My friend Robert, who has an amazing apologetics-enabled wife, asked me to write about this topic. And Mary helped me to edit it, because the first version was really really mean. Now the last half of the post is a lot more positive, thanks to her input. The meanest part is right after the movie review excerpts and before the advice for Christians.
First, a little blurb about Switch.
It’s a feminist adage that “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”, but Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston is taking that message a step further, saying that women don’t need to “fiddle” with men in order to have and raise a child, thanks to artificial insemination.
Aniston, 41, is the star of an upcoming Miramax film “Switch,” in which Aniston’s character decides she is tired of waiting for a man to come into her life to have a baby, and elects for artificial insemination. Apparently the film is supposed to be a romantic comedy, as it turns out that the best friend of Aniston’s character is the sperm donor.
A reporter at a Sunday press conference in Los Angeles, where the actress was highlighting her movie, questioned Aniston’s character, suggesting it was “selfish” to deprive a child of a father in order to fulfill a personal dream of parenthood.
“Women are realizing more and more that you don’t have to settle, they don’t have to fiddle with a man to have that child,” the actress asserted in their exchange. “They are realizing if it’s that time in their life and they want this part, they can do it with or without that.””The point of the movie is, what is that which defines family?” Aniston continued. “It isn’t necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot.”
She stated, “Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere.”
Second, a little blurb about Eat, Pray, Love.
The movie stars Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert, a writer who suddenly decides she doesn’t like being married to her husband any more.
[…]…Liz decides to visit India to look up her former lover’s Hindu guru. At the guru’s place, she gets into Hinduism, including Hindu meditation, really heavily. She also befriends a young Indian girl going into an arranged marriage and a troubled former alcoholic who’s lost his family. From all these experiences, Liz comes to believe in meditation and pantheism, where the believer uses meditation to become like God. She also comes to believe she has to forgive herself, not apologize to the people she’s harmed, especially her former husband, who seems to be a decent, sincere man.
Finally, Liz heads to Bali to consult an elderly spiritual healer and fortune teller she had met before. In Bali, Liz helps a battered wife, finds further spiritual anti-enlightenment and a new lover.
[…]The biggest problem, however, is that the female protagonist is a selfish woman trying to find personal enlightenment and happiness apart from the God of the Bible. Sadly, she jumps from man to man. Even worse, she eventually finds spiritual darkness in the false religion of Hinduism and pantheism, the belief that everyone is god or has a piece of god inside herself.
Another problem with the movie is it presents a negative, feminist view of marriage.
I know that many young unmarried women really really like these movies – even Christian women – so what message are they finding so attractive?
Here’s what the popularity of these movies tells me about what young unmarried Western women believe. (This is the mean part)
Moral obligations are bad
Young, unmarried Western women oppose the idea that their will to be happy can be constrained by moral obligations, especially obligations to their husband and children. They want relationships to be all about fulfilling their emotional needs, which often includes their need for a career so they can be just like men. They want to be able to enter relationships like marriage and parenting when it pleases them, and then to walk away from those relationships when it doesn’t please them. They also want to avoid being judged morally when they act selfishly and destructively. And they believe that any financial difficulties they suffer that result from acting selfishly can be solved with bigger subsidies from the government – like single-payer health care (abortions, IVF, etc.), single-payer education, single-payer day care, etc. And when they act selfishly and impose these social costs on others, they want to be celebrated for it, perhaps even using the force of law in order to censor and coerce dissenters into celebrating their selfishness.
Knowledge and planning are bad
Young, unmarried Western women don’t invest much time and effort into learning the requirements of marriage and parenting. They don’t research the difficulties that men and children will face (e.g. – taxes, public schools), and they don’t research the needs of men and children. For example, they won’t study no-fault divorce, school choice, state-run day care, tax rates, etc., and they won’t make plans to help their husbands with any of these challenges, because it doesn’t make them happy to solve problems for other people. If they read anything then it will be probably be something that blames men for being “controlling” or blames children for not being “resilient”. They aren’t going to be supportive of men as protectors, providers, and moral leaders, either, because they resent the traditional role of men. They are especially resentful of being supported, of being corrected on facts, and of being judged by men on moral grounds. Any authority that constrains their freedom to pursue happiness at any moment will be harshly criticized.
An amusing, entertaining man is the best man
If you read down a typical young, unmarried Western woman’s list of desirable attributes in a man, you’ll find that what they are looking for is amusement and entertainment – things that are not the main focus in a serious Christian marriage founded on self-sacrificial love and service to God. They really haven’t thought out what marriage is about, so they don’t know what men do in a marriage – they think that the best mate is the one who makes them feel happy. They especially avoid virtuous men, because those are harder to blame if they get caught being selfish. Women who watch these movies want Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Right. And that is why they are now thinking that men are not necessary for raising children – they’ve learned that “all” men are unreliable because all the men they freely chose using their hedonistic criteria didn’t pan out as husbands and fathers. This is what’s behind the impulse to replace men with sperm donors, welfare checks and social programs. “You can’t trust a man” these women say – and of course, they’re right. You can’t trust a man who is selected based on his ability to be amusing, entertaining, unchaste, passionate, exciting and amoral. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – they get the bad men they set out to find, and the bad men abandon/abuse them. And then they blame the bad man that they freely chose for being bad!
Marriage-minded men are not willing to suppress their God-given inclinations to be protectors, providers and moral leaders, just to be approved by selfish women. And so women reject those marriage-minded men, and instead prefer to pursue dramatic, passionate hook-ups and temporary cohabitations with immature alpha males and pick-up artists. And that’s why 70% of divorces are initiated by women for “unhappiness” and 50% of all marriages end in divorce and 40% of children are born out-of-wedlock and 77% of young unmarried women voted for bigger government and more welfare in 2008. Not to mention abortion, which is supported by most (77%) young, unmarried Western women because they vote for Democrats, a party that supports abortion to the point where they want it to be funded by pro-life taxpayers.
What about Christian women – are they any better?
(This is the nice part) Well, the ideal for Christian woman is to not be like this at all, although some are like this. Now initially, I wrote this section as a mean rant against fake Christian women, but Mary urged me to re-write it to express what Christian women ought to do to avoid all the mistakes I had before. So I hope this is better, because all my male friends liked the first angry version better.
OK, so, Christian women are supposed to be Christian, and that means that they even have to love in Christian ways. So, instead of looking at men as a source of happiness, Christian women should think about how to love men SELF-SACRIFICIALLY. In other words, they should spend more time trying to find out what wounds a man has that are stopping him for contributing more to the Lord and heal those. Then she can turn to helping him with his work, his investing, and other major projects. And she should be rigorous about interviewing him, reading books about men and marriage, and then having a plan to invest in him as a person to make him the most effective Christian he can be. That is how a woman scores with a man, by loving him well and helping him to be a better Christian. Part of that will come back to her as he becomes a better husband and father.
Christian women also make it easier for a man to concentrate on the morals and skills that will help him in the marriage. For example, she encourages him to choose a field that will allow him to earn a living or make a difference. Good fields are fields like engineering, and engineering and engineering. That way, he can build up a nice-sized portfolio so that he is ready to shine in his traditional Biblical role as provider. She should encourage him to lift weights, fire guns and learn self-defense, and she should vote for laws that favor parental rights, school choice and firearm ownership – so that he can be a protector. And she should regularly submit herself to moral criticism so that she encourages him to hold her accountable for her selfishness to prepare him for his role as moral leader of the home. That all starts in courtship, and it takes planning to be effective. It’s not about having a good time, and having passionate experiences – it’s about intentionally and intelligently building something together. Serving together.
Not only is the woman supposed to be effective at molding a man into his role by taking an active interest in his work, strength and character, but she has to give him the opportunity to exercise and practice those skills. She should let him provide gifts to her, and defend her from skeptics and atheists. She should take his advice and learn from him about how to defend her faith. She should read books he hasn’t read so that she can solve problems for him, like problems of how to buy a home, how to rollover a 401K, and how to apply for a Ph.D. And finally, she should also encourage him in Christian virtues like chastity, chivalry and sobriety. She should be the first and best person that he can rely on to honor him for his dedication to Christian morality. She should NEVER EVER make him feel bad about being a virgin, being self-controlled and stoic, being a prude, etc. In the whole world there is no one who encourages a Christian man to be virtuous -it’s the woman’s job to stand by that man. She should also read about things like no-fault divorce, oxytocin, gender identity disorder, etc. and encourage her man to be strong in his moral convictions – even if that leaves her with no one to blame but herself when she’s selfish. She’ll just have to realize that the love of a good man is more important than being able to deflect guilt and responsibility by blaming men.
A Christian woman should not think of a man as an accessory for creating feelings of happiness in her. We’re beyond that now. There’s a war on, and every man who takes his faith seriously is busy trying to serve the Lord effectively. For myself, I am focused on charity, writing and doing apologetics with non-Christians. Things like these should be more interesting than fun for a Christian woman – in fact they should be the ONLY things on her list of criteria of what makes a good match. She should put her desire for happiness behind her and love a good man self-sacrificially as a way of serving God by making her chosen man more effective at serving God. And that is why it is so important to screen a man about his faith, and especially about how that faith works out practically, before marrying him. A Christian woman loves a man before the face of God – she is trying to honor Christ in the way she chooses a man, and in the way she loves him. Her satisfaction about his appearance and his conformity to a secular alpha-male ideal should be the LEAST of her concerns. (In any case, many of those trivial things are easy to change)
Oh, and if you’re looking for movies where you can learn something about what really happens to selfish women, watch “Madame Bovary” (1949) and “Anna Karenina” (1948). If you want something newer, I like “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Ordinary People”. I also heard good things about “Mommie Dearest”, but have not seen it.
By the way, if you want to go see a movie that’s out now, go see “The Expendables” instead. (Here’s a good review) I also thought that the new Rambo was good.
Here’s my full list of good movies.
- Rules of Engagement (Samuel L. Jackson)
- Henry V (Kenneth Brannagh)
- The Lives of Others
- United 93
- Taken (Liam Neeson)
- Cinderella Man
- The Blind Side
- Cyrano de Bergerac (Gerard Depardieu)
- Amazing Grace (Ioan Gruffudd)
- We Were Soldiers
- Stand and Deliver
- Blackhawk Down
- The Pursuit of Happyness
- High Noon
These are good movies for courting – to teach women what men are like, and how they ought to treat men.