admiring female beauty: is that “lust” for, or the objectification of women?

Guys:

Let us not reflexively listen to the feminists on this question, but, rather use a little common sense here.

Men notice quite readily and do appreciate and admire women’s beauty.  There is no question about that.  Can a man enjoy the sight of female beauty without in his mind and heart “lusting” after that beautiful “object”?  Let us briefly explore this as nowadays, more often than before, men are being called out over this and are even being shamed or vilified for their natural reactions to seeing beautiful women.

Bear in mind, that the sex hormones (androgens, including testosterone) that course through our arteries are some of the most powerful brain chemistry altering bio-chemicals known.  As well, the male brain in humans is hard wired differently than the female brain (at least that is what the neuroscientists tell us).  So, yes, visual stimuli (the beauty of the female body form, and/or the pleasing lines and curves of a woman’s face) can and does affect males in an immediate and deep or profound way.  (During those years when the hormones truly are raging as in the mid to late teens and early 20s, such intense visual stimuli can rapidly cause a young man’s body to prepare for sex, and thus he often gets an unwanted or untimely erection.)

But, is the double take, or even a little staring in wordless awe at a beautiful woman’s appearance, on a public sidewalk downtown at lunch time in the spring or summer, or along the boardwalk at the beach while on holiday, lust?  And, could this reaction lead to an objectification of women in our minds?

The short answers are no, and not necessarily.  Stay with me here.

In the Western world, we have distorted the meaning of the term lust over the centuries.  Sadly, now the word lust for many people indicates any and all things related to sex and sexuality.  Thus, mere sexual arousal or simply thinking about sex are deemed to be “lustful” and, by not a few churches, sinful.  (We have previously addressed this in an essay on this blog.)  But, in the more original sense of the term, lust involves covetousness, or the desire to possess the object that one is lusting or hankering for.  And, that is why lust is correctly classed as one of the 7 “deadly” sins because, if not checked, it can motivate a person to commit very grave, harmful, destructive sins.  If a man does lust in his heart for a woman and allows that desire to possess to motivate him to actions to obtain that person he wants, he goes on to commit adultery or fornication, (if he can charm or seduce the woman he desires) or in more extreme cases, he commits violent sexual assault and rape.  The key here is how the individual man reacts internally, and that depends on how he consciously chooses to react to the sight of a beautiful woman.

The bottom line is that a man or even adolescent male can appreciate, admire and enjoy the sight of a beautiful woman without necessarily lusting after or for her, or objectifying her in his mind and heart.  I see beautiful, attractive women from time to time out in public and even as I note and enjoy the sight of their physical beauty, I do not lust after them.  Those beautiful women that I am acquainted with through work or social life, and I know them to be good women, I respect and admire them for their qualities and achievements in their various roles of wife, mother and working woman (in that order, by the way).

As to female beauty, if only women’s attitudes, dispositions and personalities were as pleasing in these terrible times . . . if only.  But, that is a topic for another time.

 

 

other related thoughts

Men and masculine traits and characteristics are under frequent, even constant attack in our toxic society today.  We all know this, so we do not need to fool or deceive ourselves here.  We can be honest with ourselves and each other.

Do not base your feelings of self-worth or self-esteem on the approval of others, that kind of thinking is for the school yard and for immature children.  The test or challenge in life is often in the form of choices to do what is right and moral versus doing popular things which are often not right nor moral.  The lesson here is to do the right (moral) thing even when it is unpopular to do so.

No man ought to allow himself to become so beaten down psychologically and emotionally (and, dare I say, spiritually, too) that he begins to reject and detest his own masculine traits and qualities.  (The Christian churches here, both Catholic and Protestant, have much to answer for in this regard as these have too often pandered to the feminists and feminist thinking.)  It really sickens me to see Beta (or worse) males effectively pandering to pushy, aggressive, self-righteous, feminist women.  These “men” have been beaten down psychologically or they were always weak psychologically.  (Avoid these feminist women, do not date or court them, and woe to any man who is foolish enough to wed such a woman.)

Think positive about your natural masculine nature and masculine qualities.  Do not be ashamed of yourself for being a man!  Do not let anyone try to put you to shame for your natural masculinity.

That said, we are not saying that it is okay to be brutish, a lout, an oaf, lacking in manners and/or personal hygiene, addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, etc.  Work at bettering yourself, take your responsibilities seriously, work at being a good, loving husband to your wife, and a good, loving father to your children.  You can be a role model or hero in your family and circle of friends, and in your local church, and community.

Next post, we will address some other societal issues of concern.  Stay tuned.

copyright 2019 – larrysmusings.com

15 comments

  1. Thank you for a decent, reasonable — while I wouldn’t term it lusty — discussion. As a 75 yo fellow, I could wish for an exploration of the interactivity quotient among aging/elderly men and the women they encounter, casually or more intimately, of a wide range of age groupings. As an example, on this past Sunday evening, I was on a hilly sidewalk exercising with my dog — quite strenuously for 90 minutes as is my wont. We came across a comely, 30ish born-in-Korea mother and her so-cute 5 yo son whose other half is Japanese. She hailed us from a distance of 150 feet or so and waited for us to intersect with them. I hadn’t encountered them for several months, so I was more than glad to stop and chat. This mom had long seemed to me to have a vaguely harried, fatigued demeanor, and I wondered if the time she was investing in her child was a factor. I was so pleased that she now looked fresh and happy that, after a few banalities (I made sure to ask about the health and doings of Papa Gene), I made a move to continue down our hill…but not before I looked into her eyes and commented “Wow, you are particularly beautiful today, and it’s great to see this growing, handsome young man.” She held my gaze for a few moments, smiled readily and graciously, and said “Thanks! See you next time…Lucas, say good-by!”, and we parted. I felt good, she manifestly reciprocated…and I reflected a few yards along the street that even 10 years ago I don’t think I would have been secure enough in my “masculinity” to make such an unreserved, sincere observation to a truly wholesome and attractive lady.

  2. Thank you for such a well written article on this topic
    For too long now, male sexual desire and arousal has been demonized as expressing “lust ” when that is simply not the case at all
    I have extensively written on this topic many many times, but unfortunately in the church’s eyes and Christians eyes lust= sexual desire
    You come closer to the actual meaning, which is to lust is to covet

    You should see the reaction on Christian’s faces when I tell them that Jesus lusted, the exact same Greek word epithumea is used in Luke 22:15 as in Matthew 5:28 where it is said that if a man looketh upon a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery….. Yet Luke 22 says that Jesus earnestly LUSTED to eat the passover with his disciples
    Did Jesus sin by lusting? No, of course not, but so ingrained is the idea that lust = sexual desire that we cringe when we tell people that lust is 1: not necessarily sexual and 2: Lust is not always a sin, because it is the OBJECT that is lusted after which becomes the problem, not the lust itself

    Anyway, you have just earned a subscriber for your well written article here ☺

    1. Thank you for your comment, necron48.

      There are parts of your comment that I can readily agree with, but there are other parts that do not ring true to me. Lust has been identified with sexual desire, but, yes, there are other kinds of desire that are non-sexual. And, yes, we can covet other things, other objects that have nothing to do with sex or sexuality. But, I think you make a mistake when you assert that Jesus “lusted”. He may have ardently desired to eat the Passover meal with the Apostles, but that is not lust (by any interpretation I have ever come across).

      As well, the problem is not the object, but the covetous desire on the part of the person who is covetous of the object. Do we blame a beautiful woman who dresses modestly for the covetousness of her that some men feel? That makes no sense.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me Larry, much appreciated
        When you find it hard to grasp that Jesus “lusted” it is because the ingrained teaching that has persisted for thousands of years that lust=sexual desire, we recoil with horror that any man especially a born again Christian would dare to accuse our Savior of lusting
        The original manuscripts were written in Koine Greek, they weren’t written in English, which is where our confusion of the term lust comes into play. It behooves us as noble Bereans who study the word of God to be consistent with our definitions… It is dishonest to insist that when a man is sexually aroused by the sight of a beautiful woman to then accuse that man of lusting in Matthew 5:28, while simultaneously ignoring that the EXACT SAME word for lust shows up in Luke 22:15, if it’s a sin in Matthew 5, then it’s a sin in Luke 22… Actually the Greek is a lot stronger in Luke 22, it actually says that “with lust I have lusted to eat this passover”
        But so ingrained is the belief that lust=sexual desire that we refuse to believe what we just read, so to soften the impact and to minize confusion that may result, the translators changed the word to desire in English
        Whichever way you look upon it, there seems to be clear scriptural support that 1: Lust is not always sexual, and 2: Lust is neutral, neither being approved or disproved as a sin

        Paul also asserts that lusting after the office of a Bishop is a good thing in 1st Timothy 3:1
        There’s no getting around these facts Larry
        The church needs to stop misinforming it’s members that when a man is aroused sexually at the sight of a beautiful woman, that he hasn’t committed lust, he is merely responding biologically as a man, the problem arises when he makes a decision to do something about it, for e.g making plans to sleep with his neighbors wife, merely wanting to have sex with her, is neither lusting nor sinful, but when he takes it a step further and DECIDES to go ahead and do it, then it becomes lust

        Anyway we mostly agree, and that is a great thing!

      2. Wow.

        Actually, sorry to say, we disagree on more than we agree on. This conclusion was reached after a short visit to your blog. A whole can of worms could be opened that I neither have the time nor the desire to argue with you about.

        As to your lengthy comment above, bear in mind that Scripture has been translated several times over the millennia. The Septuguaint, or the 70 Jewish scribes in Alexandria during the Ptolemy dynasties before the time of Christ, is the translation of the OT from the Hebrew or Aramaic into Greek. Centuries later, circa 383 A.D., we then have the Vulgate which is the translation by (or under the direction of) St. Jerome of the Bible from the Greek into Latin. Of course, when there is translation there is by necessity some interpretations of various words which do not translate easily or with precision from one language to another. And, we cannot overlook selective editing on the part of the translator(s) as these have biases of their own. (Similarly, people today have their many biases or preconceived notions, and with approx. 30,000 denominations of “Christianity”, we can see that these biases or personal interpretations are quite divisive).

    1. Here is an example of the kind of blog reader or subscriber you do not want. He comes on here and tells me that I have “earned” his becoming a subscriber for the post above. Then, when I inform him that we do not agree on much (based on a survey of the comments and posts he has made on his blog), he starts firing broadsides at me. His other comments have been sent to the trash folder.

    1. Kumar, I approved your comment, but it is actually out of common etiquette in blogging. The correct way is to ping back my post from your blog, and then the link back to your post will appear in the comments on my post.

  3. Its all about lust/sexual desire, whether u like it or not. The rest is sugarcoating/poetic waxing.

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