions. I can’t talk about everything, there are plenty of folks who have much more time for that. I will talk about the essence of feminism but not exhaustively, so there won’t be room for the “yeah buts” in this book.
I’ll then discuss the problems on a large scale: culture, history, movements, exemptions, slavery, religion, evangelicalism, and politics as they relate to family, marriage, sex, commerce, relationships, government, economics, and leadership – just to name a few. I’ll even discuss the controlling powerplays of chivalry, fashion, and the image of weakness. I’ll then express my observations, thoughts, and emotions, and provide some insight as to how I came to some of my epiphanies and reasoned conclusions. I will discuss some semi-permanent stakes that I have put down on these issues and some dogmas that I have let go of because they are harmful.
Finally, I will ask some questions and invite dialog while giving some application to the whole discussion. In the end, there is much to be learned and understood and my little elementary education on this profound issue is just beginning.
I hope you’re listening. I am.
Stay tuned for more.