Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Don't "fawn over" a man......(vomit)

I'm amazed that whenever I talk to traditional Catholics or visit websites that market themselves to devout Catholics, there seems to be a consensus that fawning over your man is a good thing. It "makes them feel manly" if you're a dainty, "feminine" woman who's "admiring his manhood."

Is there a toilet nearby? I think I need to vomit. I would say shoot myself in the face but A) I refuse to own a gun and B) suicide is bad.

First, I refuse to believe in cookie cutter roles for men and women. I think so called "masculine" traits of protecting the innocent also fit into being a mother (geez, ever heard of "mama bear" syndrome?). Likewise, I think a sense of nurturing helps men to be better gentleman and better fathers. In some cases, if you travel across cultures, including those with separate spheres for men and women, ladies are expected to be tough! I think attaching labels onto people inhibits them from becoming who God intended them to be and that is a grave sin. Actually, in the New Testament, Jesus had very harsh words for people who choose to bury their talents and even harsher words for those who prevented others for getting close to God. To be something other than myself is dishonesty, which is another sin. I thought we, as Catholics, were supposed to guide people to God. You can't get to Him by sinning!

Second, I think excessive ego stroking can be spiritually dangerous. It's one thing to compliment someone on a positive trait they do possess. It's another thing to constantly fawn over someone in an effort to please them. If you love someone, you should be even more motivated to keep them accountable for their transgressions, whether to you, to God, or to other people. In my faith, marriage is about helping the other person get to heaven. You can't get their by sinning! Excessive fawning may actually help them sin and, by helping them sin, you are sinning yourself. In addition, an important spiritual quality, for both genders, is humility. Humility is the act of not acting less than or more than who you are. Fawning over someone excessively does little to promote that.

Third, promoting the idea of man as active leader and woman as passive admirer can also be physically and emotionally dangerous. While people promoting these ideals may condemn intimate partner violence, they don't often realize that abusers may use these images to control their partner. Girls already grow up learning they should please other people. This carries with it devastating consequences, from fearing they cannot stand up for themselves to friends or boyfriends (fueling a lot of the gossip and resentment that poisons relationships) to abusive relationships to eating disorders. While there are devastating consequences for men (feeling they need money to buy love, feeling they can never win a girl by being "nice"), the women unfortunately pay huge prices. For some reason, I don't think this is what God had in mind for men and women. I think God created us to be creatures of integrity, which involves courage, strength, humility, and kindness from all parties.

There are many requirements that Catholics and other Christians have to follow to attain a better world on this planet and salvation in the next life. Conforming to outmoded gender roles is not only unmentioned, it can actually prevent those two things from occurring. I strongly urge all Christians and, really, all people of faith, to seriously consider these, whether you believe in specific roles or not. I don't live my life for a man, I live my life to make the world a better place, whether or not I have a loving companion by my side. If we focused on attaining that, we really could set the world on fire.

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