It’s controversial you know. When you criticize or denounce acceptable behaviors or common mindsets. Whether your circle is your race, your family, or your denomination, calling people out is an understood no-no.
And this is why abuse continues. I’m specifically focusing on the theme of a FB post that I liked so much that I shared in my news feed yesterday. The article, “If You Want to Protect Your Daughters, Raise Better Sons”, caught my attention as a mother of four sons and two daughters. Please read it. For some the theme of double-standards will resonate. Others of you will be intrigued as you get a peek into the lives of people whose background may be different than your experience. Don’t let the picture of a black male and black woman deter you. The problem goes beyond race. It’s an issue of gender and family culture.
This particular paragraph made me angry–actually a few did, but you’ll get my point:
Eventually, I would grow old enough to identify the double standard in how my parents were parenting us. My mother’s justification remained that the boys could physically take care of themselves and that made parenting them generally easier, less hands on. Girls, on the other hand, well, raising them came with a lot of concerns, challenges even. Girls could end up pregnant, end up whores, end up abused, end up kidnapped, etc.February 3, 2020 | By Arah Iloabugichukwu
The speaker goes on to explain a cultural and generational epidemic that left her blamed and beaten when she got pregnant at age twelve after being assaulted. The injustice she experienced at the hands of her mother makes my blood boil.
As a lay minister who has helped people process emotional wounds and tear down unhealthy mindsets, I know what it has taken for this woman to speak out. Courage. Encouragement. What angers me–grieves me are the factors that keep such an ungodly mindset ingrained in family systems. This culture of double-standards must be changed.
Men have to stop make excuses for their behavior. This means that yes, as a society, we have to put aside the views of experts who endorse a lack of restraint for our human appetites. Virtues like kindness, respect, and self-control must trump hormones and ego. Our souls–mind, will, and emotions, must be seen has broken parts of us that need renewing, submitting, and healing in order for moral virtues to be attained. A boy who is raised to ignore his tender emotions, promote his self-focused will, and believe that part of being male is looking at and touching what does not belong to him will perpetuate this epidemic, and in my eyes, be less than human–at least human according to what I believe is God’s intent. Similarly, a girl who is raised not only like this unfortunate woman, but also with a belief that being unashamed about your body means letting it all hang out, is degraded to being seen as primarily a physical and tangible (touchable) being. However, it’s her spirit that is her truest self. Not to say that the physical body is evil–I write about this in my upcoming book, Culture Changers, but the truth is, our physical bodies are so significant that they are to be respected yet not catered to. We have to teach our sons–and daughters this.
I mentioned God’s intent for humanity. These days this idea needs explaining. In short, over time the verse “created in the image of God”, has been subverted by the idea that human beings are evolving, self-sustaining creatures who have the right to adopt whatever image they will. Yes, part of this is true. We have free will. There are many images out there that we can adopt. However, the significance of what male (Heb. zakar) and female (Heb. neqebah) were intended to be has been nullified since…well since the Garden of Eden. Are you surprised that I go back this far? Like you, I can cite more recent contributors–male chauvinism, American slavery, and Darwin’s theory, all of which influenced our misunderstanding about what being a man or being a woman should be. God’s intent is key. We must retrieve what was lost when the fruit was eaten.
God’s intent for us (zakar and neqebah), is to represent His beneficence and stewardship towards His design and intent. In other words, both men and women are to regard themselves and each other with goodness and care. A man who treats himself with what he deems as good yet in doing so, is not caring for or respecting the soul health of a woman, is actually not doing good in the eyes of our Creator. The same is true if the subject is a woman. As a mother, I need to care for and respect the soul health of my sons, which means no double standards in our house.
Many people have written about this epidemic. It’s the foundation of gang rape, #metoo, and the 2020 Super Bowl half-time show (I did not watch, just read about). I hope that this conversation moves from social media posts to dinner tables and family room sofas.
I don’t blame the perpetuators per se. Society is dealing with generations of dads, moms, grandmothers, brothers, and peers who have probably never been presented with how wrong–how demonic, their “boys will be boys” thinking is. In the article, the speaker’s brothers may have gotten kudos from their friends and enjoyed moments of ecstasy, but I will tell you, their souls became more and more in bondage.
Let’s protect our daughters AND our sons by modeling virtue in our speech, our manner, our decisions, and our actions. Not only can family systems be freed from destructive mindsets, but our society–over time, can become full of “kind-hearted, compassionate, committed young men, the kind of men our communities need”.