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There Shouldn’t be a “Battle of the Sexes”

1 John 4:20 says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

All Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to love one another if we truly love God. And yet, all too often, the secular sphere deems it appropriate to pit men and women against one another as if the gain or loss of one sex must be to the detriment or benefit of another.

Unfortunately, unlike the Christian worldview, this winner-take-all viewpoint seems to be the one dominating our conversations.

For example, many have touted how women are winning the so-called “battle” of the sexes as men continue to backslide academically and female enrollment in college soars.[1] While some feminists have glorified this trend, they do so by denigrating the human problems this backsliding will cause for the men in our society.

While this is an issue of its own, on the flip side is the problem we see in Hollywood. At the same time as women in the real world are taking on greater and greater academic leadership roles, female-led franchises (Wonder Woman being a notable exception) keep bombing at the box office.

In the latest chapter of this saga, reporters everywhere have reflexively come to the defense of Disney’s “Ms. Marvel” which features a character who is touted as the first female, Muslim, and South Asian hero in the Marvel franchise. Reporters have excused the series’poor performance on Disney+ by claiming that the show has been “review-bombed”and targeted for poor reviews by sexist and racist xenophobes. [2]

To suggest that the reviews are the result of a poorly written character without any relatable human flaws would be blasphemy.

Unfortunately, it is not just Ms. Marvel, it’s also the similarly named “Captain Marvel,”played by Brie Larson in the Marvel franchise, who has failed to win the hearts and minds of the public.

Not only was Captain Marvel described by one female YouTube reviewer as “annoying,” the actress who portrays her came off as unlikeable in interviews because she constantly touted the overpowered character’s lack of weaknesses. [3]

The problem is that writers in Hollywood do not seem able to write a female character that is positive without portraying her as if she were an (unlikeable) man. To dislike Captain Marvel or Ms. Marvel is not to dislike women, it is to recognize that there is a fundamental problem in the way they are being portrayed.

This is not about people being sexist, this is about people rejecting female characters that ironically fit the definition of “toxic masculinity.”In other words, these characters are known for exhibiting “stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance…that is socially maladaptive.”[4]

As Christians, this brings us back to the point raised by 1 John: we cannot love God without loving those around us, even members of the opposite sex. The all or nothing approach to relations between the sexes can create division and sow the seeds of unnecessary conflict.

Christians need to push back on the narrative that men and women are locked in a war that needs to be “won.”Whether that war is in academia or entertainment media.

As a Christian in society, we must be willing to recognize the unique challenges being faced by men and women throughout our community without scapegoating the opposite sex for those problems.

As 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”Men and women must encourage and build one another up, not spend their days fighting proxy wars by pretending human dignity is a toy that is being yanked back and forth between the sexes.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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