The Red Pill is a dive into different, unknown waters—not only for Eve and myself but also for the creator and director of the movie, Cassie Jay. Cassie is a card-carrying feminist, ardent supporter of causes like pro-choice, and an advocate combating domestic violence. Seeking to further her feminist agenda, she sets out to make a documentary about rape culture and stumbles onto and starts researching the men’s rights movement. She anticipates hateful, misogynistic rhetoric and empty arguments, all to be turned into fodder for the radical feminist fight. What she encounters, though, is a breadth and depth of topic that baffles her expectations. The men’s rights supporters that she gets to know, men and women both, tend to be as thoughtful, loving and considerate as any other person she’s ever bonded with. Cassie Jay finds her preconceptions crumbling before the truth uncovered by her own investigation. She has documented her journey into the men’s rights movement and provided it for us to watch and discuss in the 2016 documentary, The Red Pill.
The Red Pill is a pretty significant departure from our normal fare, but Cassie’s journey of discovery through truth is a poignant story that we could not ignore. Though not even a little faith-oriented, The Red Pill emphasizes the importance of careful truth over blind rhetoric, and that is one of the things that drew us to this film. The second thing is that, despite the emphasis on truth throughout the film, the entire process is completely lacking any Christian worldview. Let’s face it, if you are going to talk truth, you cannot ignore the greatest Truths of all.
Before The Rabbit Hole
Before you take the red pill and jump down the rabbit hole, you should know that this documentary is loaded with footage and interviews that are as expletive-laden as you can imagine—maybe even more so. An important thing to understand as you take a closer look at this issue is how…um…passionate…each side is regarding their causes. That passion, under a secular worldview, very often leads to thoroughly offensive and abusive language, and The Red Pill does not filter that “dialogue”. If you want to avoid such language, you may wish to avoid this documentary. There is also a rather graphic discussion and footage of circumcision which may not be suitable for some viewers. You can look away during the worst of it, but if you wish to avoid it all together, you will want to steer clear here as well.
Normally, around this point, we would direct you to the review of the movie at Plugged In Online, but there isn’t one. The mature content of this documentary is significant and we would not recommend it for children. Even for younger teens, it warrants warnings and discussion. The takeaways from this movie can be powerful, but the vehicle does not deliver the message gently. You can bypass most of the offensive content by looking up Cassie Jaye’s channel on YouTube where she has published a great many raw interview videos that were edited down in the actual documentary.
Expand your Horizons
The discussion for movies like The Red Pill need not be limited to just Eve and me, or even after we release the podcast. If you haven’t already done so, join us in our Are You Just Watching Facebook discussion group. There, you can engage the entire community of listeners and get a much broader range of feedback! That’s were we were able to get Chris Turner’s question for our discussion:
I’d like to hear about how to watch documentaries. Because it is real people talking and it’s not scripted entertainment we can give it a lot of weight, particularly when our emotions are invoked. How can we keep our focus and ensure our focus is on what is scriptural, what is true? This is particularly true when a documentary tries to change the way people think, which in it’s view is for the best. When our beliefs are challenged we must be careful to both consider new information and God’s view.
Chris’s insightful question reaches beyond the score of the documentary, of course. We need to retain that focus for every aspect of our lives! Human beings just can’t create without individual perspective and bias sneaking in on some level. The other side of that coin is refusing to listen when someone is trying to communicate their ideas. You need not agree with them or even like the speaker, but if you don’t listen, then you will never hear what it is that they have to say. You may even find common ground.
My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” (James [1:19]-20)
Cassie Jay’s listening is a nice reflection on the passage from James—she sits and listens. She doesn’t go into it expecting or wanting to change, only to grow as an interactive human being.
Even still, we are called to be on guard.
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Questions to ask
Being willing to listen does not necessarily equate to having an open mind. An open mind is a fine thing to have when trying new clothes, new food, or making new friends, but when it comes to the essentials of salvation, our minds must be secure in the Spirit. We must hold onto the truth, both in scripture and in life.
So how do we evaluate documentaries that are designed to elicit specific emotional responses and/or change the mind of the viewer? Consider these questions:
- How do we decide who has the correct opinion or is giving the correct facts?
- Has the information been chosen and presented in a way to manipulate the viewer’s emotions?
- Can the presented evidence be interpreted multiple ways and does the documentary explore that possibility?
- Are there sides drawn, and does one side have to lose for the other side to win, or is there a middle ground?
- Is the conclusion targeted or open to the viewer’s discretion?
- Is the viewer expected to accept the facts as presented or encouraged by the conclusion to do further research on his/her own?
What we see with The Red Pill is a good example of what happens when you do not address these questions, and those more general ones in everyday life, through the lens of scripture. You end up with “facts” skewed away from grace and God’s plan.
God’s Plan for Gender
Much of The Red Pill is focused on what most people consider to be traditional gender roles, many of which come from or are seen in scripture:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” … The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found corresponding to him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. Then the Lord God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis [2:18], 20-24)
And when Jesus was called to support his position on divorce:
But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:5-9)
This is the point of this scripture: Man and Woman are intended by God to complement and complete each other.
Destroyed by sin
Along comes sin, though, to mess everything up, resulting in God curse on man and woman:
He said to the woman:
I will intensify your labor pains;
you will bear children with painful effort.
Your desire will be for your husband,
yet he will rule over you.
And he said to the man, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’:
The ground is cursed because of you.
You will eat from it by means of painful labor
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow
until you return to the ground,
since you were taken from it.
For you are dust,
and you will return to dust.” (Genesis [3:16]-19)
Pastor John Piper discusses the role identified and the language used as Eve mentions in this article from Desiring God.
Re-ordained by Christ
Many of the specific complaints that the MRAs raise in The Red Pill can be specifically tied back to the roles God lays out in this scripture.
The apostles also provide instruction on the responsibilities of men and women.
In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives. Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry, but rather what is inside the heart—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also adorned themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and do not fear any intimidation. Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:1-7)
The most important point with all of this complementarian scripture is that God has willed, since the beginning, that the relation between man and woman be one to mirror that of Christ’s relationship with the church. We should be willing to sacrifice ourselves for our spouses, just as Christ paid the price for believers like us. Husbands should respect and cherish their wives as if they were their own bodies:
For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,” (Ephesians [5:29])
To be continued . . .
Each gender comes with an exclusive set of responsibilities and a different brand of importance: equal but different. In one of the raw Red Pill interviews, Suzanne Venker, author of The War on Men and The Flipside of Feminism, notes that with feminism, women have climbed off their own pedestal and attempted to climb men’s pedestal. We will pursue this thought further in our next episode.
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