A while back there was an unusually insightful article on Cracked called, "5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women". I found it to be disturbingly true and it made me feel like I owed women everywhere an apology or something. It really gave me a lot to think about.
So then when I was putting my post on the Purity Culture together I read a post by Libby Anne titled "Who are the Real Babies? House-Proofing and Modesty" which was also about how men treat women only this time I felt less apologetic and more pissed off. I've been bamboozled! We all were! This is not OK!
Let me explain.
Libby Anne pointed out that there is a strange disconnect in patriarchal Christianity between how children are supposed to behave and how men get to behave. Everyone is supposed to practice self control, everyone needs to know that they can't have everything they see except men for some reason.
" Babies - should be taught self-control. To not act on what they see. If what they see (i.e. Mom’s glass vase) causes them problems, they should be taught to simply not act on their urges. Nothing should be hidden to protect them from stumbling.
Adult men - should be protected from seeing things that makes them stumble. If what they see (i.e. the female shoulder or knee) cause them problems, it should be hidden from them. Nobody expect that their self-control has to protect them from stumbling.
There is something seriously wrong with a system where babies have to be punished if they don’t act right, and the world has to be adult-male proofed to not tempt them. In a sane world adults are punished for not acting right, and houses are baby-proofed.
. . .
Who are the babies in patriarchy? The 16- month olds who are expected to have self-control even though your ornaments are on display, or the 30 and 50 year olds from whom you should hide things? And why does patriarchy want people to be led by the “babies” from whom self-control is not expected?"
So in other words, men are all barely controlled intercourse monsters and therefore they must be protected from women leading them astray with all their tempting female-ness. The slightest temptation can lead to an avalanche dirty sexy sinning so never poke the bear - you wouldn't like him when he's horny! That was my take away message from all the Christian sex talk anyway. And it's bullshit. Also it isn't.
|Sexy thoughts = One way trip to HELL!!!|
See, it's true but it doesn't have to be. Unfortunately this becomes a case of self fulfilling prophecy. True fact: people live down to the expectations you put on them. If you tell guys that they can't really control themselves from a young age, they're going to believe that and they're going to become that.
Now that's bad in pretty much every level of society but it's especially bad in the church. There you get the one-two punch of firstly being told you are a barely civilized sex machine who can only think of sex and will constantly "sin" by lusting and thinking about sex (or as everyone else knows it, having a normal sex drive) and secondly you must not do any of that (seeing how it's all terribly sinful), in fact you must never even THINK about sex. Of course the best way to get someone to constantly think of something is to tell them they must not think of it. Is it any surprise that about 50% of Christian men admit to being addicted to pornography?
None of this has to be. We are not victims of our biology, or at least we don't have to be. I've argued it before (a lifetime ago) that if there is such a thing as a "real man" it would be someone who is more than his biology. I stand by that. Men should be held to a higher standard than the church and the world at large are setting for them. It's not impossible, it can be done. It needs to be done. Men are not just walking cocks but they will continue to act like it if they keep getting told that it's just how they're supposed to be. And while we're at it, maybe also teach men to hold women in higher regard. This virgin/whore dichotomy has got to go. Women aren't objects for your lust/evil she-demons tempting you into sin/the purest and most chaste creatures on God's green earth. They're human beings. Treat them as such. Trust me, it solves a lot of your "issues".
(Yep, that's a found footage Christian horror movie about the demonic influence of porn. Seriously.)
That the massive Christian guilt tripping about sex needs to also stop should go without saying. Sex isn't dirty or sinful, it's natural and normal. It's OK to want it, it's OK to think about it and provided you're mature enough and responsible enough, it's OK to have it. If you deny people that, they may just end up taking it to a very dark place... I'm willing to bet the amount of sex scandals and general perversion within the church would all but come to an end once sex gets un-demonized. But I'm not naive enough to think that's ever going to get tested.