Tag Archives: judgment

If I Have Gay Children…

I am a father of one son, with another son on the way. I saw this post a few days ago and it was a great reminder of how I believe all parents, myself included, should approach their children: with open arms. I believe the advice shared by the author applies to parents who are gay, straight, working, stay-at-home, Christian, atheistic, Islamic, or whatever. Mainly just some sound principles for appropriately accepting and loving our children regardless of the ways they may be different from us (their parents).

That said, I think that tolerance has its limits, and can at times breed indifference, ethical apathy, even ignorance–especially if we just accept what people say without investigating the fullness of the principles they postulate. I watched a parenting video How to win at parenting without beating your kids a few years back and one of the take-home messages was (and it’s been a while so I’m paraphrasing slightly here), “If it’s not morally or physically dangerous, I let my children make as many decisions as possible so they can learn from the consequences of those decisions.” People will obviously differ culturally on what constitutes moral danger, but I think there’s something healthy to take away here for all people of all backgrounds. Eventually your kids will need to start making their own decisions, and wouldn’t it be great if you got to continue being part of/influence the decision-making process, instead of being a resented old coot that they can’t wait to get away from? Ask your kids questions. Be interested. Be an influence. Be balanced in your feedback. Show them the human respect they deserve.

(As a side note, isn’t it interesting that children are the only people in America not protected from certain forms of assault? Good luck spanking your employee that shows up late for work without getting sued for your next 10 years’ earnings!)(And for anyone getting ready to throw out the “spare the rod, spoil the child” argument, there are more effective and lasting ways to discipline a child than physical violence. They just take more determined, consistent work on your part as a parent. Stop taking the easy way out.).

I hope you’ll give the post linked above a quick read and consider what it means for these 4 promises to have been made by: a) an American man in 2015, b) a straight American father, and c) a Christian pastor (who also happens to be a father). I hope you’ll think about his motives for what he says. What drives him to be so passionately accepting? Is there a faith-based motivation? A moral conscience? A simple belief in the good that can come from being kind to others, especially children?

Regardless of your faith background, if you side with this man in radical acceptance of a child…better yet, if you decide to “judge not, lest you be judged,” what implications does that have for your acceptance of others that society has traditionally cast aside? Who else deserves your radical acceptance? Is there something to which you should be devoting more time, energy, thoughts, prayers, or money? I don’t care what your personal/theological/ethical/moral stance is on the LGBTQ community. You’re entitled to your opinion, whatever it is. What I do care about is that you start and end your conversations with anyone from that community–or any other community that differs from your own–with respect and curiosity. Work toward understanding even if you have a hard time with acceptance. Leave the judgment and hate for someone else. It’s not your job.

Would Women in Shanghai or Canada be Afraid of You?

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Would women in Shanghai or Canada be afraid of you? Would women in Fiji be attracted to you?

A recent study found that sexual preference for “masculine men” and “feminine women” is not something that emerged thousands of years ago in our evolutionary ancestors, but rather something new and somewhat specific to urbanized cultures. I found that one of the most interesting takeaways from this article was that simply having “masculine” traits–facial features like a square jaw, etc.–was associated with perceived aggression (seemingly insinuating that the more masculine you are the more aggressive you are).

Specifically, participants were shown several ethnically diverse sets of pictures and asked, among other things, “Which face is the nastiest (most cruel, unkind, aggressive, difficult, unpleasant to live with)?” Bear in mind that in all pictures the face had a neutral emotional expression. What an unfortunate finding for those of us who were born with traditionally masculine traits! It’s almost as though they’re saying, “Good luck finding a woman that is not afraid of you!”

Now, to be fair,I may have hyperbolized a bit there. But in all seriousness, it’s too bad that being born with a set of traits may influence what a majority of women may imagine about your personality before they even meet you. (By the way, I’m discussing heterosexual relationships here because that was the specific focus of the research group in the article below). On the plus side for those “nasty” men identified above, masculine traits were often also found to be more visually attractive.

I highly recommend checking out the study: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/40/14388

It’s got some interesting info about how culture, urbanization, and availability of not only potential partners but also visual cues (billboards, TV, etc.) may influence the way we perceive threat and whom we find attractive.

Perhaps the most significant finding is the societal differences shown in the figure above. The figure demonstrates that the more urbanized the culture (Shanghai, UK, Canada) the higher the percentage of women surveyed that found more masculine traits to be aggressive (longer blue lines). Women in less-developed cultures tended to be much less likely to show a preference for “masculine” traits and less likely to perceive them as aggressive (more evenly distributed blue, white, and pink lines).

So, are you seen as nasty and aggressive? Do your traits match your personality? It may largely depend on where you live and what kind of women are around! What can we do about this in “urbanized” and Western cultures so that masculine men are not unfairly labeled as aggressive, nasty, and just plain hard to live with?