Friday, November 16, 2007

Loyal Daughters and Sons

Tonight, I saw Loyal Daughters. No: Loyal Daughters is not a moral black hole planted on the main stage of Washington Hall, sucking in such near-by notables as the Main Building, the Basilica, and the fine dorm of St. Ed’s. Yes: Loyal Daughters had some elements that I could not particularly agree with such as the Vagina Monologues-esque skit that somehow managed to find its way in there. Yet, whether or not the directors and writers intended the play to affect me in this way, Loyal Daughters struck a chord with me, and what I was told never to support set me on fire to proclaim this message:

Men suck.

As a man, I am both able and obligated to say such things. Men suck because they refuse to be men; because when they embody and distort their already disordered and selfish desires, they become spawns of Satan – in all seriousness – reeking havoc on this God-given world; because they fail to realize the wonderful potential that God has given them precisely as men.

In response to this all-too-apparent problem in society throughout the ages, John Paul II proclaims in the Theology of the Body, a series of Wednesday audiences given by the late Pope, that a primary munus (duty, office) of men is to defend the gift of sexuality from the effects of concupiscence and, more precisely, protect and foster the most loving environment for the expression of that gift, especially as in conjugal union.

Our common perception, indeed, is that it is the woman alone who is obliged to say “no” if things get out of hand. This is a false notion which most likely stems from the often true stereotype that men are nothing but sex organs and a semi-functioning brain. But the Pope has higher hopes for men. He acknowledges that a good man is one who, by the grace of God, in waging war against the effects of sin in his own person and in the world, defeats the Devil and loves as Christ first loved us. Truly, it is not the woman who should say “no,” but always and everywhere it is the man who should never put the woman in that situation in the first place!

This dichotomy between spawn-of-Satan man and Christ-is-booyah man was rattling in my brain as the play progressed. It became clear to me that men have a remarkable amount of responsibility in this world. That is, men have the sole responsibility to protect the wondrous treasure which is woman. Oftentimes, as some of the skits powerfully portrayed, this responsibility is cast off, and men fail to be men. It is absolutely true: sometimes, men suck.

On one hand, I praise Loyal Daughters for making the need for good men so apparent. Often, no matter what the circumstances, women can be the victim of a man’s sexual assault and, quite simply, have no say in the matter. On the other hand, while we have seen a sort of “women’s” point of view on the matter, I see a special need for men on campus to see their own point of view. Men, on large scale, need to be at least introduced if not persuaded by powerful drama into becoming men of virtue.

This year, the play was officially entitled Loyal Daughters and Sons. I call for two plays: one, Loyal Daughters; the other, Loyal Sons. Both have their place. Loyal Daughters will not change and will continue to focus on the effects of sexual assault and violence against women (and also men.) Loyal Sons will focus more on the other side of things and the sheer ridiculousness that is men who do violence against women. Men need to see themselves both parodied and then shown what they could be by the grace of God. Perhaps this is the only way for them to decide to become better people.

We must educate our men if we want sexual violence to stop. Men and women alike need to understand that men, by nature, do not have to suck.

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