The Warning from South Korean Women to the Conservative Evangelical Church

by | Aug 30, 2023 | Marriage | 68 comments

The warning from South Korean Women to Conservative Evangelicals
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South Korean women are reacting against sexism.

Last week on the podcast, we highlighted how the culture in South Korea has been changing as women are being empowered in larger society. No longer are South Korean women left to rely on marriage and men to ensure they are being cared for. They’re able to have careers, support themselves, and save up money to live the lives that they want to live.

But while larger society has evolved to empower women (though South Korea lags behind most developed nations on markers of the status of women), much of the culture for marriage and family expectations has not. Women are still expected to defer to their husbands, keep the home, and keep up with the emotional labour of being a wife and a mother.

But young South Korean women are tired of it, and they are pushing back by challenging the societal traditions of their country.

They’ve had a huge #MeToo movement–the biggest in Asia. But what’s really key, and why this is in the news so much, is that the birth rate in South Korea has dropped through the floor.

Passion 4 Dancing

Lots of South Korean women have adopted new guidelines to live by to ensure they can live happy and thriving lives. These four guidelines, also known as the four Bs in Korean, are:

  • No to dating
  • No to sex with men
  • No to childbirth
  • No to marriage

Which makes total sense! If a woman does not have an equal partner in her husband and she knows she can have a better quality of life as a single woman without children, why wouldn’t she opt for that path?

As Hawon Jung explained in The New York Times:

President Yoon Suk-yeol, elected last year, has suggested feminism is to blame for blocking “healthy relationships” between men and women. But he’s got it backward—gender equality is the solution to falling birth rates. Many of the Korean women shunning dating, marriage, and childbirth are sick of pervasive sexism and furious about a culture of violent chauvinism. Their refusal to be “baby-making machines, according to the protest banners I’ve seen, is retaliation. ‘The birth strike is women’s revenge on a society that puts impossible burdens on us and doesn’t respect us,’ says Jiny Kim, 30, a Seoul office worker who’s intent on remaining childless.

Hawon Jung

Women in South Korea Are on Strike Against Being ‘Baby-Making Machines’, The New York Times

As gender based violence, along with incel culture and revenge porn, has become common in South Korean culture, women are refusing to allow themselves to be put in harmful situations. Women are just saying, “forget it. I don’t want to be part of this.”

Many young Korean men, however, have declared themselves victims of women’s activism. President Yoon rose to power last year by leveraging this resentment. He echoed the dog whistle of men’s rights advocates, declaring that structural sexism doesn’t exist in South Korea and vowing tougher punishment for false reports of sexual assault.

Hawon Jung

Women in South Korea Are on Strike Against Being ‘Baby-Making Machines’, The New York Times

After finding an article about this in The Atlantic last year, I’ve been devouring articles about South Korean women, and just finished Hawon Jung’s amazing book Flowers of Fire. I couldn’t help but notice the close similarities between South Korean culture and conservative evangelical culture. So let me list the things that are going on in Korea and you can see if this sounds familiar to you with our evangelical culture:

What South Korea and Conservative Evangelical Culture Have in Common

  • Women have economic opportunities, but men in the culture still expect women to do all the housework and childcare
  • Women are expected to defer to men and to wait on them
  • Gender-based violence is common, that violence is minimized, women’s reports of violence are not believed, and there’s often retaliation when women make a report
  • There’s a huge online culture of men in their cultural group deriding feminism saying, “Feminism is the cause of all the evils in the world”
  • Men are deriding women for not being feminine enough and for expecting equality
  • Leaders start saying there is no structural sexism—we’re all equal. Different rules and roles but we’re still equal.
  • Feminism is seen as the problem, and they’re getting rid of any talk of sexism existing.
  • At the same time, there’s a huge financial crunch where it’s really hard to afford housing.

And what happens?

Well, in South Korea, the women just stopped.

They stopped dating, and they created a great sisterhood instead.

All of those things listed above are definitely true in both South Korean and evangelical culture. But there is a big difference between the evangelical community and South Korea:

In the west, conservative evangelical women have a choice.

(And some South Korean women will as well because not all South Korean men are sexist, obviously! It’s just that there’s a very large component that is).

Evangelical women can leave the evangelical subculture, go into the regular world, or go into other types of evangelical or mainline churches and find healthier options for culture and for marriage. In South Korea, because many (though not all) South Korean men buy into these notions, and the workplace is heavily stacked against working mothers, the only choice many women have is to simply opt out of cultural expectations and choose to remain single.

So what will happen in North America among conservative evangelicals?

The cultural shift does not have to be a threat to Christian values. After all, not all evangelical churches advocate for toxic masculinity or patriarchal beliefs!

In the past women have had very few opportunities, and they had to get married to the best guy available. But now it’s, “get married if you meet the best guy.” That is a fundamentally different choice.

Men can now be held to the same standard that women are being held to. And that’s something that, as Christians, I actually think we should be embracing because anything that asks us to actually step up to the plate and to develop and improve and grow– that should be something that we’re okay with.

It is better for society if both men and women are active parents, if both men and women are able to keep a house, if both men and women are both able to do emotional kin keeping and build really strong communities and friendships. TAnd yet, it’s being seen as this attack on Christian values. But we should ask ourselves, “at what point are Christian values just not Christian anymore?”

Men are not entitled to an easier life than women just because they are men.

Men are not entitled to women’s bodies, to women’s work–though that’s what the incel community teaches. And quite frankly, that’s what a lot of the conservative evangelical community has been teaching.

What I’m seeing in my comments and emails everyday is that many women who grew up in conservative evangelicalism are opting out. They’re refusing to date men in their church, and they’re switching churches and denominations to find someone to marry.

When women realize they have better choices, they tend to take them.

Our culture is offering women better choices. Mainline churches are offering women better choices. Egalitarian evangelical churches are offering women better choices.

Women are starting to notice.

Here’s my prediction: Conservative evangelical churches will push even harder to isolate young people from the world so that women don’t see they have choices. They’ll push homeschooling, Christian schools, and Bible colleges. They’ll discourage consuming media. They’ll discourage working in secular spaces. They’ll attempt to isolate, isolate, isolate and create their own bubble.

In doing so, they’ll become even more fundamentalist.

And ultimately it won’t work. Women are already beginning to flee.

It will be very interesting to see what the next decade brings.

South Korean Women Opting Out warning to Conservative Evangelical Church

What do you think? Are you seeing a trend of younger women opting out of conservative evangelical spaces–or opting out of dating from this pool of men? What are your predictions? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Codec

    Interesting post.

    I have been thinking about men and women’s issues recently and a couple of questions keep occurring to me.

    One such question is why are young men drawn to people like Andrew Tate and Pick up artist? On thinking about it I have some possible answers

    1. They are men talking to men. For all of their problems for which they have many documented problems including actual crimes they actively seek out to talk to men and they want them to feel excitement in being masculine.

    2. Reactions to reactions. I know you will be talking about Nacy Pearcy’s book and even now in both South Korea and the United States you can see a pattern of sorts.

    Women notice men doing bad things. Women say things like “kill all men” either ironically or to some which terrifies me unironically. Men see this kind of messaging and do not like it. Some respond by saying that the real problem is that women are the toxic ones. The cycle continues and if you step out of it you see how tragic it is.

    3. I heard a joke once that people don’t need sex education as much as they need romance education. I disagree in the sense that I learned a lot from your books on the actually anatomy but see this joke has a point and funnily enough you Mrs Sheila as well as others like John Gottman are giving people valuable information based data driven approaches to how relationships are supposed to function. I never heard of concepts like emotional load before you. I saw them acted out in healthy relationships but lots of folks may not have healthy relationships to model.

    4. Defeatist. By that I mean this. If you believe that romance is dead and that their is no way to better yourself do you think it will be easier or harder to change your position in life?

    What do you think?

    • Jim


      I agree with you that the rise of people like Andrew Tate is troubling for the outlook of young men. I have 4 sons and it is concerning to me that he and others like him are influencing this new generation. I think that this is due to how much negativity there is in Western culture directed towards men in general. What is also troubling is that Andrew Tate is promoting Islam, which is even more patriarchal from a gender equality standpoint.

      To me, the term toxic masculinity is triggering. I immediately think of multi-colored haired women online screaming ‘kill all men’ and ‘all men are pigs’ and ‘I don’t need a man’. And then they turn around and say ‘where have all the good men gone’. News flash, you scared them away because they don’t want to deal with your toxic behavior. All people can be toxic, please, for the love of God stop gendering it because people stop listening when they feel like they are being attacked for something that they have no control over. I see it all the time here to stop punishing or blaming women for what men do and I agree that each person should take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. This is what the Bible teaches us.

      We all need to stop with treating relationships as if it is a zero sum game. There have been numerous studies that have shown that younger generations are predominately meeting potential dates online thru dating apps and social media. This is not helpful since there is an average of a 3 to 1 ratio of men to women on these platforms. Meaning that women are overwhelmed with the messages that they receive and men are needing to fight tooth and nail to get any attention. We need to encourage face to face interactions in a safe environment for everyone because online dating and social media rarely reflect reality.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Did you even read the report, Jim? Revenge porn is HUGE in South Korea. Gender based violence and rape is a HUGE problem–even bigger than here. Women have legitimate reasons to be scared. I’m sorry if “toxic masculinity” makes you triggered, but how do you think women feel knowing that there are likely spy cams in all the public bathrooms? (real problem in South Korea). How do you think it makes women feel that rape is so common?

        Yes, we need to find common ground. But we don’t get there by pretending that it’s men who are the ones being hurt in a culture where women are literally victims.

        And I also want to say–this comment is Exhibit A of why so many evangelical women are leaving the church or refusing to date evangelical men.

        • Codec

          Hold up there are spy cams in bathrooms in Korea?

          So how do you propose we find common ground? I know we can. It would be really nice to see some of that.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Oh, yes. Spy cam porn is a HUGE industry in South Korea, and spy cams have been hidden everywhere–including in schools. It’s been horrible.

          • Suzanne

            Common ground for what, men raping women, spying on them in vulnerable situations, expecting them to work both outside the home and still do all the child rearing and care of the home, and care for their in-laws, and be under their husbands rule. Where do you see a common ground issue?

          • Codec

            Well that is disturbing.

          • Melinda McLaughlin

            I think we find common ground when men begin standing up against other men around this behavior. But they don’t because the men they hold accountable are not safe and socially they’ll be ostracized. So they stay in their own lane. They are kind to women, but watch appalling behavior from others. Then they get upset when women don’t feel safe with men or say “all men”. We will feel safe when the good men outnumber the bad men, when the good men hold the bad men accountable public ally and privately , and when government and systems of power hold bad men accountable too. Until then, it’s not a safe world for women.

          • John

            I agree Suzanne, as I think does Nancy, there is a need for men to adapt to the new realities of women’s freedom. The common ground I see, is in supporting men in defining a new script of masculinity and maturing into it, as Sheila is doing I think. In addition we need to do more to protect men, particularly young men, from the very damaging effects of porn. I think good Godly sex education for all, is a great way to teach equality and a new way of men and women relating. Not that sex is the only, or even main way, we relate, but that it is a good example of how we men need to change, in this case to seek mutual satisfaction and pleasure, which sometime means prioritising our wives.

          • Misty

            Codec, I have been listening to The Man Enough Podcast. They talk about issues men face and how men and women relate in a way that encourages men to be their best selves. There are some others, but if you’re looking for how we work together, that’s an excellent start.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Sounds interesting!

        • Anonymous

          Just sharing some of my experiences in the USA that aren’t nearly as bad as S. Korea but are different than what men experience. These kinds of things have been shared before, but when men imply they are victimized greater, I feel like it’s worth sharing again. And no, I am not trying to invalidate men’s experiences- just trying to be heard after years of not being listened to and instead portrayed as the perpetrators.

          25ish years ago, I held a door for a guy (common practice I had to be nice to others) and was asked if I was one of them Feminist N@zis. This was a guy in a church group btw. I heard that term far more than I should have- sometimes just because a woman had a shorter haircut, sometimes because they protested having their body ranked on a scale of 1-10. I’ve had men comment brazenly on my body. That was how I was repaid for doing something nice like holding a door.

          Multiple times my backside was grabbed. By men I did not know. I’ve seen men claim they would love for a random woman to just come up to them and do that. AS A WOMAN, that was ANYTHING but wanted. It was terrifying, nauseating, your blood runs cold, and it makes you become suspicious of being around men. Should all men be judged by those few creeps? No BUT as the less strong, slower party (generally speaking), I did not have the luxury to not be hyper-aware. It was the difference between possibly being raped or not.

          Years of my life were spent with the sharpest, longest key I had between my fingers. I learned the vulnerable spots to puncture, kick, punch, elbow, step on, and knee to keep myself safe. I knew if I was grabbed that I should claw hard so I had skin cell evidence under my nails and to leave potentially identifying scratches to corroborate my “story” because I knew my honesty would be called into question. Just because I existed in a woman’s body. (I didn’t live in an unsafe area btw- it was considered safe. I can only imagine how much more frightening it was in crime-riddled areas.) Many of my female peers did the same.

          It was safer to pin long hair up when I was alone so there was less to grab. Upon returning to my car, I was aware of what was under my car, the backseat, behind it, etc., always parking near a lamp post. If it was flickering, it might go out so you parked elsewhere. I’ve watched my own back using the reflection in mirrors, windows, and the sides of vehicles. Always scanning. Often roatating my head slightly so I could better hear the shift of someone’s breathing near me. These were just common practices. For existing as a woman.

          This was all decades ago. Now technology is greater. People think we can rely on security cameras and such but really it just means we can be exploited in more ways. I’ve had friends with stalkers who went to court. Dirty lawyers called into question the validity of the security tapes, etc. even the ones verified by police because you never know when a cop is dirty, right?

          Honestly, just typing all these things out exhausts me mentally, but it was standard operating procedure back then. So yes, us females can get our backs up when men talk about how hard it is on them. I don’t want to invalidate men’s experiences because I know what it is to have been invalidated. By golly, I know that well as do many women. But please stop trying to invalidate our experiences in order to raise up your own.

          • Lisa Johns

            Anonymous, I will add to your list, and to the men reading, ask yourself this question: would this ever have happened to you?
            Years ago I stopped at a friends’ house one day, to drop off a book I had borrowed. The mother was not home, but the father and two children were. (The children were in the living room playing a board game.) As the father and I stood in the kitchen talking, he suddenly put his arm around my shoulder in what I assumed would be a “Christian side hug.” The next thing I knew, he was all over me like an octopus, his hands on my buttocks, his body grinding on mine. (Sorry for the graphic nature of this, but I think people need to know the full horror of what a sexual assault entails.)
            To this day I do not know how I got away from him. I remember standing next to the kitchen sink as a roaring slowly faded from my ears and I began to hear the voices of his two children as they played their board game. They never knew what happened in the kitchen as they played that day.
            I remember getting into my car to drive away.
            I know that years later, when I finally told our pastor what had happened and he confronted the assailant, the assailant told him that the two of us had “*shared* an overly warm hug,” and nothing else happened. And thus attempted to silence me and put me at fault.
            “Shared,” he said, as if I had willingly hugged him. As if he had not forced himself on me. And if I had gone to the law about it, who would have faced the burden of proof as the machine ground into action to defend the rights of the accused? (I am not saying that our constitution is wrong, but it does put the victim at a decided disadvantage in a situation like this.)
            Men, how does that make you feel?
            I am 5 feet 4 inches and I weigh 125 lbs. Average of men in this nation is 5 feet 10 inches and 180 lbs. How are men the victims in such a situation?
            This is making my hair stand on end and the tears clog in my throat as I type. Men, I can truly appreciate your fear of being falsely accused. No one wants that, and I am no exception. But can you appreciate my fear of being slandered and maligned if I step forward with my story? And can we maybe work together to change the culture that fosters and nourishes such fears, so that I can live unafraid of being assaulted and you can live unafraid of being falsely accused?

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I’m so sorry that happened to you, Lisa John. That’s just awful.

      • Lisa Johns

        Jim, saying that some men are toxic is NOT the equivalent of saying that ALL men are toxic. Maybe, if you’re feeling this defensive about the (perfectly true) statement that SOME men are toxic (and MANY of the toxic men are in our evangelical church circles), then you might consider examining your own attitudes toward women (like me) and make an honest assessment of your own level of toxicity toward them. Most of us do not believe that ALL men are toxic, but nearly all of us have encountered SOME men who are definitely toxic. Why would it not be OK for us to call those men out?
        And most of us are very able to see that men who get “triggered” by SOME men being called toxic are probably moving in their own little toxic bubble.
        Pop it and find some freedom.

        • Jim

          Lisa Johns,

          I hate the term ‘toxic masculinity’ because it is used as a way to shame ALL men for the actions of SOME men. I see it as being similar to the way that ‘Jezebel’ is used against women. Neither is right and needs to stop.

          Please understand the context and where I am coming from. I want to try to understand where women come from but constantly being attacked for being born male and having a male experience is exhausting. I want my 4 sons to not be profiled as a potential predator just because they are male. It was drilled into my head my entire life that I am a potential danger because I am a man. This was from culture and society and this platform is bring all of that back. To be honest, it is downright toxic to constantly be bashed over the head because I am not in lock step.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            No, Jim. It is not being used as a way to shame all men. It is being used as a way to DISTINGUISH the bad men from the good men. If you’re feeling that you’re included in “toxic masculinity”, maybe there’s a reason? My husband has never once felt like he was included in that, and he uses the phrase as well.

          • Jim


            ‘If you’re feeling that you’re included in “toxic masculinity”, maybe there’s a reason? ‘

            I never said that. I hate the term because it is used as an attack on men.

            This a a text book example of ‘begging the question’. Please stop with drawing conclusions without evidence. It hurts your credibility.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Actually, no. You yourself said that toxic masculinity applies to all men. You are a man. You are protesting so, so hard about this. So my logic holds.

          • Lisa Johns

            Jim, I am really sorry that you had that drilled into your head. I think it is just as wrong for you to have had that experience as it is for me to know I am in potential danger just because I am a woman. It’s horrible, and I can see why it would make you fell defensive.
            However, if you really pay attention to what is said in this space, I think you should be able to make a distinction between what IS being said — that toxic masculinity is a bad thing — and what is NOT being said, which is that “all men are toxic.” I have male friends who are not toxic, and I have male acquaintances who are toxic. And I know men who are just confused and not sure what they need to be, and that is OK, so long as they are willing to learn and not prone to blaming women for their confusion.
            I have been around some very toxic individuals in my life. I do not think that they are representative of their sex as a whole.

          • Anonymous

            “To be honest, it is downright toxic to constantly be bashed over the head because I am not in lock step.”
            You know what else is toxic?
            -Being given weeks of silent treatment on end as punishment for not coddling a husband’s ego.
            -Being smacked across the face because you asked your husband to stop screaming at your child.
            -Being raped.

            “Please understand the context and where I am coming from. I want to try to understand where women come from but…”
            Frustrating, huh?? We know: we keep trying to get YOU to understand where WE are coming from, too, but your response is to say how unfair it is to men. Where men may have their reputation destroyed, women may have their reputation destroyed WHILE going through the trauma of being raped and possible subsequent pregnancy.

            I would say a majority of men are not toxic. I would say a majority of women are not Jezebels. However in one a concept (masculinity) is being identified by a misuse of it (toxic). The other a person is being compared to a very specific, toxic person. It IS far more personal.

            Codec has expressed his distaste for the term without nullifying women. Compassion makes a big difference.

      • Angharad

        Jim, as I commented on a previous post, the very use of the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ implies that there is a non-toxic kind. If ALL masculinity were toxic, then describing it as toxic would be a redundancy.

        And in my experience, I have found that good men are NOT scared away by women who refuse to tolerate toxic masculinity. My husband wasn’t scared away from me, because he never said or did any of the things that would have got a bad reaction. Neither are the many good men I know who are my friends, co workers and co church members scared of me. If I’ve scared off the creepy guys who think any woman is theirs to sexually assault or abuse or control, I have zero regrets about that. I definitely don’t need men like them in my life!

      • John

        Jim, I think there are particular problems for boys growing up at the moment, as they’ve heard nothing but negative messages about masculinity. For example I wouldn’t recommend that boys under 15 (depending on maturity) go to see the Barbie movie, as the surface message is very anti-men. Older boys should be able to understand the role reversal aspect and the being Kenough messaging, especially if explained.

        I think as parents (I also have a son), it is vital that we help our boys understand that the “toxic masculinity” talked about in society, is not saying that masculinity is toxic, but that there are toxic behaviours that some men show, that are harming themselves and the people around them. We need to explain what those behaviours are, tell our sons how to avoid them (e.g. Andrew Tate) and show them a better script of being a good man in society today.

        • Jim

          I agree. However, call the it toxic behavior. Calling it toxic masculinity gives the appearance that the gender is the problem.
          Words matter.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            But gender is the problem, Jim. We’re talking about such huge rates of violence against women.

            You know, Jim, when you have trouble acknowledging that women face a LOT of violence and harassment in our society, and that it is gender-based–well, that’s kind of what makes you toxic.

            Like men who know that women face a lot of violence and are dedicated to fighting it have no problem with the term toxic masculinity. The fact that you fight back so much basically says, “Women have no right to actually fight to define the harm they face in society.”

            That’s what’s toxic, Jim.

          • Angharad

            The whole point of ‘toxic masculinity’ is that these behaviours are being presented because the men exhibiting them believe that is how men must behave. Which does make it a gender issue.

          • Lisa Johns

            As I asked above, Jim, would the assault I described have happened to you? That was a gender-specific assault that was clearly the result of *toxic* masculinity — not masculinity in general, just the toxic kind. And the gender, in that case, was very much the problem.

          • John

            Jim, it is a gendered problem. Not that women are perfect or that all man are toxic, but there is a very common brand of masculinity that is harming ourselves and those around us. Read Nancy Pearcey’s book “The Toxic War on Masculinity”, to see how we as a society got to where we are, all starting with men leaving the home for work, during the Industrial Revolution. Toxic male behaviour is easy to see in men all around (e.g. the Spanish football/soccer World Cup winning team “kiss” – entitlement). There is specific work we need to do as men, with our boys and with each other, to counteract the toxic male script that we have grown up with, for several generations now.

            See my Twitter threads with Nancy about her book for more –

          • Jim


            You are totally immoral by not allowing me to defend myself and my position. I have attempted to respond multiple times yesterday and you have censor each one. I am done with this crap because you will not allow people that you and your community slander to defend themselves. Enjoy your echo chamber and I pray that you will repent of your dishonesty. You are hurting your cause by doing this.
            I am done with this misandrist, unGodly place.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Jim, sometimes it just gets too tiring reading comments that talk about men being the real victims. It just gets really, really tiring, and I don’t always have the emotional bandwidth.

            I’ve been doing a lot of reading on how to keep my job sustainable, and one of the big things it says is to draw boundaries and know what you can and can’t manage. And I can’t keep going if I have to keep reading and responding to comments that show absolutely no awareness of the harm that is done to women, and instead draw attention to how mean women are being.

            I don’t owe anyone my time or emotional energy, Jim. I wish you all the best, I truly do. But I do have to keep myself able to keep going too.

          • Jo R

            You said, “I am done with this misandrist, unGodly place.”

            I and many other women would offer an alternative:

            “I am done with this misogynistic, unGodly place,” referring to church and now even to dating.

    • John

      Young men are drawn to right-wing men like Andrew Tate, because he is providing answers (however wrong) to men’s disorientation. Young men are disorientated because the old script of how to be a man has been torn up (provider, protector), by the societal implications of the pill and high cost of living (e.g. housing) that requires two earners in a household. There is no clear good new script. The left-wing media has been very reticent to provide any new script, partly due to not wanting to rock the feminist boat and partly due to their gender conformity thinking. Evangelical churches seem to be doubling down on male headship. So the void of how to be a good man these days, is filled with Andrew Tate and Jordan Peterson etc.

      Nancy’s book is interesting I think, because to me it seems to confirm “toxic masculinity” and even give it an evidence based historical back story. By “toxic masculinity” I mean the well documented bad behaviour of us men (dominance, selfishness, ego-driven) which has been growing since the start of the industrial revolution. She includes a whole chapter on how us men are the cause of most marriage problems. She holds out hope for us men, primarily in becoming better fathers. It seems to me to be very similar in perspective, although different in tone, to the other books I’ve read “I Hate Men”, “Are Men Obsolete?” and “The End of Men”, which she criticises so much. I may well have misunderstood her perspective.

      • Suzanne

        What are the societal implications of “the pill”, what pill, are you talking birth control?

        • John

          Sorry yes, I meant the birth control pill – know as “the pill” here in the UK. The pill gave women a lot of control over pregnancy (not 100% obviously, especially when first introduced), which has changed history in profound ways I think, that we are only now coming to terms with. I would argue that the pill and domestic machines (e.g. washing machine) have done more to free women than any political movement and this is a great thing. Women are now free to follow long term careers (e.g. Dr), rather than just jobs (e.g. cleaner). Women are free to protect their bodies from multiple pregnancies. My dad’s parents were on of 12 and 13 siblings each and this was not atypical, then. The poor women must have been pregnant or nursing most of their adult lives. I think women’s freedom and their resulting push for equality, is only now really affecting men and men are often really struggling to adapt. Adapt we must of course, because it is impossible and undesirable to go back, but I expect a bumpy ride.

          • Suzanne

            I appreciate your response, it took me from thinking your were implying the pill was a bad thing to instead saying it was a good thing for women. Prior to washing machines it was not the washboard and tub that kept women home and away from long term careers, it was still patriarchy, men have always been capable to do the cleaning, society just made it seem like only women did that, making a machine that washed clothes just made the job that much easier.

            You are right, men must adapt, I don’t think it has to be a bumpy ride. Many men have already adapted, they were raised to know men and women are equal and it was not something that was hard to accept because it just makes good sense, of course we are equal, of course we both provide and protect, nurture and love. My husband is the strongest, manliest man I know, and we are equal partners. It was never a fight, never a hey pull your own weight issue because he was raised to know its hard work to support yourself, add a family, two working parents, a farm, kids in endless sports and private schools, if we don’t pull together then we fall apart. He and the men in our social circle don’t need women to be less so they can feel like more.

            Women won’t go back so men better move forward.

    • Nat m

      After 11 years of counseling I still feel stuck in the pain from my time in the marine corps. After attempting to get through CPT/CBT therapy twice, I finally realized why it was more frustrating than helpful. My beliefs weren’t wrong and didn’t need to be changed… My beliefs after 4 years of unrelenting sexual harassment, stalking and sexual assault (even when married and 8 months pregnant) are true, they are just very horrific because that’s the reality of being a woman. I was badgered by counselors to work through these beliefs that kept me stuck but there’s no working through them because they are true. I tried everything to be left alone. I couldn’t even go to the chow hall without being harassed. When I spent 6 months as a gate guard, I had a mental breakdown from all the concentrated harassment and attacks. This was my reality for 4 years in a heavily male dominated environment that I couldn’t escape without going to the brig (military prison). I tried to get out early but was denied multiple times. I wake up every day thankful to be out of that hell. I call it my 4 years of hell. This is what toxic masculinity looks like. Google “Marines United” and you’ll see a small picture of what women in the service deal with (spy cams have been used in the military too and the footage shared on online platforms). The VA admits that 1 in 3 female veterans experience MST (military sexual trauma). I worked with hundreds of different men during that time and can only remember a few that respected me as a human being.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That’s so awful, Nat. I’m so, so sorry. Have you ever tried EMDR or a trauma therapy? It sounds like CBT is totally contraindicated in your case. What you had was totally trauma. That’s just so awful.

  2. Mara R

    Codec: “One such question is why are young men drawn to people like Andrew Tate and Pick up artist?”

    And Mark Driscoll.

    Afa MD is concerned, I think it’s because he sells sex and violence, which sells, sells, sells. Even though he is not as big now as he used to be, he still has influence, draws men, and blames feminism for his own and other men’s toxicity like those Korean guys.

    Interesting comment exchange about Driscoll under this post concerning him selling sex and war:

    This seems to draw men and some women.

    • Codec

      He thinks he is Elijah? I don’t remember ever hearing about Driscoll being able to miraculously feed someone who was starving to death or being an instrument of divine justice.

      • Mara R

        He’s all about Elijah cutting the throats of 400 prophets of Baal and deciding that denominational preachers are the equivalent of those prophets since he deems them ‘effeminate’.
        There is a link in that post to a Julie Roys report about it.

        • Marie

          mama mia.

          I’m so far past the idea that people who follow the Driscolls of the evangelical space are even following Christianity anymore. Especially after talking to some of my non-American friends who see Baptists on their street corner all the time and just straight-up categorize them as a cult. It’s really really obvious that this kind of rhetoric is exactly what leads to literal kool-aid drinking, and I’m not here for it. I’ll stop labeling myself as Christian before I let myself be lumped in with these nutjobs.

          Happy to keep my beliefs without the label if the label is going to bring this man to people’s minds.

    • Laura


      Any time I see one of my Christian male friends post a MD video on Facebook or Instagram, I just cannot help but feel that these men are not safe. One of them is a preacher and it just troubles me. Thankfully, I don’t listen to him (the FB friend preacher) much. I am just so over Christian men obsessing about how fathers need to lead their homes because we (as a society) are under demonic attack. So, I guess homes run by single mothers are just so vulnerable because there isn’t a father around? I think a two-parent household is great and I believe children should have two parents active in their lives, but there are circumstances where that cannot be helped. My friend has been a single father to his son because his ex-wife has been active in addiction and does not seem to have any interest in her child nor her other children from other men. Of course, there’s a father so to these patriarchy-obsessed men, that’s good enough. I get that society has dealt with the absence of fathers for many decades, but stop elevating men and erasing women.

      • Nessie

        Great point! Somewhat related, I rarely hear any bashing of single dads. Many do a great job, don’t get me wrong! But if there is such a problem with single moms being adrift and the kids are suffering and they are coming under demonic attack then it stands to reason the same should be said of families with just a dad. OR don’t say it at all. It’s just one more way in which the thumb is pushing down the scale to a certain side.

  3. Larry

    I for one do not think people who believe as you do think it is some kind of threat to remove yourself from dating, sex and marriage and also church. I think this is a very good thing. I can think of nothing better than you separating yourself from us and not making off spring.

    Your threats are all pluses as far as I can see. We’d love nothing more than for you to leave our churches and it sure makes finding the right spouses for our sons and daughters so much easier. We will be fruitful and multiply. You can die with cats.

    Jesus had a few things to say about seeking living your life for you and loving one’s life.

    Go in peace! Your threat would make our lives so much more enjoyable rather than having to listen to complaining, ungrateful, discontentment every hour upon every hour. See ya!

    • Mara R

      Wow. Misogyny much Lare?

    • Nathan

      I’m curious, Larry. Exactly what “belief” do you want to see removed from your church? in other words, what separates “us” from “them” in your eyes? My first guess is that it’s the idea then men and women are of equal worth and dignity in the eyes of God, and should be equal in the eyes of the church as well. If I’m wrong, please educate me, but your “die with cats” comment leaves little room for doubt.

    • Lisa Johns

      Aaaanndd five kids further on…

    • Jo R

      Interesting take, considering it’s never even remotely hinted at in the New Testament.

      First-century Christians apparently didn’t realize they could baby-make their way into evangelizing the whole world.

      Please name one, just one, post-Pentecost NT woman who was praised merely for being a wife, let alone a mother.

      Also, thank you for essentially spitting in the face of the approximately 10 percent of couples who are infertile. We really appreciate your views and are always on the lookout for opportunities to hear them more often.

    • Angharad

      Larry, you do realise that a large number of couples are not able to have children, so that the surviving spouse is likely to ‘die with cats’ in spite of being married?

      Or are you one of those people who believe that ‘good Christians’ are automatically guaranteed large families?

      My husband and I are unable to have children. And since my husband is several years older than I am, statistically, I am likely to face several years of widowhood some day. But you know what? I’d far rather be left alone after a marriage with a man who treats me as an equal, than surrounded in my widowhood by children and grandchildren who had all absorbed the teaching that a woman’s only value resides in her ability to produce babies and clean a house. Or who treat single women with as much contempt as you do.

    • Courtney

      I like how you say go die with cats like it is an insult. Cats are amazing and the worst they will do to you is knock your stuff off the table and potentially break it unlike an abusive man who will do so much worse to you. People who use cat lady as an insult always baffle me because cat ladies have very nurturing qualities and as long as they have the means to take care of them, they can provide a good life for such animals that would waste away in shelters or on the streets.

    • Anonymous

      “rather than having to listen to complaining, ungrateful, discontentment every hour upon every hour”
      Did someone hold a weapon to you to read this blogpost? I know some cats that do a great job at protecting their people.

  4. Mara R

    Marie and Laura,

    Unfortunately, even more or less reasonable Christians are still being taken in by this man. And it breaks my heart.
    I keep pointing out the crazy in hopes that people will wake up.

    BTW here’s the Roys Report link on Driscoll wanting to make himself and the men he leads to out to be Elijah and a weapon.

    • Laura


      Did you know that XO Marriage conferences still have MD as one of their guest speakers? Some of the churches in my town host these events that are done through simulcast.

  5. Wild Honey

    I’m a western/Caucasian woman and happened to spend 18 months living and working in South Korea. I have experienced not-so-subtle sexism here in the US, but it was exponentially worse in Korea.

    On that note, Korean women have a third option – they marry Western men (who have been raised in less patriarchal societies). I understand this is anecdotal evidence, but it was quite common in my circle of ex-pats for the guys to be in a relationship with a Korean women. But I knew only a single Western woman who married a Korean man, and he was someone who’d been raised in the US and returned to Korea as an adult.

    Not saying that all Korean men are chauvinist pigs! I knew several I admired and respected. But if your society still views the ability to support both a wife and a mistress as a status symbol, the odds are going to be stacked against men in general for viewing women with dignity and respect.

    Also, the birth rate is declining even among married couples because of the high cost of living and costs of raising a child for most Korean couples. I completely agree that sexism is ALSO playing a role, but men and politicians who blame solely women for the falling birthrate are just looking for a scapegoat.

    • CMT

      Interesting! I think your point about western or western-raised men easily finding relationships with Korean women is important. It suggests women with options aren’t rejecting all relationships with men. They just don’t want unequal, patriarchal relationships. Which shouldn’t be that surprising to anyone!

      Also, the issue of cost-of-living impacts people’s choices of family size here in the US too. And people like to scapegoat women and their choices for that here as well. *sigh*

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, I think this is very much what the interviews in the book I read suggested. They just weren’t interested in relationships where they couldn’t trust the men and they’d be considered secondary.

  6. Nathan

    Comment about the phrase “toxic masculinity”.

    MOST people use this phrase to identify SOME men and SOME behavior as toxic, while understanding that most men and their behavior is not toxic.

    On the other hand, I have indeed seen and heard some people use this phrase to say that ALL men and ALL masculine behavior is inherently toxic. This is a small minority, and I’ve never seen it happen on this site, but it’s out there.

  7. Lindsey

    Y’all should read Nancy Pearcey’s new book. It’s so so good!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      We’re talking about it in the podcast in two weeks!

  8. Cam

    “Here’s my prediction: Conservative evangelical churches will push even harder to isolate young people from the world so that women don’t see they have choices. They’ll push homeschooling, Christian schools, and Bible colleges. They’ll discourage consuming media. They’ll discourage working in secular spaces. They’ll attempt to isolate, isolate, isolate and create their own bubble.”

    I wanted to comment to say that I hope you recognize that there are families (like my own) who homeschool and certainly do discourage certain media intake for reasons other than isolating our daughters so they see they don’t have choices. Should we not shelter our young children from certain things? I have had many people in my church and even groups to support homeschool moms within my church support my decision to homeschool and it has nothing to do with that reason either. The situation you address here might be true, but those would be edge cases. I do hope you and your readers see that it is not the majority. Many many more families are choosing to homeschool today not based upon what their pastors are telling them or anything to do with the evangelical church at all but more based upon what is going on in school systems, and their own personal calling to do so.

    There is a book that was released fairly recently that I think would help shine light on some of the things discussed in this post. It’s called “The Toxic War on Masculinity” by Nancy Pearcey. It’s a great read.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Cam, we homeschooled right through high school! And Rebecca will likely do that too. We’re totally a pro-homeschooling family (as long as it’s done well and doesn’t limit a child’s options for further education).

      And we certaily took care they didn’t consume questionable media. So perhaps I should have worded it differently.

      In many fundamentalist circles, the only media you’re allowed to consume is Christian in some form. We never did that. We simply asked if it was good and helpful. We read all kinds of books, watched different shows and movies at age appropriate levels, etc. But we didn’t isolate the kids from the world. We didn’t want an us-vs-them mentality. We wanted to teach them to find the good and helpful in things, if it was there. And we certainly didn’t want them to think that if it’s Christian, it’s automatically good and true (since much Christian literature is not, as we have shown abundantly in our studies).

      Let’s just not isolate our kids from the wider world. They need to know how to function in it, that’s all.

      • Angharad

        Yes, there’s a difference between controlling what your kids see because you want to avoid them getting hold of stuff that will harm them, and controlling what your kids see because you just want to control them. I know a lot of homeschoolers in the first category, but sadly, I’ve also met a scarily large number in the second group.

    • Laura


      I live in a smaller town in Southeast New Mexico where there’s a lot of oilfield families who do not stay in one place for very long. They homeschool due to constantly moving. I think that makes sense so they don’t have to worry about starting their kids in a new school 2-3 times during the school year.

  9. JoB

    Everyone may have moved on from this conversation, but I wanted to point out that men can be hurt by toxic masculinity, too. Look at all-male institutions that don’t put checks on toxic masculinity (such as boarding schools, reform schools, different military institutions, prisons, even some sports teams or fraternities, etc): Intimidation, hazing and bullying, often of a sexual nature, is endemic. Sexual violence and even rape occurs, particularly towards males who are less able to defend themselves, or are “different” in some way. This is not about sexual orientation, because typically the perpetrators are straight guys whose desire is to be dominant over others, often to humiliate and “punish” males who are perceived as homosexual or effeminate- the idea that rape is not about sex, but about exerting power over another. I guess the primary example would be the mob of Sodom and Gomorrah that wanted to rape Lot’s visitors. Presumably those men mostly had wives and families (the text says practically every man in town was there), but they were so evil that they wanted to bully the strangers in town with the most extreme form of evil toxic masculinity.

    I want to say along with others that I do not believe being male or masculinity itself is toxic. But if you rightly say, “I don’t want to be perceived as a threat or a predator just because I am a man,” you must also vehemently and openly reject teachings coming from “Christian resources” that state or imply that “men can’t help themselves”, or that someone else is to blame when a man loses control of himself. We should reject stereotypes and get to know individuals, absolutely. But we also need to open our eyes to the forms in which masculinity has been and continues to be misused, and say that we reject it in favor of the example of Christ, the ultimate example of what a man should be.

    • Angharad

      Yes. And toxic masculinity also hurts a lot of good men, especially young lads, who are told that they are not ‘real men’ because they don’t behave in these toxic ways. I’m always puzzled at the way in which arguing against ‘toxic masculinity’ is seen as an attack on all men – because toxic masculinity harms good men as well as women.

  10. Kate

    Dating in Evangelical spaces was extremely difficult for me in my twenties. I only seemed to find men who were entitled towards me. It was honestly quite scary. All I wanted was a kind man who could see me as a human being first and a woman second. When I finally opened myself up to dating Christian men from other backgrounds and denominations I found my husband almost immediately. I go to a mainline church now and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so thankful I found a safe man and a safe space where I am valued and respected. The contrast between my experiences with my husband and my new church with what I experienced in Evangelical spaces is truly alarming. I really believe Evangelicalism has gone astray from Jesus and his gospel.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Your story is what I hear over and over again. I’m glad you’ve found a great husband!

    • Ruth Friesen

      I appreciate the turn in conversation here to the reality that toxic masculinity hurts men as well as women. How can we have that conversation in a way that does not diminish the pain women experience and also allows men to give voice to their experiences of pain from the messages they have received from patriarchy? Their expression of pain does not invalidate our own. In my mind it shows the depth of the toxicity. This forum may not be the place for it if its goal is to create a safe space for women but lets find a space where men can do that and refer them there so that we dont end up denying them the space they need to heal and become our allies.


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