How can television’s Outlander, whose main character, James Fraser, embodies all that women participating in last weekend’s marches rail against, win four People’s Choice Awards? Outlander won for Favorite TV Show, Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress and Actor, and Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series. Perhaps fans (whether they are marching women or not) see James Fraser as something more than just a man’s man. This 18th century hero has a modern view of how to treat the love of his life.
The Starz hit series is based on the series of novels written by Diana Gabaldon. For those of you not familiar with Outlander, let me tell you first and foremost – you are missing out! Not only is the show filled with intricate storylines and breathtaking cinematography, but it is infused with humor, history, and a love story for the ages. At the end of World War II, Claire Randall, a combat nurse, and her husband, Frank, a British intelligence officer, journey to Inverness, Scotland, for some much-needed R&R.
However, what was supposed to be a second honeymoon turns into the adventure of a lifetime when Claire accidentally wanders through the standing stones at Craigh na Dun in 18th century Scotland. Fast forward a few weeks and Claire finds herself married (for her own protection) to Jamie Fraser, a witty, intelligent, verra stubborn Scottish Highlander (said as a true Scot would say “very”). While the two clash at first, their differences soon draw them to each other and they fall in love.
Gender roles in 18th century Scotland are clearly defined, and over the course of their adventure together Jamie and Claire must determine what their relationship will look like. Used to the namby-pamby ways of her first husband, Frank, Claire begins their marriage “put-off” by his rugged masculinity. But eventually it is this very trait that draws her to him and causes her to fall in love with him.
Jamie is smart, resourceful and able to aptly defend her whenever necessary. He is also kind, tender and willing to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. In other words, Jamie embodies all that a man is supposed to be. It is not about his roguish good looks or the way he wears his plaid (which, by the way, is verra well). It is about the way he respects and protects her, and puts her needs above his own. He balances strength with kindness, justice with compassion, and remains true to his principles at all costs. He is a walking, talking embodiment of biblical masculinity. Definitely a far cry from the “pajama boy” hipsters of the millennial generation.
And yet, contrary to what radical feminists say, Jamie’s masculinity does not detract from Claire’s ability to think for herself or be a strong woman. In fact, it allows Claire to embrace her femininity and become the woman she was always meant to be. She discovers that there are many blessings to be found in embracing that which radical feminism encourages the modern woman to shirk – monogamy, respect for the opposite sex, and motherhood. She comes to realize that her own strength of personality is not diminished by Jamie’s powerful role in her life. And because Jamie is secure in his masculinity, he does not demand that Claire forfeit her feistiness and independence.
What advocates of the feminist movement fail to understand is that biblical femininity does not equate with being weak, unempowered, or a second-class citizen. God created men and women to be equal but different. Respecting the opposite sex has nothing to do with not having an opinion or standing up for yourself and your rights. We do not need to tear men down and demand that they become more like us to feel strong or be powerful forces for good in the world.
In fact, the Bible is filled with examples of women who demonstrated incredible courage and strength in the face of trials. Esther spoke out on behalf of her people at risk of her own life. Ruth left her homeland and worked hard to support herself and her mother-in-law upon her husband’s death. Mary, the mother of Jesus, said “yes” to God and risked persecution and rejection when she allowed God to use her to deliver Jesus into the world. I would call these women strong. I would call them world-changers.
More than anything, the women’s marches demonstrate the anger that is inherent to the women’s rights movement and radical feminism. The women participating in these events don’t just want more freedom or greater rights for women. Women’s rights already have protection in the western world. They are searching for something that no government can give them: peace, acceptance, self-confidence. All of those exist only in relationship with God and, unfortunately, the feminist movement has placed itself decidedly against the will of God by advocating for promiscuity, abortion, and gender sameness.
I would personally love to take a poll to see how many of the women on the streets watch Outlander, have major crushes on Jamie Fraser, or would love to step through the standing stones into that simpler time. The popularity of this sword-wielding Scottish Highlander is proof that femininity and masculinity are not dead, not social constructs of the past. We need only embrace them once again to unlock a richer, more vibrant and fulfilling social landscape in which men are once again allowed to be men and women are encouraged to be women.