I had seen the meme before—”I know good men still exist because I married one”—but it had gone away when I saw it reemerge after a national conversation began about what is and isn’t normal “locker-room talk.” When it reemerged, it suddenly really bothered me, because it seemed to suggest that most men aren’t good men.
The day before we attended the BYU Spectacular, Peter Hollens filmed part of a dress rehearsal at the Marriott Center for his Facebook fans. He turned the camera to the woman who was leading the rehearsal, and when she realized she was on camera, she said, “I don’t want to be on there!” and ran out of the shot. He replied, “Why not, you look beautiful!” But he didn’t push it or put the camera back on her. Instead he filmed some people who wanted to be on camera.
I thought, This is a good man who knows something about consent. And I choose, right here and now, to believe that most men are good men, and that the person who caused the national discussion is in the minority.
A few days later I saw an 18-year-old boy make a comment on a Facebook post that about made my eyes bug out: “The media has taught us men to act feminine, and have taught the woman to be the man in the relationship.” Seriously, in 2016, is this the mentality that we’re fighting against? It’s obvious from the rest of this boy’s post that he is a Christian. Would he call Jesus feminine? Does having integrity, treating people kindly, appreciating a woman’s strength and mutually supporting her growth amount to a lack of masculinity? If so, a “real man” is not someone I want anything to do with.
What can be done? One attitude I hear a lot—about sexism, racism, and similar—is that as an older generation dies off, it will be replaced by a kinder, more enlightened generation. But as a colleague recently expressed, parents and other influential elders teach the children. And I would like to believe—I must believe—that people can change and be the best they are today. The only cure for ignorance is education, and the more people fight, the more likely they are to win battles, and maybe eventually a war. I’m still trying to figure out my role, but maybe this blog post is a start.