Ryan: So last month this guy called Roosh V, who’s founded this “neo-masculinity movement” called the Return of Kings, had his UK tour cancelled because of protestors. Now this guy reckons that women really want to be subjected and every woman is secretly after a “bad boy” and they don’t really want to be empowered. He’s got a lot of male followers, he’s got a lot of traction online – and it’s a bit of kick-back against feminism, frankly. As a man, what do you think about all of this? Are you threatened by feminism?
Chris: Ok first, there’s something I’d really love to ask this guy, which is: “Why do you need to pick up all these people?” What’s lacking within you that’s being fed by this idea that you can make other people do what you want them to do? What if he was on his own for a year? Would he still like himself? What would be left? He’s getting his affirmation from all this – maybe not even just from the women he “pulls”, but from the guys who think he’s a “legend”. Either way, it’s ridiculous. There’s no honour in it, there’s no love. It’s really selfish and abhorrent.
No, obviously not all women want to be controlled or manipulated. He’s travelled the world, and he’s gone to every culture, looking for vulnerable women really. The human heart is the same everywhere in the world; we all want connection and love. And in every culture, he’ll find people who are desperately looking for that connection and he’s preyed on the vulnerable ones who should be protected not hunted.
Ryan: These guys always gravitate around the same lie, which is: bad guys finish first, good guys finish last. For me, that sounds like it comes from fear. They were probably all guys who finished last at one point, and so they decided they were never going to be in that position again. They were going to play the game, and they certainly aren’t going to empower women in the process. So they’re always coming from that place of fear. Nice guys don’t always finish last.
Chris: No, boring guys finish last! My advice would be, get a bit more interesting! You don’t need to be mean. You can be funny and nice.
Ryan: And ok, nice is a really lukewarm term – maybe ‘nice’ does finish last, if nice means boring. Attractive qualities in people are things like confidence and vulnerability. People that stand for something, people who are brave and interesting. A lot of these guys who follow this tack are struggling to be real and to be powerful, so they’re opting to play games. Are they really getting their needs met? Probably not.
Chris: I agree that one of the most attractive qualities in a person is confidence. Passion is attractive, whether it’s a passion for singing or dinosaurs. My wife is a contemporary dancer, and I don’t really get it. But seeing someone come alive in what they’re doing, and be confident in that because they love it so much that they don’t care about what other people think – that’s a powerful and attractive thing. Be passionate about your stuff and that is what attracts people, in my opinion.
Ryan: I think sometimes men worry that honouring women will diminish our power. But that’s the way that powerless people think. Powerless people feel like when other people’s lights shine, theirs dim. Powerful people want to see other people go further than they ever did.
Chris: Ok, so what about the Bible and women – what about where it says that women shouldn’t speak in church? How does that fit in?
Ryan: Well, there are scriptural examples of times where women led, despite the fact that the culture frowned upon women in leadership generally. There’s discussions in some theological circles that Paul is using humour in the particular instances that people often quote about women not speaking. My question in all of this would be: did God really design women to be subjected?
Chris: When you read scripture, you see what you want to see, half the time. So, when people read the Bible, do they want to see equality or not? That’s the question. Paul talks about how there is no slave or free, no men or women, in Christ. The way that God designed it is the way He wanted it. Then we had the fall, and we’re slowly getting back to the way He wanted us to be. It’s like the progress of redemption. Equality is part of that progress. People use the ‘figurehead’ example of God being the head of Christ, who’s the head of man, who’s the head of the woman, but what did God do to Christ? He raised Him from the dead, to reign and rule at His side. And then Christ raised us up to be co-heirs, to reign and rule equally at His side. So if you are a man, if we have any power over women, it’s to say: “You are equal, and you can reign and rule equally.”
Ryan: One of the biggest temptations we face in life is going all-out to prove ourselves, instead of believing we’re intrinsically powerful. When we do that, we’re not acting out of our true selves, we’re acting out of a need to prove ourselves.
It’s interesting, because sometimes as man, I’m just going to be honest here, I feel as if some elements of feminism, in trying to redress the wrongs of such a long period of misogyny and inequality, are reacting just to try to prove a point – some people aren’t going to like this, sorry! – I think that women are obviously right to redress the wrongs of the past, but when anyone reacts strongly to error, they end up creating more error.
Feminism is obviously a really positive thing, where women are taking their rightful places of equal power, but anything that comes from a place where it’s just about trying to prove a point, I don’t know how I feel about that – in anyone, man or woman.
Chris: Yeah, I don’t think that’s a gender issue. If you’re someone who’s been beaten down by society or life, there’s a temptation to go into that “I’ll show you” attitude. So it’s something that both men and women can be tempted to do. People who have been celebrated throughout their lives, and honoured, don’t in general carry such a need to prove a point.
Ryan: I love the story of Mike Frank. He was a multimillionaire, HR lead for Disney, and lots of American franchises. He met an American football coach, who was a Christian, and Mike asked this coach what he was going to do now that he was retiring. And the coach said that he felt like God had told him to honour the dreams of his wife. And as Mike Frank heard those words, he felt like that was what God wanted for him as well. And here’s the thing: Mike was at the top of his game career-wise, while his wife wanted to move back to the backwoods of Nebraska and raise their children and spend time with her aging parents, to help them see out the rest of their lives with their family around them. That was the last thing Mike wanted to do. But he did it. He moved the family back to Nebraska, left his ambitions behind, and interestingly, not long after that, he ended up striking a deal with a communications company, which became the backbone of the internet in the US. He sold it for BILLIONS of dollars.
Chris: But within that story, it was a struggle for him to give up his desires for his wife’s. And he was worried that he’d end up depressed if he sacrificed his stuff for hers. It wasn’t an easy journey at all. I love that story. I love that he was willing to do that, to give it all up because his wife wanted to do something different. There are boundaries obviously – you can’t do that all the time – but I think that principle of wanting to see my wife’s calling and dreams fulfilled is something that I take from that. We have conversations, my wife and I, regular check-ins about how she’s doing: is she doing what she wants to do and if not, why not? And she does the same with me. It’s not seeing her dreams and ambitions as a threat to my own. God is bigger than all of this and He can weave the two together, so we can both get to where we need to get to without competing. That for me is the goal, that’s equality.
What do you think about what Chris and Ryan have said? Have your say below…