“Your desire shall be for your husband.”

3rd December 2022

Of course it wasn’t only masculinity that got broken. The media talks about “Toxic Masculinity” because it is loud, in your face and obvious. Because it kills men by suicide and women by violence, because to be honest, we’re getting sick of defending it, phrases like “locker room banter” and “boys will be boys” no longer wash

There is no such phrase as “Toxic Feminininty” we don’t hear so much about broken femininity, because it isn’t so loud, it doesn’t exert power and control, it doesn’t kill and maim, grab genitals* or justify its own bad behaviour.

No, broken femininity justifies the behaviour of toxic masculinity.
Broken femininity is Aunt Lydia from the Handmaid’s Tale.
It is Debi Pearl
It is “biblical womanhood”

After the fall our desire will be for our husband (or to get a husband). As women we will centre our lives around men, not God. Our hearts desire will no longer be to please God but to please men, we will not seek God’s approval but men’s approval, we will not desire God’s company but men’s company, and we will not look to God to be our very present help in times of need, but to men. We will make men our idol.

And, as with Toxic Masculinity we see this throughout our culture. Both Christian Purity Culture and Sexualised secular culture teach young girls how to be attractive to a man; how to get a husband. Be it through virginity, purity and being demure or through the right make up, the right kissing technique or the art of being an “angel in the streets and a demon in the sheets” the goal is the same: get and keep a man.

So much of our lives revolve around men, although we deny it, our obsession with botox and collagen and fillers and plucking and waxing and pinching in and pushing up and never ever ever visibly growing old, is about men. We may say “I’m doing it for myself” but that’s utter nonsense, why would anyone stuff toxic chemicals into their face “for themselves” why would anyone tear their hair out from the follicles “for themselves” unless they’re a masochist! We put ourselves through pain because we want to look attractive, and why do we want to look attractive? For men!

Our desire for men goes further. I will hold my hands up, I have been guilty of putting my relationship with my husband/boyfriend/partner before God. Not doing so is something I have to work at. I, like many other women, have invested my happiness in my relationship, and I’ve had to learn to lean on God, not fallible humans.

And how much do we defend men when they are wrong? Look at the cultural tropes we have of women being home-wreckers, bunny boilers and sluts. How often when a man has an affair do we blame the woman? “She seduced him” “He couldn’t help himself.” Look at this case as an example: a 44 year old teacher had sex with his 16 year old pupil and the judge gave him only a suspended sentence because “she groomed him” The judge. A Woman!

Women are the worst criticisers of women. Although I generally recommend steering clear of the comments section, have a read of the comments on any news story about any man abusing a child and you will find dozens of women asking “well where was the mother?” the worst slut shaming, fat shaming and body shaming is carried out by women. That’s broken femininity. Broken femininity urges us to put up with abuse, to know our place, to “lie back and think of England”

The fall caused broken-ness in our relationships. Sin has broken both masculinity and femininity, the result is that we hold unrealistic expectations of ourselves and of each other based on sinful notions of what masculinity and femininity look like. One of the results of that is Domestic Abuse. The good news is that we aren’t supposed to remain broken. God provided a healer for that broken-ness, and if we work together as partners, as equals, with Jesus as our centre and our model for masculinity, we CAN fix it. But it takes all of us, male and female, reflecting God’s image.

16days #16daysofactivism #orangetheworld

*Although sometimes it DOES grope men. Sometimes we respond to broken masculinity by copying it’s behaviour, by saying “if the boys can do it I can too” that’s a post for another day.