Needing One Another
I am deeply aware lately of living in a culture which has some investment in keeping us in an adolescent holding pattern. I recently saw two commercials on television which directly invite males to remain children. One commercial is a young couple having a meal at Mc Donald’s restaurant. The female says, “Can you believe my sister’s boyfriend who says that Sundays are for football!” The male pauses with a look suggesting that he holds the same belief about football and Sundays. His pause appears to allow him to get it that it is likely not in his best interest to tell the truth. He responds to her by saying “Jerk!”, referring to her sister’s boyfriend. In the second commercial a couple is also dining at a restaurant. The female says, “Am I over sensitive, or are you checking scores on your phone?” The male denies his obvious distraction with his phone. When males reach puberty, they typically begin to prefer to remain anonymous to their mothers as they attempt to welcome their budding sexuality while being a woman’s son. In these commercials, males are encouraged to lie and be deceitful with the females in their lives, placing them in the posture of being a teenage son. In the cell phone commercial, the male is more devoted to his relationship with technology than the female. The culture says to males, “Listen, growing-up is hard stuff, forget it. There are endless toys to acquire and no need to lead a self-examining life, committed to living in integrity, where you know what you value and are devoted to living those values. You can have an emotionally dependent relationship with women, where it’s okay to be deceitful and confused about creating depth and meaning with a woman.” The culture’s voice to women sounds a bit like,”Listen, you’re never going to be loved for who you are. The best it’s going to get is for some guy to need you and you can take care of him and neglect yourself”. The lack of maturity in women is more subtle, where they do not attend to their own needs and desires, do not remain devoted to a life calling where they steward their gifts and deepen their capacity for wholistic self-care. Ultimately, we need one another in order to interrupt these destructive cultural patterns.