Why Do We Need Men?

So there’s news flitting about that women are increasingly the leading or sole breadwinners in the American family.  In most cases, this means more and more families are being raised by a single mom with an absent father, or the reason mom is the breadwinner is because dad can’t find work. 

It isn’t because a couple sat down together and reviewed their financial and family plan to assess what the best scenario might look like for their family.  That is what we did back in 2007; we looked at my job prospects and our growing family, our move to a new city, and we said, let’s see if this can work.  It did, with bumps and bruises, just like every new adjustment.  We know other couples who have made similar decisions and have made it work, and made it work well.

That isn’t what we’re talking about here, though.  Not many are celebrating this shift as a strong, positive, changing tide in family dynamics.  Kathleen Parker in her Washington Post article “The new f-word: Father,” Fox News anchors (all flabbergasted males), and the MSNBC “Morning Joe” edition (almost all successful females stumbling about for a good answer to the “why men?” question) all discuss this trend toward women as sole or primary breadwinner, and none of them think it’s a good thing.
The study spawns one of the strangest questions I can think of to be taken seriously by the general public, “Why do we need men?”

If a woman can earn a degree, work hard, carry a child, mow the lawn, take out the trash, prepare meals, and change a diaper all on her own, why bother with a man, who simply complicates life with his dirty clothes, smells up the place with his burping and farting, and adds another person to worry over and provide for?  Obviously all men are good for is sperm.  After impregnation, we can take it from there.

Why do we need men?  Why are we asking this question?  Why do we need women, when we can grow babies in test-tubes?  The necessity of an entire gender of a species is obvious.  What we’re really asking is, “Where are the good men?”
Good men, whether stay-at-home fathers or sole breadwinners, love and support their wives, whether they stay-at-home or go-to-work or some combination of those tasks.  Good men teach boys how to be men.  Good men show girls what a good man looks like.  A good man leads when a good woman doesn’t know what to do or where to go; a good man communicates with his spouse when he doesn’t know what to do or where to go.  Good men (and women) lift up when the other falls down. 

We need good men for the great pleasure of building a family and a life with another person.  We need good men because men are at their core different from women, and women are at their core different from men, and these differences (whether traditional or non-traditional in their manifestations) provide balance, beauty, and character refinement.

Society is shouting, “We need good men!”

How do you make good men?  You raise good men. And if there isn’t a good man in your life to help you do that, you find other good men to stand in that role as best as they can.  Good men must help other men to make men out of their men so that they can raise up good men, too.  We cannot complain about there being no good men out there if good men don’t step in to make men good.

Stop asking “Why do we need men?” – that is not the question.  It should never be the question.  Substitute in any demographic and the question sounds preposterous, derogatory, and dangerous.  That question, when extended to its scariest places, devalues an entire population of our society. 

We need each and every kind of person to strive to be the best versions of themselves.  Let’s stop asking dumb questions and start making good answers.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: