A Swanson Or A Haverford? – The Inescapable Violent Nature of Men

ImageMen,  are you not offended by society’s persistent typecasting of you as barely leashed vessels of violence? Why does there appear to be no push back?

Is it that it gives men license to hand themselves over to desire, regardless of consequences? That it allows them to play dress-up as the knight in shining armor?

Yesterday I shared, via facebook and twitter, this video that deeply frustrated me (avoid the comment section at all costs). I touched on my exasperation with the myth of the “uncontrollable beast incapable of withstanding the sight of ankles and a push-up bra”. Society [read church] insists upon deeming all men as aggression-driven beings.

Apparently there are only two options.

Option 1: Give in to your inescapable violent nature and become a physical/sexual threat to all women you encounter.

Option 2: Channel your inescapable violent nature into a desire to defend and protect the poor and easily victimized women in your life.

Good Christian men choose option 2, right?

You have a nature that cares for justice, mercy and defense of the innocent? AWESOME. So do I! And I don’t even have a penis! Go figure. Some men are not physically strong, excessively brave or yearning for adventure (no matter what John Eldredge might tell you). Guess what. It doesn’t mean those men have a vagina!

My desire to serve and defend others isn’t rooted in some patriarchal (or matriarchal) belief that a sub-set of people are innately inferior to myself. My femininity is not intrinsically linked with my ability or opportunities to protect. Nor should it be the case with a man’s masculinity.

[note: I take issue with the subjective and poorly defined terms femininity and masculinity but will save that for another day]

I’m not looking for my hero. I’m looking for a partner. A man who acknowledges and celebrates the autonomy I have over my own personhood. You want to turn me off? Treat me like a wilted flower. I am no one’s wilted flower. I’m not a damsel in distress. My ability to feel loved and treasured by my God doesn’t require feeling “precious and breakable” in the hands of a man.

I was recently reading and consequently abandoned the book, “To Be Told” by Dan B. Allender. PhD (for what that’s worth).

The book had me gnashing my teeth from the get-go but the final straw…

“Even the nonpromiscuous single experiences widowhood. She is single to some degree because she has not been chosen. In our couples-based world, it is agonizing to attend parties, sit at church, or go shopping and know that no one is committed to you. You realize as you climb the stairs to your apartment that no one will turn the light on for you or make sure the house is clear of intruders. When taking the car to the garage, you know that no one will help hold the mechanic accountable to not rip you off. And who will take you to work while your car is being repaired? Beyond these practical challenges, a bed has two sides, but there is only one person to take the favored spot. On countless matters, the single woman bears the same pain as a widow, but with the additional heartache of not having been chosen.”

slut shaming.

Heteronormative.

Sexist.

The fundamentalist trifecta!

As a “defenseless woman in a cruel world” I must choose among these two types? The violent intruder or Rambo my protector? I’d feel a whole lot safer in my world if I was encouraged to take a page out of Buffy, Xena, Katniss and Wonder Woman’s playbook: Men, good and bad, will come in and out of your life. Learn to stand on your own two feet and, if you so desire, find a partner who’s willing to stand beside you. Not in front of you.

There are a whole helluva lot more legitimate reasons to love my partner than his ability to “protect” me or the knowledge that OH YIPPEE! HE CHOSE ME! Your partner is more than just a warm body – there to do the “man” things. He (if you choose a “he”) is more than his brawn.

Women are more than their sexuality. Despite the myth society would sell us. Men are more than their strength. Despite the myth society would sell them.

You are you. Just as God intended you to be. Just as you desire to be. Just as you are.

Maybe that makes you a Ron Swanson.

But… maybe you’re a Tom Haverford

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