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):
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): 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: