"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
I am absolutely sick unto death of the unloving, uncharitable, unhelpful, and disrespectful manner in which the sexes have come to treat one another of late.
I haven't the slightest idea where "obviously it's just her time of the month" and "if you want it done right, ask a woman" come from, in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps Genesis 3. Is this stuff as old as the hills? I don't know, but it needs to end.
Single Dad Laughing wrote about this yesterday from the perspective of how men treat women, and what message is communicated. Check this out:
It is not the impossibly air brushed females on magazine covers who are causing women to hold themselves against a standard of perfection. No, it's not that at all. Holy crap. Why am I just realizing this? Why doesn't anybody seem to realize this?
It is the men that stop and look at those magazines.
It is because of us, guys. It is because we leave them with no other option. We stop. We look. We comment. We joke. We implant those very thoughts into their way of thinking. We make sure they know that we agree with everything the media has brainwashed us to believe beauty to be.As far as women constantly comparing themselves to other women and feeling worthless, I think he's maybe a little too hard on himself, but it's his confession, so I'll let him have it. I do want to point out, however, that women can be very, very hard on each other, even when there are no men directly involved.
Nonetheless, the point I'm making here is about opposite genders. So, I headed off to a meeting last night just after I'd read the Single Dad Laughing post above, and so maybe it was in my head a bit. But at the meeting, we got to discussing an entirely different church building that is very poorly designed. Think about if you had a split level house with the only bathrooms on the bottom level and the only living room-type area on the top level. It is pretty poorly designed, I'll admit. But as the group (5 women, 3 men) was lamenting this issue that doesn't even involve any of them, one of the women in the group declared that, "Obviously, it must have been designed by men." The other women at the table all laughed and agreed (and I'm trying to remember - I think I just sort of awkwardly laughed), and the men shut up, and shut down. I didn't really evaluate it in the moment; the fact that the whole thing even happened only really hit me after I got home.
But once I got home, I couldn't stop thinking about it. What a terrible thing to say, especially in mixed company, but really at all. The three men that were there last night are the epitome of "good guys." They are hard-working, dedicated, steadfast members of the church and of their community. They care about and take care of their friends and family. They are smart. They aren't perfect, but they're decent people.
And this isn't the only time I've heard or been party to such statements. At the last Starbucks I worked at, the drive-through, and how it was designed with regard to the parking lot and main street running past the building, was really not very thought out. There was one woman who would come through the drive-through every day, and every day complain about how horrible it was, and then say, "A man must have designed it." Finally I got to the point where I said something like, "Oh, I don't know if I'd say that..." and she responded with, "I would."
So much of the media, particularly TV and movies, portray men as losers who can barely get themselves out of bed in the morning, much less be good husbands and dads. They are all shown as stupid and lazy and focused entirely on beer and sex, barely evolved cavemen who just don't "get it".
But I know a lot of good husbands and dads. I know lots of smart, hardworking, loyal, loving men - married or not - who are doing their level best each and every day. They get up early and they go to bed late. They work hard every day, and come home to have lunch with their wife and kids. Once they've got all their own crops harvested, they help the neighbors get theirs in before the snow flies. They stay up all night with sick kids, and cook dinner for the family. They sacrifice their own needs and desires for the sake of those they care about. They're on every committee at church, and do stuff that's not technically under the purview of their committees, just because it needs to be done. They open doors for women and hug crying kids. They drive a friend 95 miles to the emergency room. They are good and decent people.
And I know lots of single women - myself included - who continually lament the fact that "there are no good men out there." But what do we think happens to them - all those "good guys" in the last paragraph - when the message we continually feed them is that they're worthless? And it's not just in the media - it's around our kitchen tables, with them sitting right there, listening. We can all laugh it off, because "they know we're just kidding," but eventually, it has to start hitting home. Eventually, they're going to start asking themselves, "Is that what they really think of us?"
Is it, ladies? Is that what we really think of our brothers and husbands, friends and dads, coworkers and community members?
I'll go all "confessional" like Single Dad Laughing, and just apologize right here to all my brothers - known and unknown - that I've run down and denigrated in the name of humor or frustration or social acceptability. I'm sorry that I didn't exercise a little pastoral authority at the kitchen table last night and let the ladies know that treating men that way is not okay. I'm sorry that I've contributed to destruction of men by actually being okay with - or letting people think I'm okay with - insulting and degrading men. For these offenses I am heartily sorry, and I beg your forgiveness.
Ladies, let's stop destroying our men. But more importantly, let's all of us stop destroying each other. God gave us each other for good - to help, love, and support each other. Let's do that, okay?