by Erin Weist
Earlier this week I had the experience of being mocked on social media. If you’ve spent any time online this is not a revelation, the internet can be a brutal place to experience the full attack of opinions clashing with one’s own. However the tone and topic of the experience surprised me. On viewing a picture of a man identifying and expressing himself as a woman, I shared a sense of sadness for his circumstances. When asked about my thoughts, I simply explained that a man has different opportunities in life than a woman, particularly becoming a husband and father, and it struck me as sad that this man would deny himself these choices. I was immediately bombarded with a variety of comments, each passing judgment regarding my character and blasting my personal opinion.
Obviously everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but I found it interesting that I hadn’t attacked any one individual’s ideas, merely stated my own, and was then on the receiving end of fairly harsh criticism for my own opinion. It seemed rather obvious that those “very accepting” people, who loved the choice of this man trying to be a woman, would never accept me for believing that men and women have different roles. I didn’t condemn this man, nor did I judge his character, merely expressed sadness at his choice. But this expressing of feeling rendered me, according to several on this site, as small-minded and homophobic, among other things. One individual even went so far as turning to ultra-modern-feminism, stating that it was just as noble to be a wife and mother, insinuating that this man could be either or both. While I did agree that being a wife and mother is a noble pursuit, I explained that the fact remains that those roles are given to women, and a man cannot be one any more than a woman could be a husband or father.
Again, ridicule ensued. Realizing that I was probably not making any change for good, I bowed out of the conversation, declining to comment on the personal messages to me that championed this man’s choice and all-knowingly declared that his current choices would make him much happier than what I had suggested. The hypocrisy of someone judging a man’s choices without knowing him while condemning me for doing the same was not lost on me. I decided not to engage. But I did decide to talk to my young son.
Later, when everyone else was in bed and we were playing cards, I talked to my son briefly about my experience. I wanted to let him know what kind of sophistry he would encounter in the world, simple truths that would be twisted against him, in this case concerning gender. Trying to declare truth will, in all likelihood, invite scorn and ridicule in a sea of people lost in their own self-interest. Or merely lost because they didn’t know the truth. I told him I hoped he would stand up for the truth, gently teaching people while loving those around him and not shunning them, only encouraging them to be better and not follow damaging philosophies. My kids have a sea of mind-bending unbelief ahead of them and I pray they, and others growing along with them, will have the strength to stand for truth, no matter the consequences.