On his radio talk show Metaxas Talk, the evangelical Christian, author and public intellectual Eric Metaxas has made the case that feminism arose from a genuine problem on the part of men, namely the misuse of their male strength. Himself a critic of feminism, however, Metaxas maintains that while the feminist’s diagnosis of the problem was correct, their treatment of it was wrong. By denouncing male strength as such, Metaxas claims, feminists have in fact done a great disservice to women. For, male strength, in his view, is meant to be used for God’s purposes, in the service of women, and for their protection. In the spirit of the week of prayer for Christian unity that has just passed, we would do well to seriously consider and unpack this point made by our evangelical brother.
Leaving aside the question of the accuracy of Metaxas’s assessment of the origin of feminism (I am not qualified to speak on such things), his claim that a total repudiation of male strength contributes significantly to problems regarding the treatment of women seems spot-on. But why is this so? The answer, I think, lies in the truth of how men are designed by God. Even just the physical structure of men points to the truth of Metaxas’s claim. For, their bodily structure alone, when compared with that of women generally, points to God having designed men in a unique way for strength. This does not mean that God did not also design women to be strong. As a rule, however, women more often exhibit a different kind of strength than men, which they express in a way that is different from how men generally express their masculine strength.
The different kinds of strengths that I have in mind are protecting and nurturing. And protecting is, in my mind, a more distinctly masculine strength, while nurturing is a more distinctly feminine strength.. That said, men can certainly be nurturing, and very much so. And we all know that you should never mess with “mama bear” when she’s with her children…
But, again, the role of protector applies more particularly to men, while the role of nurturer applies more particularly to women. This brings us to consider again Metaxas’s point that a total repudiation of male strength in society would contribute significantly to problems in how women are treated, and why this is so.
It seems that this happens because men’s actions, whether for good or for ill, will always reflect how they are designed. If it is the norm within society to encourage and empower men to use their strength virtuously and for God’s purposes—and especially at the service and for the protection of women—then we would have far fewer stories of sexual abuse scandals popping up all over the place. For, good men would have stopped such “men” outright or exposed them far sooner. If, however, we continue to exert social pressure on men to stop “presuming” that women could ever want or need their aggressive strength for protection, then we won’t see the end of such strength, but rather the widespread distortion of it…and no one wants that.
I suggest we listen to Metaxas and encourage men to use their strength for good.