Jewish World Review March 2, 2011 / 26 Adar I, 5771
In Iowa, chivalry goes to the mat
By Betsy Hart
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In an Iowa state high school wrestling tournament recently, Joel Northrup forfeited an early match because it would have meant going up against a girl. He said his personal and religious convictions prevented him from engaging in such activity against a young woman.
The wrestler, one of the favorites to win his weight class, said in a statement, according to the Chicago Sun-Times: "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan [the young women who qualified for the tournament] and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner."
Now, that's a real man.
I love his instinct. Real men physically protect women. And our society should back them up on it.
The physical-strength advantage that most males have over most females puts them at a huge advantage over women. So men with all that testosterone behind that strength can use it to intimidate and dominate women, or they can use it to protect them and, of course, children, too.
There's a reason that most of our prison inmates are men, and the vast majority of those are single. When a man doesn't have a woman and children to provide and care for he can too easily turn that strength and aggression to base purposes and, wow, can it lead to trouble.
Of course, most single men don't turn to lives of violence or crime, and some married men do, even against their own wives. Still, few would argue that having a large percentage of young adult single men in a community is a good thing for anyone.
There is concern in our culture now, and rightly so, about the prolonged adolescence of young men, who in ever-larger numbers are delaying marriage, living in their parents' basements and flitting from woman to woman.
The Manhattan Institute's Kay Hymowitz put it this way in a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, "Where Have the Good Men Gone?" Speaking to this new era in which we see a plethora of young single men, she wrote that "relatively affluent, free of family responsibilities, and entertained by an array of media devoted to his every pleasure, the single young man can live in pig heaven and often does." Exactly.
There are a number of reasons for this, surely including that today women are so commonly sexually available outside of marriage. But I'm also convinced it's partly due to the fact that we less and less expect men to physically protect women.
One classic example? The military. Ever more gender-integrated, essentially even in combat roles, men have to see women differently there so that they don't put themselves or others in danger. There are documented accounts of men having to undergo military training in which they listen to a woman screaming and literally learn to overcome their natural orientation to help her. Nice.
In a civilized society, men protect and care for women and children. And women should learn to expect that from a good man.
In the case at hand, all the parties involved apparently operated with grace. But Joel Northrup behaved as a real man in a culture that increasingly stands against such fellows.
In my book, the "win" goes to him.
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