It is possible to convince women to back away from feminist rebellion, but like any other skill, convincing women is something that needs to be learned, practiced, and developed through patient endurance. Granted, women aren’t machines you learn how to use, and you’re never truly going to understand them. Nevertheless, they are people you get to know and learn how to behave around, so skill and learning remain relevant categories.
The “trick” (if you want to call it that) is that you have to continuously observe what works, what doesn’t, and adjust your behavior accordingly. What you mustn’t do is get so caught up in how it “should” work (or, God forbid, how women tell you it works) that you ossify yourself in the conviction that they’re just impossible to deal with. You can’t proceed under the assumption that being corrected the same way a man is needs to be is a prerequisite for women to change course.
Most women aren’t going to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and radically alter their behavior contrary to everything they’ve been taught based on an abstract argument—even an obvious one clearly rooted in God’s Word. I’m not saying we should stop proclaiming those parts of God’s Word as something which needs to be obeyed. We absolutely need to do that more and more. I’m just saying that men can’t expect doing so to be all it takes for a woman to change herself. And as you learn that, you really have to scale your expectations closer to reality.
And that’s actually my other takeaway from the kayak situation: The commenter was asking me for a way to get women to admit when they’re wrong. The truth is that my wife never did admit that she was wrong—she just stopped trying to steer. That common female refusal to admit fault is something I’d wager a lot of men struggle with. We find it infuriating because we naturally perceive it as stubborn, sinful defiance (and though I do think there’s more to it than that, I don’t think we’re entirely wrong in that assessment.) Nevertheless, while an admission of error would have been gratifying and greased the wheels of loving kindness, the reality is that we didn’t actually need it. Stopping the errant behavior was all we really needed to have a good trip, and we’re both glad we went kayaking.
So it is with feminist rebellion. Men don’t really need wives who openly reject feminism with all the fervor of the red-pilled (as wonderful and helpful as such women are.) Mostly, we just need wives who will ultimately act more and more inconsistently with feminism. Sometimes, men become so dead-set on the former, that we never really try that hard to induce the latter. In other words, we let the perfect become the enemy of the good.
It would be great if you could find a wife who calls you “Lord” as Sarah called Abraham. While every last woman will answer to God for her response to the most hated parts of his Word, expecting most of them to wholeheartedly embrace it is simply not a realistic goal for men of our era. But then, we don’t really need women to explicitly admit they’re wrong, act reasonably during arguments, cheerlead us, stay physically fit, openly acknowledge their husbands’ authority to our faces, share our passion for abstract theology or apologetics, support our political stances, eagerly try new sex acts, and so forth. Those may be great things, but they’re not in the cards for most ordinary men. You might eventually be able to swing having a couple of those things in a wife, but if you truly insist on a bunch of them from the get-go, going your own way is indeed the only option you’ll have left.
But if you are called to marriage rather than celibacy—as most of us are—then you are called to find a more realistic option that still includes what men actually need. We do need women to want to marry and have kids, spend time raising them, stop blowing up their marriages through divorce, repent of fornication, and so forth. I wouldn’t marry a woman who wasn’t convinced on things like that. That may or may not be sufficient for marital bliss, but if men can manage that, then we’ll have a future in which more can be built.
Yes, “she respects the 6th commandment” is a relatively low bar, and it’s not dream girl territory, but it is attainable. Particularly if men work more collectively in society and back one another up. Even when women aren’t learning by reason and argument, they’re still learning from proximity to the social attitudes & authorities of the contentedly unapologetic men in their lives (not the whiny ones.). Maybe you can’t convince a woman on all of those points and will need to move on—you may do that a lot. But if you’ve convinced a woman on even one essential point (and let her know the others are non-negotiable by walking away), then you’ve at least made headway for someone else. And the more women we can convince on any of those points, the more marriageable women there will be in the long run. We can do that from either inside or outside romantic relationships—as long as we don’t insist on reason & moral obligation being the only allowable ways of changing women’s behavior.
Civilization isn’t built in a day, and every incremental step towards the end of the rebellion is a step in the right direction. What’s more, each step provides a little bit of inertia that makes the next step easier. And let’s face it: There’s been just as big of a loss of marital know-how among women as there’s been among men—they need time to learn too. The catch is that ordinary men today probably aren’t going to get many of the things they want out of wedlock. And yes, it inevitably involves a not-insignificant risk of divorce, being trapped in a sexless marriage, etc. But those are risks that can be managed to varying degrees, and civilization is never built without taking risks.
Ours is merely to figure out how. And that’s not going to happen by disengaging from society and/or by having unattainable expectations. Neither will it happen if we succumb to despair or, God-forbid, if we continue to make ourselves ugly by submitting to women. We’re only going to learn by trying, failing, learning, trying again, and passing on what we’ve learned to others—hopefully our sons. We need to persevere knowing that we ourselves probably won’t live happily ever after in all the ways we’d like to, but that our children or grandchildren might. The long and short of it is that dealing with feminist rebellion will require what civilization has always required: planting trees in whose shade you’ll never live to sit.
And you know what? We really can learn to do it.
While this is the last post in the series, it’s still to be continued… by you. How are you going to nudge the young women in your church towards the pursuit of marriage? How are you going to convince your wife or girlfriend that staying home with the kids is affordable or that she could be a brilliant homeschool teacher? How are you going to backup the men in your life during their own troubles? How are you going to make yourself appealing to marriageable women? How are you going to create sensible gender roles in your corner of society? How are you going to create the kind of circumstances in which the women in your life will favorably respond to reasonable arguments? How are you going to recreate male-only spaces in society in which men can learn from and reinforce one-another on a new path? There’s an enormous mess to clean up, and there’s nothing for it but to pick a little spot and get started.