Friday, March 26, 2010

sexist thoughts

My Achilles Heel is sexual sin. I have struggled with it for quite a long time. It all started by a good feeling. I began to associate this feeling with a certain type of physical characteristic, in my case, women without imperfection or blemish thanks to hours of prep work, make-up and Photoshop. This association led me to believe that I needed a woman without physical fault, just like the fake pictures in magazines, to make me feel good. It is easy to believe that it is someone else’s job to make me feel good, and if that feeling ever faded to a lesser degree, I would question whether the woman was pretty enough for me. I had conditioned myself to believe I needed the absolute best-looking woman for happiness.

There are several things wrong with this scenario. For starters, the need to have the ‘best’ was just setting myself up for disappointment. It is an ideal that will never be satisfied. In order to have the best-looking girl, I must compare her with every other girl, and she must come out on top every time and in every category. If you’re always scrutinizing someone in comparison to others, at some point you will find something in someone else that is more desirable, or just different. Then what happens, because you realize you are not with your ‘ideal’ person?

That’s the first problem. The second is that this whole system is based on selfishness. It is all about how the girl’s physical beauty makes me feel, and if I no longer feel a certain way about that person’s beauty, then they are no longer good enough for me because they stopped meeting my ideal. I have realized that they are not without flaw.

Why should I have the right to judge someone based on a groundless ideal rooted in selfishness?
For girls, this is a bit harder to pinpoint. Many girls have spent their whole lives dreaming about how a romance will look and feel. Fairy-tales and pop-culture have painted this picture of the ideal guy that always makes the girl feel a certain way. It also tells girls that they deserve the best. This environment produces women with a sense of entitlement for ideals that are really fabrications of culture and imagination. Furthermore, these ideal actions and behavior of the ideal man are all to make the girl feel a certain way. In the same way that I began to feel a need for a pin-up model based on how she would make me feel, so does a girl for a prince charming.

You wouldn’t want to be constantly compared with the cover girls of magazines would you?

These ideals for the perfect guy are a sure recipe for disappointment. It’s no wonder girls don’t trust guys with matters of the heart. If they have built up ideals that cannot be met, guys will disappoint every time. This continual disappointment leads to the cultural belief that guys are not competent enough to love properly, and so it is the girl’s job to teach the guy how to treat her, so that she can feel the way she was taught that she deserves. Again, this is selfish at the core. It’s all about the guy doing things a certain way to make a girl feel the way she has idealized. It is all about her. Society has deemed girls the experts at love (since love is about how the girl feels, and she’s the expert of her own feelings), and guys the buffoons. How then is she supposed to respect the man she can’t even trust to make her happy?

Just as feelings come and go, so will respect and love when based on something so transient as how you feel. God has called us to something much more permanent, and profound than this. His command for men was for them to love their wives. He didn’t say to love their wives when they made them feel a certain way, nor did God qualify the command to love with a woman’s deserving actions. He told men to love, without condition, selflessly, as God leads with example in loving us.

God told wives to respect their husbands. Again, this extends beyond feelings and merit. It’s a command. If a wife’s respect was to be based on a man’s actions, than no man would deserve it, just as there is no flawless woman always deserving selfless love. But God has made provision for our inadequacy and fickleness by fixing these most important tenants of a successful relationship on a permanent and continued decision rather that how one feels at the moment.

Fixing your respect for someone on their ability to make you feel a certain way is what common culture teaches, and is absolutely wrong.