Virtus and Gynotheosis
The highest virtue among the Romans was virtus. In fact, we get our word virtue from virtus, or more acurately from the latin word vir. Vir means a man. Virtus, by extension, means courage, respect, fairness, humility, dignity, clemency, and piety. Or, in short, manliness. The Romans associated all these qualities with what makes a man a man. They held up this idea of manliness which also meant conforming to the mos maiorum, the customs and ways of the ancestors. Since they figured descent patrilineally, it is in essence men being manly by upholding the ways of men who went before.
The church similarly has well defined gender roles and traits which it ascribes.
Men are told to be strong priesthood holders and to be righteous and upright in all things. They are told that the onus of providing for a family is upon them by divine right. They are told that they are to "preside" over their families. But we are also constantly told that we are unworthy. Discussions about pornography, in my ward atleast, imply that all men are unable to prevent themselves from seeking out internet porn. Discussions abound regarding how computers ought to be out in the open so that we are not tempted. We are told that we ought to have our wives put passwords on the computer, so that we can only use it when they allow us. This discourse isn't even aimed at those with porn addictions, but all men. So why the negativity? We hear the counsel to stay away from porn pretty often, so I guess it must be a widespread problem. But the way the discourse is being held there isnt any distinguishing between the porn looking men, and the non porn looking men. We all need artificial restraint.
While that is unfair and casts men in a light that is unfavorable, the real problem is with how the church treats women. We are told constantly about how amazing women are. They are lauded in conference and elsewhere. We are told somewhat jokingly that a bishop is chosen by picking the most righteous member of the ward and then calling her husband. There is no doubt that for the most part the women of this church are righteous and upright, but so are the men. So why the rhetoric? If women were equal, then why do we need to talk about how great they are? It seems clear the roles of men and women aren't equal in this church. Whether that's bad or not I suppose is a different question. So the problem comes with pacification. Whether it is intended or not, the constant reinforcement of female superiority keeps most of them from ever asking for equality. It is similar to native americans being depicted as the noble savage. As long as they are held up as better in some way then they won't ask for more. Alternatively, those with the power to change their position for the better will see no need.
So what can be done? Or, does something need to be done at all?