Equals, Not Enemies: How Men and Women Complement One Another

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It has occurred to me that there is a hostility between men and women these days.  In one corner, you have self-proclaimed feminists who reject their body’s ability to carry life and view men as either cheating oppressors or dimwitted and lazy.
In another corner, an underground generation of disgruntled men who loathe the advancements of women in modern society and believe that women should be submissive sex objects (I’m looking at you, Return of Kings) has formed.
Both of these mindsets show that our seemingly “progressive” society has not advanced in teaching boys and girls how to relate to one another.

As a millennial woman, I feel the need to say that men should not dominate over women and women should not dominate over men. Neither of the sexes should compete for superiority over one another.  Both men and women are human beings deserving of dignity and equality. Masculinity and femininity are beautiful and are unique in their own way.  Both genders have different roles to play.  No, I’m not talking about stock gender roles imposed by society.  Actually, by “different roles,” I’m talking about something much deeper and beyond the surface.
In the words of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, “A man may stand for the justice of God, but a woman stands for His Mercy.” Now this quote does not mean that “men are strong and women are weak.” Quite the contrary, my friends.  Let’s take a look.

Interpreting the first part of the quote, “A man may stand for the justice of God,” we see that men do have a natural inclination to protect. It’s just something that lies within the heart of men. Ask any man who is a husband, boyfriend, father, brother or uncle. Their first instinct is to protect the important women of their lives (wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, nieces, etc.)  Saint Pope John Paul II once said, “It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman.” Now there are men in our world who commit horrendous acts against women, there’s no denying that. However acting against your true nature does not make the natural inclination disappear. The exception does not change or invalidate the rule. Men are called to uphold and protect the human dignity of women and when a man objectifies a woman, he is acting against justice and violating his true nature.

Interpreting the second part of the quote, “but a woman stands for His mercy,” we must first address that mercy does not mean weakness or subservience. Mercy is compassion and tenderness. Ever wonder why many women (not all women, but a good number of women) are more likely to show leniency towards someone who makes a dumb mistake than men are?  It’s because there’s something within the feminine heart that leans towards mercy. With mercy comes nurturing and we should note that it is not sexist to say that within the heart of every woman is the inclination to nurture. Again, nurturing is not a suggestion of weakness. In fact, one of the definitions of nurture is “to feed and protect” (You can check it out here if you are so inclined http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nurture). Within the nurturing inclination is to protect, so women are also called to protect the people of their lives, which includes the men.  Just as men are tasked with defending the dignity of women, women are also tasked to uphold the dignity of men.

The men and women of today need to rise above this “us vs. them” mentality. Both of the sexes must build one another up instead of tearing each other down.  Men and women are called to affirm and uphold one another.  When men and women work together for the sake of human dignity, this is how peace will be achieved.

Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica, pray for us.

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