By Ryan Hoselton
All men have in some fashion entertained or acted upon the idea that women exist for their pleasure. Believing it has only given men dissatisfaction and misery, and it has provoked objectification, hatred, and even violence toward women. Because Elliot Rodger believed that women exist for his pleasure, he went on a killing spree in Santa Barbara. Christians should not miss this opportunity to declare loudly that this belief about women is damaging and evil. While it is certainly true that women are also guilty of wrongdoing against men, this article serves mainly to address men. God desires to reform the false thinking about women that so many men in this world have swallowed and tolerated.
In reaction to the monstrous rampage, women and men have flooded Twitter feeds with the #YesAllWomen hash tag to join the protest against the misogyny and abuse of women. Many women felt comfortable to use the 140 character limit to share their stories of abuse, some for the first time ever. The demographic of the response on Twitter shows that wrongdoing against women occurs at every level of society—in fast food kitchens and law offices, in homes and even in churches.
God gave Eve to Adam as gift to be cherished and loved. God established equality between the male and female by creating each in his image, and he commanded them to represent his love and righteousness in their relationship and in their dominion over creation. But ever since the fall in which the human race rebelled against God, the sexes have perpetrated horrendous crimes against the other. Both mentally and physically, men have made women objects to satisfy their sinful desires.
By the Renewal of the Male Mind
When I became a Christian, my view of women changed dramatically. God summoned me to die to my former ways of thinking and to submit my mind to his will and goodness. Paul tells the Christians in Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Christian men most of all should take seriously how God wants them to treat women who bear God’s image. He calls us to abandon damaging beliefs about women that are grounded in the idea that they exist to please men.
Women don’t exist for men to stare at:
Women are not “eye candy” to “check out.” Female beauty is not intended for men to ogle. How many magazines, movies, websites, and clubs exist for the sole purpose for men to stare at women as sexual objects? Maybe you don’t frequent these mediums, but how often have you taken a second look at the female joggers in your rear view window? Your stares make women feel uncomfortable, dehumanized, and creeped out.
Women do not exist for male “game”
Our culture celebrates the men who “got game” but got terrible grammar. “I’m a pimp,” many men proudly claim. Do you compare yourself with other men based on the amount of women you get? Do you assign a number to women between one and ten, evaluating their value as a person on their hotness? Have you found yourself treating the prettier girls nicer? If so, you view women as pieces in your cruel game and you need to stop.
Women don’t exist to boost male self-esteem
Men should not depend on women to determine their value. It drove Elliot Rodger mad and it will make you miserable as well. Every man will face rejection from a female in his lifetime. If this makes you feel lonely, worthless, or angry, you have a wrong view of women. Women don’t exist to affirm you by laughing at your jokes, thinking you’re cool, or responding to your flirtation.
This list could go on and on. Of course few men would ever say that women exist for his pleasure, but consider whether your eyes, words, and actions speak differently to women.
For Christians, the place to start renewing our thoughts and actions about the other gender should begin in the home and the church.
In the home: First of all, the husband must love his wife and treat her honorably. He must learn to have a righteous pleasure in her body alone, not as a sexual object to control for personal satisfaction but as a gift from God to cherish and serve. He leads his home with tenderness and grace rather than abuse and force. Fathers have the responsibility to teach their sons how to view and treat the other gender rightly. Children observe how their father communicates and acts with their mother. They watch their father’s eyes in the car and they listen to the words he whispers about other women at the store. They can tell if their mother feels loved and protected by him or demeaned and afraid. If you don’t teach your sons to think rightly about women through your example and your words, someone else will.
In the church: In High School I was way more concerned about the girls in my youth group than I was about worshipping God. Sadly, it seems that some churchgoers never outgrew this mentality. Men in the church should exemplify to the world that God has transformed our hearts and minds to love our female neighbors as God intends. The church is a great place to meet a spouse, but not a place to work your game. Christian men should not covet their neighbor’s wife (Exodus 20:17). The church should especially be a place where women feel respected and safe, and the conduct of the men has an enormous impact making in this possible.
In the workplace or other social settings: A Christian mentality about women should carry over from the home and church into other spheres of society. God calls Christian men to model right treatment of women to their co-workers, friends, and the general public. Don’t use your work position as power to manipulate attractive women. Avoid harmful coarse joking in the break room. Don’t strut your manhood with a demeaning Alpha male machismo demeanor and speech. Christ interacted with women with care, gentleness, equity, and respect, and we should follow his example.
If you are a Christian, the Bible says that you are no longer a slave to your former foolish and sinful desires. Don’t enslave women to those former desires either.
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