I was sitting in the drugstore this morning waiting for a prescription to be filled, when I noticed the rack of magazines directly across from me. It was hard not to notice. All the most popular women’s magazines were lined up, one on top of another. Scanning the headlines and teasers on each, I found myself interested in some and amused by others.
Just then a woman with two boys came over to the sitting area. The boys, about 10 years old, started playing around with the blood pressure monitor in the corner. I watched them for a moment, then turned back to face the counter, and the magazines.
This time, I saw them not as a woman reader, but as a mom. And instead of noticing the article headlines, all I could focus on was the cover photos. It was like a montage of images, all designed to ignite desire. I think the point was for women to desire to look, and live like, the females in the pictures. In times past, I would have bought into that myself. But now I see another group of people who those magazine covers beckon.
Boys and men have always been attracted to pretty females – that is nothing new. From what I understand, response to visual stimuli is truly a part of their DNA. On the other hand, men are expected to behave themselves, to reign in their desires. Women, rightfully, demand that men treat them with respect as people, not as sexual objects.
But it seems unfair to me that men are bombarded daily with images of sexy girls and women. The deck gets stacked against them. In that rack of magazines alone, there were 8 different provocative pictures. Add to that TV ads, internet sites, and video games – basically, anytime and anywhere. Men like my husband and young men like my son who are trying to live rightly face an uphill battle.
Some people say that those images are no big deal. Men know they’re just meant to be fantasies, and they’re not aware of most of what’s out there. I’d like to think that’s true. And I know that Christian men have power through Christ to stand up against any temptation. I give God lots of thanks for that truth.
The thing that bothers me the most is that men have to be put in that position in the first place. Blame it on original sin, our fallen nature or the enemy at work in the world. But whatever the cause, men are being continually hit in a vulnerable area, and the fight can wear down even the strongest of them.
I know there is only one thing I can do, whether for my husband and son or those 10-year-olds in the store. Having no power to change what’s on the magazine rack, I can stir up spiritual power by praying. As a woman, I feel protective of young men and empathy toward adult men around me. And I believe God feels the same way.