"Have you noticed the men?"
asked my friend as we strolled down the beach. "Some of them are
grossly overweight, but it doesn't seem to bother them to go shirt-less."
Men don't seem to struggle as much with body image. But a male friend
told me that he has his own battles with our culture. He feels pressure to
meet an achievement standard. The culture lies to men, too. It tells them,
"You're not a real man unless you're strong, wealthy, powerful."
But at least man is judged on the fruit of his hard work and ingenuity.
A woman is judged on her looks -- which are more the result of genes than
genius. There's something healthy about recognizing a person's determination
and talent. On the other hand, a perverse understanding of success can infect
our esteem of men. Sometimes a man of integrity watches his profits go south
because he makes a moral business decision. Our culture calls him a failure.
I have a fourteen-year-old son and a seven-year old daughter. I don't want him judged by his wealth and power, and I don't want her judged by her physical beauty. I want both of them to be measured "by the content of their character," as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., put it.
Women are not the only victims of our culture. We need to help our brothers battle the culture's lies about manhood, and we need their help as we fight lies about beauty. Sisters, have you ever shown a blog like this to men in your life? I'm not above shameless self-promotion. All in the name of fighting the culture's lies. That's what I call success. It's a beautiful thing.