An Ode to the Y Chromosome

Disclaimer: This is not a literal “ode.” My apologies to any disappointed lovers of lyrical, sung poetry. Many thanks to Amanda for letting me Think Out Loud this week.

Thinking-Out-Loud

One of the primary motivations for starting this blog was to encourage young women and publish content that they could identify with. I feel like I’ve failed to reach the opposite sex though. Maybe I just don’t know how, but I think a better explanation would be that healthy living bloggers are predominately female and our audience is predominately female as well. As a result, our posts are often geared toward women. While I am not equipped to start writing for men (I mean…I could try, but it wouldn’t be very good), I can write about the men in my life who cracked the neat stereotypes that have been built up around the male population, one of those stereotypes being that men are idiots and another that men are autocratic, cocky jerks.

The most influential men in my life (my father, two brothers, and two incredible teachers from my middle school and high school years, to name a few) don’t fit either of the aforementioned stereotypes. These men have changed the way I think about the world. They have listened to me, cared about me, respected me.

feminismquote1They weren’t domineering or controlling or stupid. They were compassionate and intelligent and thoughtful. Those qualities are often overlooked. It seems like, in an effort to advance women’s rights, we demonize men, which isn’t fair. I am really trying to avoid sweeping generalizations. Of course not every woman does this, and stereotypes are based on an element of truth. However, we should be cautious about the way we advocate for equality. It shouldn’t be us against them. When we become passionate about injustice, we try to find a common enemy to unite against. I think when we take that approach, it is not only harmful, but it’s ineffective too. That isn’t feminism. That is the antithesis of feminism. If feminism is defined as the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, which it is, then we all should push for that. But it goes against every sense of the word when we elevate one gender and demean the other. Which means that men most definitely should be feminists too. Female and feminist are not mutually exclusive terms.

I’ve thought about this a lot, and I realized these examples of strong men in my life have been one of reasons I’m comfortable with being single. I’ve seen how strong, kind men can add so much goodness to a relationship. I’ve also seen how unloving, unkind, and domineering men can create an abusive and hostile relationship.

I crave that relational integrity, which means that I’m willing to wait for someone who possesses those essential characteristics, characteristics that make a strong man. And I don’t mean physical macho strength, although that’s nice too. It’s a totally unique strength, one that is often interpreted as weakness. Compassion, humility, empathy, and grace are often viewed as “wimpy” characteristics, but men can, and do, most definitely foster these traits. And they are by no means signs of weakness. It takes extraordinary strength to embody them.

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So I’m okay with waiting. And while I wait, I know I need to spend time developing my own characteristics too. It’s a give and take kind of thing. I realize that no man will perfectly model those characteristics, just like I’ll never perfectly model the qualities I hope to grow in myself. We have to focus inwardly before we point fingers at the imperfections of others, and I think an inward focus lends itself to that relational integrity and societal equality we strive for.


No questions today, just thoughts. 

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15 thoughts on “An Ode to the Y Chromosome

  1. I’m a lot older (not so sure about the wiser part). And even though I got married young — not something I ever planned on! — and have been married a long time — one thing I know for sure is that you have to be comfortable being on your own, whether you’re in a relationship or not. And it sounds like you’re already there.

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    1. That is so true. I had a teacher who once told our class that we shouldn’t try to find someone who completes us, but instead, look for someone who compliments us. I always think of her words when people talk about being comfortable on our own before we dive into a romantic relationship.

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  2. Whoooaaa. This is awesome, Evangeline. You hit on something very important. Like racism, sexism can also be used in a way that ends up not making things equal but rather just tipping the scales in the opposite direction. Some of the most influential people in my life are men. Just like you – my father and my two older brothers. And it just so happens that my two favorite/most life changing teachers growing up were men. Grade 5 and grade 8. Each of these men inhibit traits of understanding, empathy and compassion, and yet I would never EVER EVER put the word “weakness” even close to their name. They are extremely supportive to their wives and those around them. Its beautiful to see, and makes me very thankful. There is absolutely no rush getting into a relationship (with whatever sex). I’ve lived most of my life single (“what happened to miss independent….”) and now that I’m with Dan, I do not even think about the male vs female thing. I just think that I’ve found a person, an energy source, that fits with mine and whom we want to support and encourage as we go through our lives. In fact, I think I tend to “wear the pants” in the relationship more often that him 😉

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    1. Thanks for that reminder, Cora. Even though I’m comfortable with where I am right now, it’s so nice to have the reassurance that relationships needn’t be rushed. You described your relationship with Dan so beautifully. (That’s just you though. You’ve got a way with words ❤ )

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  3. AMEN! I am so thankful that God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone’ and that He suited us so perfectly to work together, to compliment one another. My dad and my brother are some of my best friends, and I’m so thankful that they have taught me a lot about strength, courage, compassion, tenderness, and non compromising love for others. ❤ THANK YOU Evangeline for this. You struck the balance so well.

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  4. Excellent observation! I wish more young women had that rational, truly independent view. While being in a healthy relationship can enhance life and add joy, there is no rush (or shouldn’t be) to to find one at a young age or to be always in a relationship if you’re not married. If a person can’t find peace and joy in a relationship with just them and God, it’s unlikely that adding another person is going to improve things. Most of my favorite people in my life have been men and I’m blessed in that none of them has ever been interested in holding a person back or limiting her because she’s female. I’m grateful for all the strong men I’ve had in my life and for those who still add flavor and stimulation to it today. It’s especially rewarding to me that, in this time of life, three of them are my sons.

    Thanks for those worthy thoughts!

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    1. I absolutely love your thoughts here. I agree that a romantic relationship shouldn’t be a top priority, especially not early on in life. It’s such a unique thing, and I think we have to be careful about how quickly we rush into one. One of my teachers told me something that will always stick with me. She said that we should look for someone who compliments us, not for someone who completes us. I think her point is that we can never find the latter because no one, accept Christ, can really “complete us.” That’s something we have to work on by ourselves and as we grow in our relationship with the Father.

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  5. I’m all for men being feminists! That’s why I’m frustrated when people say they oppose feminism because men are also subjected to sometimes harmful gender roles and stereotypes; I’m like, feminists care about that stuff too! Glad you have so many awesome guys in your life. 🙂

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  6. Very thought provoking Evangeline. I’d say the men in my life have proven to me that they are human. They have great qualities and not so great qualities and that has taught me to love unconditionally, always forgive, but also stand up for myself and what I believe in. I think that some forms of male oppression can stem from a loving desire to protect. That doesn’t make it ok, but it makes it easier to forgive and understand.

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    1. That’s a good point. Men and women are most definitely human and inherently flawed. Our response to those flaws is important, love and forgiveness, and also recognizing we’re imperfect too. I see where you’re coming from, oppression stemming from a desire to protect, but honestly, I think if a man really loves a woman, he isn’t going to oppress her because he values her enough to give space. Does that make sense?

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  7. Great post and very well said! I have some strong male influences throughout my life and they have shown me good and bad. It’s a constant reminder of the importance to learn from our mistakes, love quickly, forgive easily, and work toward harmony rather than opposition.

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