I was recently re-reading an article by John Piper, Co-ed Combat and Cultural Cowardice, in which he is highly critical of sending women into combat. He writes,
“If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp. He should be ashamed. For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. Part of the meaning of manhood as God created us is the sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of our women.”
What I couldn’t help thinking was that Disney’s Mulan probably isn’t on Piper’s top 10 favorite movies list. You know, the woman-becomes-man-to-fight-in-Chinese-army, feel good film with an Eddie Murphy voiced dragon sidekick. The theme song, ironically, is “I’ll make a man out of you.” And in the end Mulan ends up doing it better than the men could, que familial acceptance and warm fuzzies and Disney’s self-congratulation over furthering the “pro-woman” agenda.
Certainly not a film (or ideology) I would celebrate with my boys. Why? Because it goes against the fabric of their very nature as men created by God to function in the world. God created man first to demonstrate his responsibility to provide for, protect, and nurture the woman, and it’s the man God holds to account for their sin in the garden (Gen 3:9). It is this same pattern that Paul rejoices in (Eph 5:29).
Instead, what needs to be celebrated and portrayed, especially with boys, is self-sacrificial protection of women—that’s the truly “pro-woman” stance. If you see a woman in danger, you put yourself between her and the bullets. So even in our play we’re protecting mommy from bloodthirsty lions (a.k.a. our lazy dog who’s asleep on the couch). When spiders or bugs invade our home, we’re crushing them for mommy to protect her. That’s what it means to be a man. You protect. You fight for her. You pull out your sword when she’s in danger and you lay down your life her.