The Annoying, Weird, Sexist Preoccupation by Many Christian Males with Female Looks and Sexuality
(Abbreviation: “Chr” = Christian or Christianity – you can figure out which by the context)
I touched on this topic in (LINK): my last post.
—RUTH AND BOAZ–
I was watching Christian author Laurie Cole interviewed on a Chr. television show, and she mentioned how the Bible character Boaz, an unmarried man, must have noticed Ruth’s “godly character,” and that is what attracted him to her.
I rolled my eyes when I heard that remark by Cole’s. Cole may be right about that view, but it’s not the norm in most of contemporary American Christianity.
Sad to say, most Christian males are just as shallow, fixated upon, and judgmental about a female’s physical appearance as most secular males are.
This is why I laughed when Cole seemed to intimate during the interview, after she talked about Boaz being attracted to Ruth for Ruth’s “godly character,” that a young, unmarried Christian woman should rest assured that she can attract a Christian man to marriage who also has godly character.
From what I have seen on blogs, books, and forums, most Christian males, even the (I’m going to be blunt) physically ugly and fat ones over the age of 35 (the ones who post their photos, or who I have seen personally in singles classes at churches), all feel entitled to a stick-thin, 25- year- old- movie star Megan Fox clone.
Further, many Christian pastors and male bloggers coddle such men in this erroneous thinking and reassure such Chr. men that this entitlement mentality and fixation on female youth and beauty is biblical, acceptable, okay, and normal.
(See, for instance (Link): this post (discusses Pat Robertson and Driscoll), (Link): this post (Christians marketing beauty products to women) and (Link): this post (Christians send conflicting messages about physical appearance to women).)
I have seen a smattering of blog posts over the years by married Christian males who chastise Chr. men over this undue emphasis and desire for young and hot female wives, and stress that men need to be considering the woman’s character and commitment to God, not just looks. Good for them, I say, but this sort of admonishment is pretty rare.
My own personal view on looks: physical appearance does matter.
But looks matter to both genders (most women would prefer to date/marry a good looking man), looks don’t just matter to men only (more on that point in a future post), but physical appearance should not be one’s primary or only criteria in selecting dates or a marriage partner.
—MOST MALE CHRISTIAN LEADERS PERPETUATE THE UNBIBLICAL, SEXIST HABIT OF MEN TO VALUE A WOMAN’S LOOKS ABOVE ALL ELSE, DO NOT HOLD MEN ACCOUNTABLE / CORRECT THEM —
For a lot of Christian men, female looks remain top, or sole, criteria – and they are not corrected on this thinking from the pulpits or in Christian material.
If anything, most Christians encourage Christian males to keep thinking this way.
As a matter of fact, much Christian preaching and dating advice (usually by males, but on occasion, by Christian females who sell out their own gender) push Chr. women as young as 15 years of age, to diet and look pretty; they stress to Christian females that their value remains in what they look like – not in their brains, talents, or that God loves them.
Conservative Christians further teach Christian females in this material, and by their attitudes, that physical appearance is all that men value in a woman, and you will not get a man (husband or boyfriends) unless you remain a perpetually 25 year old- looking, stick thin, movie star clone.
Sometimes, male preachers, male Chr bloggers, male Chr authors, bring up a woman’s appearance or sexuality or sexual history even if none of those topics are relevant or mentioned in some Bible text the individual is addressing.
Hearing female Chr author Cole mention Ruth’s and Boaz’s “godly character” was a fascinating juxtaposition, because most male Chrs, when discussing Ruth and Boaz, never mention either one’s “godly character.”
When I have heard male Chrs discuss or preach about Ruth and Boaz, they almost always assume Ruth was hotty totty, sexy sexy, oh- so- pretty, and that is why Boaz fell for her – even though I do not recall the text mentioning that Ruth was hot, sexy, youthful, thin, or attractive, nor do I recall the biblical text mentioning that what drew Boaz to Ruth was her appearance. Pastors just assume she was a raving beauty, and that is what Boaz took interest in.
–SEEING SEX WHERE IT’S NOT EVEN THERE–
Further, a lot of male Christians have this unseemly, yucky, gross habit of sexualizing things in the Bible and making them tawdry ((Link): they also do this to friendships – but so too do a lot of women, not just men).
For example, the section where Ruth approaches Boaz at night and puts his cloak over her feet (or was it vice versa?) is sexualized by some male pastors.
I don’t claim to fully understand the significance of “cloak over feet” (or cloak over face, or whatever Ruth did), but I seriously doubt in that culture of 4- or 5- (or whatever) thousand years ago, that the gesture was considered in the vein of ‘sexy sexy, ooh baby baby, I want me some sex!’
I think American pastors have too strong a tendency to filter their highly sexualized views on to ancient Mid East texts – and on to all women, both ancient and contemporary.
–1950S TIME WARP AND DOUBLE STANDARD–
I remember in the early 1990s, when I was living in Texas, receiving a flier in the mail from a local Baptist church.
Remember, I said EARLY 1990s. I did NOT say “1953.” I would have expected this if it was 1950s, but I was living in the 1990s when this happened.
In this flier, I was put off by a little blurb on the back. The blurb came complete with a clip-art image, a line drawing, that looked 1950ish in style (which was ironic – this was in a flier published in the 90s, not the 1950s), of a woman smiling next to the text. She was wearing lip stick and mascara.
The text contained advice for women, especially married women. The advice told women to stay trim and pretty for their men. There were tips about brushing your hair right before you expected your husband home from work, etc.
I am not opposed to women trying to look nice for themselves or for their husbands, or for men trying to look nice for ladies. That’s all great.
What bothers me is the amount of emphasis placed upon a woman’s physical appearance.
Why didn’t that flier from the local Baptist church advise Christian husbands to work out at the gym every day to develop a hot body for their wives?
I do not see the sources preaching at Christian females to look skinny and pretty to also develop their God-given skills, talents, intellects, or hobbies.
As I’ve talked about before, there is a troubling, one-sided tendency among Christian pastors and authors to blame a woman’s physical appearance for any failing on the part of her spouse:
If your husband strays, looks at porn, or has a drinking problem, pastors or Christian personalities such as Mark Driscoll and Pat Robertson (as I documented in an older post, see one of the links above) tell women it’s their fault.
If your boyfriend or husband strays, has affairs, gets drunk regularly, or looks at porn all day, it must be because you, the wife or girlfriend, are ugly or fat (or both), is what these male Christian pastors and TV hosts tell Christian women constantly.
Interestingly, though, when I read interviews with Christian (and Non Chr) men who have had affairs, or admit to looking at dirty web sites or dirty magazines all day, most of them say their sexual problems have nothing to do with their wives!
The men with the sexual addictions do not say they cheat and stray because the wife is fat and ugly.
I’ve seen some of these men say they think their wives look very attractive and very sexy. They say they stray or look at dirty web sites because they use sex as a means of coping with work-related stress, they say there is no emotional investment or work in getting off to dirty photos, and things of that nature.
If the men with the sexual addiction and sexual sin problems aren’t blaming their wives, or their wife’s physical appearance, or their wife’s performance in the bedroom (and they usually are not), why do the Pat Robertsons, Mark Driscolls, and other male Christians continue to do so?
In my view, even if men with sexual sin habits did blame their women for it (ie, if they said, “my wife is too fat, she sure has let herself go”), I would not accept that excuse for even a second, but I do find it interesting that the men with the sexual addiction hang ups and problems don’t often cite their wives being ugly or fat as a rationale for their porn habits or numerous extra marital affairs.
—EVEN WHEN CORRECTED MALE CHRISTIANS REFUSE TO REPENT–
About four or five years ago, I watched a Christian show, hosted by a married Christian couple.
The topic of that episode was re-marriage and dating for Christians who are over 35 or so years old.
One of their guests was a Christian blonde lady who said Hollywood ideals about romance, love, dating, and marriage have given a lot of Chr people an unrealistic idea about love, marriage, etc.
The blonde guest lady (who herself got re-married later in life and now goes on guest appearances at Christian conventions and churches talking about singlehood), reminded Chr single ladies to stop holding out for “Bat Man” (ie, real cute guy with a cool car).
But, the Guest Lady also held up a plastic Barbie doll and told the Chr men to stop insisting on wanting a 25 year old, stick thin, blonde wife with big boobs.
The Guest Lady said a lot of Chr men have worldly, carnal ideas about women and that they care way, way too much about a woman’s physical appearance. She said that is one reason so many Chr men are remaining never-married into their 40s and beyond.
Guest Lady keeps meeting such Chr men at churches when she goes on speaking tours, and she says (to paraphrase her here) that she’s noticed that often times, even the old, fat, single Chr men demand and expect to marry a stick thin, super hot and sexy 20 year old woman.
And Guest Lady seemed to indicate there are a lot of Christian men like this; it’s an epidemic.
Guest Lady told males watching they are being very unrealistic, unfair, and they will die single (paraphrasing here again).
Despite the fact this Guest Lady admonished unmarried Chr. men to drop the fixation on a woman’s looks (and age), the male (married) co-host totally contradicted everything she had just said!
Right after Guest Lady finished telling male audience members that their pre-occupation on female beauty was wrong, un-biblical, and keeping them single past the age of 35, the Male Co-host turned to his 50 year old Christian male guest and said,
“You got divorced years ago and were single again for a long time. Is it right to say and think that a woman’s looks ARE important to a Christian man? That we as Chr men know we are judged by other Chr mem (and by Non Chr men) by how pretty our wives are?”
And D.G.G. (Divorced Guest Guy) said yes! (D.G.G., if memory serves, also tossed in that old chest nut about men supposedly preferring long hair on women.)
(However, I was a bit disappointed that Guest Lady herself bought into one or two such sexist, outdated cliches’ herself.
She seemed to suggest at one point that if you are a single lady and want a man, that men do seem to prefer long hair, so get busy growing your hair out.)
Anyway, the greater fault was upon D.G.G. and male co-host, who both managed to miss the very points that Guest Lady had just made about Christian men needing to stop obsessing upon a woman’s looks.
Utterly amazing! Even when confronted by a guest expert on the topics of Chr. dating, marriage, etc, that such thinking is sexist, un-biblical, damages women and women’s self esteem, and that such thinking keeps men single forever or past age 40 – these men sat there two seconds later and flatly rejected everything she had just said.
D.G.G. and Male Co-Host managed to under-mine everything Guest Lady had just taught.
—ADAM AND EVE – THEY TEACH EVE WAS A SEXY SEX POT —
I remember reading a book by Christian prophecy author Hal Lindsey around the late 1980s, or in the 1990s, where he made a strange comment about Eve, as in Eve from Genesis.
I believe he made these remarks in his book, “Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth,” and I think I’ve heard him say the same thing on one of his television broadcasts.
I’ve also heard a few other male Christian pastors or personalities make similar comments.
In one of his books, Lindsey was discussing the creation of Adam and Eve. In the midst of this, and I’m sorry I don’t recall his exact words Lindsey says something about how when Adam first saw Eve, he must have thought she was so hot and sexy.
Lindsey also seemed to convey that because God created Eve directly, and that she was the first woman, the Eve must have been the most beautiful woman to ever live. He made it sound as though all women after Eve, including yours truly (blogger Christian Pundit here) are just dogs by comparison.
No, Lindsey did not actually say all women are “dogs” or are ugly, but that was pretty much his point.
Lindsey went on to repeat these comments, about how Eve must have been the most beautiful woman to ever live, in one of his TV broadcasts, and I’ve heard a small number of other male pastors make similar comments about Eve through out the years.
There are two observations I’d like to make about Lindsey’s comments about Eve.
Unless my memory fails me, the Bible does not even mention what Eve looked like or does not describe her as looking like a super model. Lindsey is just assuming she was what most in American culture of today would consider above-average.
Maybe in reality she was just “meh” looking by our standards, but that was good enough for Adam.
Secondly – if you are a male author, host, or preacher who finds it necessary to theorize that Eve must have been the Cindy Crawford (who was a 1980s super model) of the ancient Mid-East, why do you not bring up Adam’s physical appearance too?
Why do the Hal Lindseys of the world not mention, right after discussing Eve’s body and face, something like, “And I bet when Eve saw Adam, she was like ‘Hot damn, is this guy sexy! Full head of hair, broad shouldered, and he has a ‘six pack,’ and he must be six foot four, mama yes, hellooo there sexy, come to me, I like what I see!”
We never hear a peep about Adam’s physical appearance, supposed sexiness, or anything about his sexuality or libido from pastors and Christian authors and bloggers who love to speculate on Eve’s physical appearance, alleged sexual allure, etc.
Nice double standard and myopic vision most of you male Christians have there.
I suspect that most Christian males, and this includes Christian preachers, are uncomfortable admitting to themselves, or to anyone, that women, even Christian ones, are “visual,” that women like good-looking men, and women want to have sex. (But I will save that topic for another post.)
— ESTHER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT —
I have read the book of Esther before. Women back in Esther’s day and culture really had no choice but to do what a king said. If Esther had refused to go and join King Xerxes’ harem, I’m sure he would have (or legally could have) killed her and/or her uncle (or was that guy her cousin?) over her refusal.
But what does douche bag, sexist, and sex-obsessed pastor Mark Driscoll do? In one of his sermons or blogs Driscoll made Esther out to be a whore who wanted to be whisked off to Xerxes’ palace, who wanted to participate in the sexist beauty pageant put on by the king for his pleasure.
What a perverted way to twist a biblical story. Driscoll takes a noble character such as Esther, who did not have a choice but to go to the king’s palace (unless she wanted to die), and accuses her of being a slut.
Others have more eloquently written about Driscoll’s perversion and twisting of Esther and her story than I ever could, so I direct you to their pages, such as this one, by Rachel Held Evans (please note I am not in complete agreement with all of Evans’ views on all topics, but she is right about this):
Esther, Actually: Princess, Whore or Something More – by Rachel Held Evans
My agenda here at this blog is not to always offer point-by-point, intellectual rebuttals to, or deconstructions of, views or writings by sexist pervs such as Driscoll, and preachers like him, but to just expose that he’s even out there preaching this tawdry, twisted, trash, and that it’s part of a larger disturbing trend in the American church.
How anyone can read Esther and read smuttiness into it is beyond me. (Driscoll also did the same thing to the Old Testament book of “Song of Songs.” He turned Song of Songs into an X-rated romp that supposedly admonishes wives to perform oral sex on their hubbies.)
— MALE LOOKS / SEXUALITY OVERLOOKED BY MALE CHRISTIAN PASTORS, AUTHORS (except in narrow circumstances)–
Yet another problematic aspect to this male fixation on female looks and sexuality is that beyond trying to tackle the issues of male porn addiction and male homosexuality, conservative Christians, the males in particular, seldom scrutinize male sexuality.
Maybe you conservative male pastors need to be telling the Christian males listening to your sermons and reading your blogs that they need to abstain from sex until marriage, encourage them to remain thin and sexy for their wives, etc.
(I think Driscoll has occasionally broached some of those topics I just mentioned, but his vulgar comments about sex overall, and his sexist views on women, far out-weigh and over-power any of his half-way decent admonishment to his male listeners to stop porn viewing, etc.)
So, to wrap this up, many conservative Christian males, including, unfortunately, those in positions of more responsibility (i.e., preachers and professional authors) remain obsessed with womens’ bodies, appearances, weight, hair, and sexuality, and these same men sexualize even biblical material that has nothing, or next to nothing, to do with sex – which is very icky.
-And- like the double standard bearers they are, these male- conservative- Christian- laypersons, authors, and preachers rarely opine about the physical looks of men, how women view men, how women view the male physique, and men are seldom told to go on diets, lose the beer guts, get hair transplants if balding, and are not told to look sexy if they want a wife (or to keep the wife they have).
(Link): Weird, Sexist PreOccupation with Female Physical Appearance, Including Christian Males – vis a vis Preacher Doug Wilson
(Link): The Obese, Overly Hairy ‘Erotic Eater’ Guy Should Be The Final Nail in the Coffin of Sexist Complementarian Teachings that Looks Matter Only To Men & That Women Are Oblivious To, or Don’t Care About, What Men Look Like
Please see my recent previous posts on this issue, or ones close to it:
(Link): A Critique of the post “Is It Sexist That Women Twirl?” by Matt Reagan at Desiring God Site
(Link): Typical Incorrect Conservative Christian Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough, Mr. Right will magically appear
(Link): A Response by Colon to Regnerus Re: Misguided Early Marriage Propaganda
(Link): The Nauseating Push by Evangelicals for Early Marriage
(Link): Update on Born Again Virgin Reality Star TV Guy – and Christians and Their Smokin’ Hot Wives
11 thoughts on “The Annoying, Weird, Sexist Preoccupation by Christian Males with Female Looks and Sexuality”
This is so true… I remember at church one young woman was left with a young child because her husband couldn’t love her anymore because she had gained weight. She was abandoned because of that. When I heard her story and the look of sadness in her eyes it broke my heart.
The majority of CH single men in that church were just interested in appearance. When I started to frequent that church no men payed attention to me. I wasn’t stylish and trendy as the others. Before leaving that church I decided to do an experiment. I changed my hair colour, started to wear heavy make up and super stylish clothes. I was very skinny at the time (I suffered from an eating disorder back then). Well, the same men who didn’t pay attention to me before were suddenly interested in me. I was constantly getting phone calls, text messages… I was 25 and it was a changing moment to me. I decided that I didn’t want to marry those kind of men aka CH men.
I remember one very sweet girl whose husband pressured her to IMMEDIATELY get thin again after she had her kids. What a jerk. I’d love to see him go through what she did. Apparently the MEN write the rules in church and adultery is ALWAYS the wife’s fault, because even if the husband looks like a bloated whale it’s the wife who is guilty for gaining two pounds.
@ Patricia Backora
Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I’m sorry about your acquaintance, and yes, her husband sounds like a shallow, selfish jerk. And, unfortunately, and IMHO, much of Baptist / evangelical / some of the Neo Reformed churches play into this and perpetuate it.
They will sometimes say in their blogs or sermons that men should not be so incredibly judgmental about a woman’s looks, but then, five minutes later, the same pastor or Christian author will lecture women to be skinny and look sexy for their spouse.
A lot of Christians speak out of both sides of their mouth on the topic, and it is infuriating.
I do think looks are important to both genders – and I can understand either partner being upset if one puts on a ton of weight after marriage (child birth being a special exception, of course – I would not expect a woman who just had a baby even several months later to be reed thin), but… I think a lot of men, Christian and Non Christian, put far, far too much emphasis on a woman’s looks and age.
And, I notice it’s a one way street:
I have only maybe 2 or 3 times seen or read Christian males advising both single and married men to stay thin (or lose weight), go the gym and work out to look nice for their spouse (or girlfriend, in the case of single men who are dating).
It’s always male Christians (and occasionally Christian gender complementarian female authors) lecturing Christian women (and teen girls) to maintain a super model appearance constantly… but then they have the AUDACITY to tell us women in their next breath that our real value is “in Jesus.”
Christian men are men after all and I bump against a stone recently when reality slapped in the face in the website I told you about.I’m not surprised they are more superficial than other guys because in the back of their heads they are thinking god has a special woman picked for them and she better be pretty, thin and make him look good in public! They would never think their woman may have a small disability or not be all that, but god is also looking out for the woman with a disability happiness ! I happen to have a skin disease that when was disclosed after the 3rd email or so they stopped emailing immediately instead of praying for my healing or at least trying to be friends. Some guy in the forums said that I was just trying to prove that almost 7 billion people in the world would reject me for my condition that is outside of my control! WHY WASN’T HE BANNED? What kind of christian man says this? This crap made me cry for an entire night! My skin condition is called vitligo, it’s not like I was asking these guys anything but at least not to be so rude as to stop emailing all of a sudden, I’m just really confused people can be this superficial when they already liked me and my pictures and everything else…I’m sure god didn’t want me in this site either..I think it’s better people like us stick together and forget about dating…why? it has become way too complicated and it shouldn’t be…
[edit by Christian Pundit, the person who owns the blog: the following sounds like a troll post. The same guy left several, similar posts in the queue, some of which I’ve deleted. I may delete this post later or heavily edit it to remove most content]
I’ve found the older I’ve gotten (30 now), the less looks matter. Of course, that may be somewhat because the older I’ve gotten the less I care what others think about me, and hence what they think about the kind of woman I’m attracted to. And the older I get, the less I find I have anything in common with or care about what is taught in the churches. The pre-occupation in my youth with skinny nearly-anorexic girls was the result of Christian indoctrination and my parent’s preference, not my real thoughts. Turns out I prefer chubby girls, not fat though…I don’t know the best word to use: our stupid society loves black and white, heaven or hell, skinny or fat; they shun any in-betweens, so we have no word for the inbetween on body size so far as I can tell. Anyway, I’m not dating right now, haven’t in nearly 10 years, and even then “dating” didn’t mean what it commonly means in society for me. I don’t know where to even meet a woman considering I can’t any longer stomach churches, and I don’t drink: so with churches and bars being ruled out, and the fact I’m not in school at 30 obviously, where would I meet a woman? Ask out some random waitress? It all seems too complicated. Thanks to Christianity I will always be alone, and maybe its best that. I can’t imagine being with a “worldly” non-Christian slut, and I can’t imagine being with an annoying Christian girl who is always condemning me for caring about morality because she says “justification is by faith alone; you’re a Pelagian and you’re going to hell for trusting in works.” Yeah, I’m a Pelagian and proud of it, and if I have to die a virgin for it, so be it. Its my cross and I’m gonna bear it.
I let this one post of yours show up on the blog, may delete it later or edit it, because I swear to goodness, based on what I’ve seen so far, you sound as though you are trolling my blog, which I don’t appreciate.
Woah… I had no idea some Christians held this view that the majority of Christians are as you say in this post… I didn’t finish reading it, but I know that that is VERY much not what a true Christian should act like, nor is that how it is in my church or with my Christian friends.
As for Ruth and Boaz, Ruth uncovered his feet and lay there and waited for him to wake up. Some people sexualize this because it can sound like biblical innuendo when you realize that in some places in the bible the word for “feet” and “penis” are the same. This is not the case in Ruth, but that IS why they do that. There is (faulty) reasoning.
Ryan, where the hell (pardon my french) did you get the idea that “feet” and “penis” are the same word in the Bible? I’m no great Hebrew scholar despite my preoccupation in my 20s with learning the biblical languages, but this sounds absolutely absurd to me. Your pastor must be a pervert if he’s claiming crap like that.
I’ve heard the theory before. His pastor is not the first or only to mention it. It never sounded convincing to me, or as though it would nullify other passages to remain sexually pure. Here are some pages which discuss it:
“FEET” IN THE HEBREW BIBLE; METAPHORS AND EUPHEMISMS
When is a Foot Really a Penis? And Other Things the Bible Taught Me.
ChristianPundit – We live in a lost adulterous society and women are just as guilty as men. And authentic Christian singles anywhere remotely around our age are astronomically rare. I don’t even consider most of the pastors you mention to be Christians and never listen to them. So when you think about men, try to think about the rare exceptions, not the dime-a-dozen cardboard guys that you can so accurately describe. Think about the ones who are just the opposite — the ones who are not appearance obsessed, the King Arthurs of today. Think about what they’ve endured while waiting as well, the ridicule that has been thrown at them, the insults they have endured, the heartaches they’ve gone through, the derogatory names they have been called, the lonely nights they have gone through, etc. Your guy will have to see hope in your eyes. He will have to see a better tomorrow. Even if the chances of meeting him any particular day are one in a million, always keep in the back of your mind that he could be in your presence at any time.
Thank you for the encouragement.
Just to be clear. I do not look to any pastors as gurus to follow, to base my life choices on, etc. I’m just reporting on troubling views and trends among them that I see from time to time. I also like to vent about them on my blog.
Also sad to say that it’s not just the famous Christian males or pastors who believe this way about women, but I’ve seen plenty of “Average Joe Christian” guys on blogs and forums for Christian singles who say the same stuff, and pretty much among all age groups, from the immature 18 year olds who want Barbie-doll looking wives (which I’d expect from them), to 50 year old divorced fat unattractive guys who also feel entitled to a 20 year old Barbie look alike. (I would expect more from 35, 45, 55 year old men, but they are just as shallow as the 18 year old kids).
I wrote on one of my posts today about a Christian relationship / dating expert kind of woman who speaks at churches year round about dating/ marriage, and she says she all the time runs into Christian single men of all ages, no matter how unattractive they are, still expect and feel entitled to a size two, blonde, chesty, ex-porn star type wife. She says that is one reason lots of Christian men remain unmarried for so long, their entitled egos and unrealistic expectations.
And as I mentioned in my post, many male Christian pastors actually encourage that kind of egotism, entitlement in men, and then turn around and tell Christian women to “look pretty” if they want marriage.
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