In my rally to become a better Sister in Christ, my current venture is to confront the oddities between the genders directly. If you saw my last post you know it bothers me when men and women act afraid of one another. We see each other as objects of lust, fearful of being preyed upon or accused of impropriety, when the intention to love gracefully is the actual motivator in relationships.
While there have definitely been times when a person has gone out of their way to trap, seduce, manipulate and harm, my belief is that most of us are not really interested in owning each other. What we really want is connection. And the deepest, most satisfying forms of connection are mutual between equals.
Unfortunately, many men who grew up in purity culture have absorbed the message that they are dangerous, lustful beasts who can't control their own minds and bodies (e.g. "Boys will be boys."). Even without a single misstep they have condemned themselves for their own attractions, noticing sexual allure, and admiring beauty. But here's the truth: testosterone is not inherently sinful. It's just part of a drive to connect.
So the next time I get that vibe that some dude is afraid of me, I think I'm going to ask him, "Hey, this seems weird. What's going on? Who are you afraid of… me or you? Is this fear founded?" If not, let's do better.
Unsplash: Sander Weeteling