Promote healthy interaction between men and women
Growing up many of us were taught to respect women and never hit a woman. The general rule was that even if a woman slapped you or hit you, you did not hit back. Women were delicate – and as the Bible refers, the “weaker vessel” in terms of physical strength. Many of us may not have lived according to those rules 100 percent, but we accepted them as the right and honorable way to behave.
Many things have evolved and changed in the past decade or so and from my vantage point some of the changes that are happening today are counterproductive to our advancement. I have spoken about this issue many times, but it seems the more we talk about it the further it goes in the wrong direction. Women were usually focused on beauty and gentleness and the finer aspects of their nature. What is happening now is that women are increasingly being portrayed as action figures, violently engaging with men in movies and sometimes in real life.
I do not believe this is a good trend. We are asking men to respect women to treat women with respect and to not abuse women, yet we have portrayals of women beating up men and fighting side by side or against men. This is not to say that women are not capable of defending themselves or should be defending themselves in certain circumstances, the issue is what message are we sending to developing young ladies and men? The truth is men are designed to be more physically strong than women. There are exceptions but there is no denying that on balance, men are overwhelmingly the stronger gender. We are saying on one hand do not abuse women, do not hit a woman and on the other hand portraying women as action heroes pummeling men into submission as a form of entertainment. Is this a good message we are sending?
I believe the message needs to go out and go out clearly, that our mothers and sisters and aunts and grandmothers are not designed to be fighting men and engaged as either killers or protectors who act violently as a matter of course. I believe women should be taught how to protect themselves against violence and to be able to defend themselves, but should not be portrayed as fighters who are beating up men, because it is on balance an unrealistic portrayal and we risk having children growing up not respecting the “rules of engagement” that were long established that said you do not hit a woman and women do not go after men to fight them.
Some might say I need to get with the times, but when something does not make sense time does not change it; or the people who are trying to redefine men and women according to their own design cannot change what is a reality of nature. Let’s just face the fact that men and women are very different and are ideally designed for different roles. A man can want to have a baby in the worst way, but that option is not available to him. He may want to breastfeed, but that option is not available either. A woman may want to impregnate another woman, but that option is not available. Women were not born to fight men. The physical differences in strength, muscle mass and athletic ability is undeniable.
I hope this trend of women being increasingly cast into roles where they are fighting with men or beating men up is reversed. It is not healthy and is unrealistic. In an age where there is increasing focus on protecting and respecting women we should be promoting healthy interaction of women and men.
I am not asking for agreement because as always, my perspective is a “kingdom” perspective. We know that Jesus said God wanted his “kingdom” to come to earth as it is in heaven, so there are “kingdom” principles that govern life that ensure optimum living. For example, the Bible states: “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” – 1 Timothy: 5. In this case the apostle Paul was mentoring young Timothy and encouraging him to treat both men and women with respect according to their gender and roles in life.
We have enough violence today involving young men, we do not need women to be encouraged to do battle with men or to pursue combat. Let us seek to “silence the violence” and “increase the peace” especially for the precious women in our lives.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.