Emma Watson—the Harry Potter girl, as she referred to herself—did a masterful job recently of launching a new campaign for gender equality at the U.N. headquarters in New York. The HeForShe campaign asks men to make a commitment to “take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.”
That is a fantastic commitment to make! In less than a week, more than 130,000 men have made the online pledge to take action. There are certainly many practical ways to fulfill that commitment. Here are my top suggestions on how to be HeForShe: Reject porn. Support life. Keep your marriage vows.
I am cheering for men who will take action against pornography, which demeans women and girls, promotes violence against them, and is life-shredding to everyone involved. I am cheering for men who will take action against abortion, which traumatizes women and kills unborn girls. I am cheering for men who will take action against divorce, which devastates the lives of women and girls.
A central theme in Emma’s speech was feminism. If feminism simply means recognizing the high value of all women, then feminism is a benefit to marriage. But if feminism means refusing to recognize God’s unique design of men and His distinctive gifting of women, then feminism is a bane to marriage. If feminism fails to champion the God-derived masculinity of husbands or refuses to celebrate the God-derived femininity of wives, then feminism degrades marriage, men, and women.
Come to think of it, … didn’t God launch the original HeForShe campaign? In Ephesians, God directed husbands to lay down their lives for their brides. In 1 Peter, God warned husbands that their prayers would be hindered if they dishonored their wives. Although Emma Watson asked men to take up the mantle in fighting for equality for women and girls, God has already instructed husbands to take up the responsibility for the well-being of their wives and daughters.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Marriage is not a place to ‘stand up for your rights.’ Marriage is a decision to serve the other” (1 Corinthians 7:4, MSG). A guiding principle for Biblical marriage is mutual submission. A husband submits to his wife’s needs for affection and cherishing. He is for her, not against her. A wife submits to her husband’s needs for respect and support. She is for him, not against him.
Paul could have called it, “HeForShe and SheForHe: God’s Campaign for Marriage.” I am for it!
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