The strangest moment in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy comes at the end, when Frodo and Sam return to the Shire. They’ve vanquished foes far more powerful than themselves and experienced fantastic adventures.
But when they enter the Shire, they realize there’s another battle to be won, on the homefront. Selfish, abusive hobbits have taken over the Shire in their absence. It is utterly anticlimactic, and yet so true to real life. Many philosophers were wondering about the same problem, when it became clear during WWII that the Allies would win in Europe. What will we do with our peace?
The question came to mind, as I reflected on the recent Super Bowl halftime show. I stopped watching when it became clear that the show was basically women literally pole-dancing. But this didn’t surprise me. What piqued my interest was when, on the morning after, I perused the halftime show headlines. They were largely positive, with one major outlet praising the show for “bringing back feminine energy”.
Feminine energy? No doubt that same news outlet would aggressively affirm the extremes of the #MeToo movement. When our culture both affirms public pole-dancing as “bringing feminine energy” and then out of the same mouth decries unwanted sexual advances by men, I think it’s fair to say we need not listen to its definition of “feminine”.
But identifying an hypocrisy only tells us that there’s work still to do – another battle to wage. If the 1980’s and 90’s were the war on boys, perhaps this season is the war on girls – on femininity.
Where will our culture find authentic femininity? Social media’s “celebrities” offer various definitions.
But what we saw during the Super Bowl was not the real thing; it was a parasitic perversion of the real thing. This is the essence of celebrity – taking what God has designed, twisting it for personal gain, and, in doing so, parasitically sucking it of its soul, of the essence that God embedded in it that makes it unique, and wondrous.
The cure is not banishing social media. It’s always God’s gospel – it’s seeing femininity (or masculinity) in light of the Creator, and His design. And then, in faith, embracing that design. Where celebrity femininity metastasizes and cancerously feasts on the real thing, heroic, biblical femininity joyfully embraces the Creator’s design, and then builds into others, over time, in a thousand ways – often unseen.
Our greatest weapon in the battle is the flourishing that will result, in our women, and in those they nurture.