Beating the obesity dead horse and pickiness

Coastal commented a boundless post on the fat, single Christian.

I’m actually not going to beat the dead horse but let previous posts of mine speak for that. The three big elephants in the Christian dating and marriage room, BMI, Overweight and attractiveness, Maximizing the chances of Christian women to find a spouse, and the most recent A lesson in false humility: Christians are allergic to healthy lifestyles.

My comments on Practical ways to improve your attractiveness and desirability for a Christian spouse have been removed before on Boundless. However, I threw up a comment over there in the theme of Women need flavor with food. We’ll see if they approve it.

Edit: just kidding… their login system sucks so I couldn’t even login to post. I’ve leave this comment here anyway. If someone wants to copy-pasta over there I don’t mind.

Let’s look at this from the different perspective.

Should a Christian man with no job, no ambition, who is mooching off his parents, playing video games all day, and dresses shabbily with poor hygiene reasonably expect that he will be attractive to women and go on a date with one?

Of course, the obvious answer is no. There’s a reason why this is a ‘trope’ for an unattractive man.

The modern Church has done both Christian men and Christian women a disservice by lying or deceiving (or maybe those words are too harsh?) us about what is attractive to men and women. Hint: it’s not godliness and/or character. If it were, Paul would not have had to tell the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6 to marry believers and not unbelievers. If godliness and good character were attractive, everyone would be attracted to Christians. That’s clearly false.

What are men and women attracted to? Women are attracted to confident, ambitious, successful leaders. Men are attracted to physical beauty. That they are ‘Christian’ is a qualifier. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 7 the only reason given in the NT to marry: “it is better to marry than to burn.” What do men and women burn for? The traits listed above in this paragraph.

Genesis 1 provides the framework. Genesis 1:8 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [al]sky and over every living thing that [am]moves on the earth. The commands of God are directly related to what we find attractive. Woman was created (Gen 2) as man’s helpmeet and to help man multiply in the earth. Beauty is a proxy for healthiness and fertility. Men were commanded to rule and subdue the earth: hence, confident, ambitious, successful leaders are likely to do that.

The Scriptures are clear that men are attracted to physical beauty, and that it often gets them into trouble. In Song of Songs, Solomon lauds the Shulamite’s beauty the entire book without mentioning her character once. Solomon got himself in trouble with worshiping other gods because of his large harem. The story of Abraham and Pharaoh and Abimelech where Sarah is so beautiful that other men covet her. David and Bathsheba. A large chunk of Proverbs is devoted to warning about beautiful but deceitful women. Beauty is what attracts men, but beauty without character and godliness destroy men.

Likewise, it’s no surprise that Scripture tells men that they are to be Protectors and Providers for their wives and families. An ambitious, successful husband can easily provide for his family such as in 1 Timothy 5:8. A confident leader won’t back down from Protecting his wife when necessary or sacrificing himself as Jesus did for us. He will also be able to lead his family well such as described in Ephesians 5.

The problem, from what I’ve seen, is not solely that the modern Church parrots false narratives about what is attractive to both men and women. That is definitely harmful. However, there is the issue that makes it seem like godliness is mutually exclusive with the traits that attract the opposite sex. For example, beauty is somehow mutually exclusive with godliness, which 1 Pet 3 does not say at all. Another example is that a successful, ambitious man may be looked on as ‘too worldly’ because money is evil when it is the love of money that is evil in 1 Tim 6. This is a problem because these things are false. You can be beautiful and godly. You can be a confident, ambitious, and successful Christian leader.

We need to do a better job coming alongside those who are struggling to tell them the truth in love and giving them encouragement and support to help them develop the traits that the opposite sex wants in a mate.

After all, if you meet your perceived ideal spouse today will they want to be with you? Are you their ideal spouse? If not, what can we do as Christians to help each other get there instead of giving mindless platitudes about how you’re good just the way you are or shuffling it under the rug.

How can we help you lose weight? How can we help you workout and become more fit? How can we help you dress better? How can we help you be more successful? How can we help you learn to be a better leader? What dreams and goals have you put on the backburner? How can we help you pursue them?

Of course, the first step is always if the person in question wants to change.

In general, I’m quite dubious of what it actually means to ‘speak the Truth in love’ to Christians like that because they claim anything that ‘hurts their feelings’ as unloving. I gave it my best shot.

The issues on beauty and obesity preventing a good discussion

Instead of beating the dead horse let’s explore the different issues instead.

What are the issues? I think it’s a combination of a lot of different things:

  • Beauty standards — Women are inborn with wanting to be physically beautiful for a reason. After all, it’s a good thing that a wife is attractive for her husband. The problem occurs is if women want to be beautiful for vanity via grabbing attention, power, or other men not-her-husband. Unfortunately, most Christians believe that beauty is just vain and has no purpose otherwise.
  • Reality denial — this can be seen by those who call beauty shallow or those who claim beauty is subjective or a cultural construct. These are two sides of the same deception coin aimed at placating feelings at the expense of the Truth. Beauty is minimized as something that is not good, even when everything they’re saying states otherwise. After all, if fat is fine and healthy then why do you have to write long posts to convince yourself and others?
  • Churchian deception — this is the Christian ought trap where godliness is good so it should be attractive, or a woman’s feeling evaluates how well a husband is leading, or women are more spiritual than men. In this case, godliness or personality or other things that women want to be attractive take the place of beauty.
  • Victim mentality — Other people should change to fit me rather than working on myself. That’s somewhat of a crass way to put it, but Christianity is an inside-out change religion. Other people around you don’t change… you change because you’re God’s disciple which God can use to change other people.

All of these different things prevent a good discussion because people who overweight or obese don’t want to do anything about it but still complain that they aren’t beautiful. They put down beauty standards, they deny reality and want beauty to conform to them or have other traits be beautiful, they believe Churchian lies that godliness not beauty is attractive, and they paint themselves a victim and no one wants to come off as if they’re ‘blaming the victim.’

The majority of Christian men and women are unattractive. That’s the sad state of affairs.

‘Things that no one wants to hear’ for $1000, Alex. And ‘Things that no one wants to do anything about’ for $2000, Alex. Oh, daily double? I’d like to risk it all.

Any others I missed?

What can we do about it? Well, A detailed timeline and how to guide on the process of finding a wife is a good start for men. I linked some practical advice above that I wrote a while ago for both sexes too.

Pickiness

The second thing I actually wanted to talk about is actually part of one of the comments of the article:

Thank you for sharing. I have in fact found that Christian men are pickier about physical appearance than nonChristian men. At least any of the ones that talk to me. And I am not even what our society defines as fat, but possibly slightly underweight. I regularly get asked out by nonChristians who just met me and are distracted by my physical beauty (apparently, so they claim, and some I can’t even easily get rid of), and I have had several Christian men tell others or me to my face that they like everything about me and would consider me worth being their best friend, except they don’t find me attractive physically, and I have even had Christians (male and female) tell me I will not get married because I’m too skinny, and I have had many people criticize many aspects of my physical appearance, including some aspects that other people find gorgeous.

I wrote about how Christian women do this as well last year.

I believe this pickiness from both sides is rightfully placed, at least until you’re pricing yourself out of the market.

Non-Christians will tend to hook up or date and have sex and then decide if they want to be together for a while or not. When they do get married, their divorce rates are higher because of cohabitation and pre-marital sex. Their standards are indeed a bit lower when this is the case because they don’t care as much about the attractiveness or character of the other individual since they assume that even if it doesn’t work out they can move on.

Generally speaking, if you’re a Christian and believe that marriage is forever then of course you want a good deal. Your standards for who you are going to spend the rest of your life with are going to be higher. Anyone who you ask out or date you want to already know that they meet your criteria so you’re not wasting your time and they’re not wasting their time.

It’s no secret that the more ‘attractive’ you are the more you can be ‘picky.’ Pickiness — or shall we say discernment — is often given a bad rap by Christians when it’s not anything sinful. Most of the time, beyond the attractive characteristics such as beauty or confident, successful, ambitious leader, most of the qualifying characteristics such as being a Christian, virginity, godliness, character are good things that you’re going to look for. If you can find a woman or man who exhibits these godly characteristics in greater quantities it is likely that you’ll have a stronger marriage because the foundation is stronger.

This is a feature of a market and not a bug as well. Any time you add more qualifiers such as Christian, good character,  godliness, kind, good father, good mother, and such you decrease the potential pool of candidates.

Basically, discernment is reframed as pickiness and something bad just like those who want beauty have their standards reframed as shallow.

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25 Responses to Beating the obesity dead horse and pickiness

  1. Pingback: Beating the obesity dead horse and pickiness – Manosphere.org

  2. SnapperTrx says:

    When Christians are being programmed to believe that the mirror is really a liar and what you look like makes no difference you can expect everyone to slide down in their standards for how they look. Humans are, by nature, apt to take the lazy route when given the opportunity.

    I listen to Air1 radio quite a bit, understanding that it is more ‘feel good’ music than actual praise and worship (maybe 20-30% of the songs are actual worship songs), but lately they have been playing a song by For King and Country called ‘Priceless’. I have to change the station every time it comes on because it is so irritating. It is pure women worship! The very first words in the song are:

    Mirror mirror
    Mirror on the wall
    Telling those lies
    Pointing out your flaws
    That isn’t who you are
    That isn’t who you are

    Sorry, lady, but the mirror DOESN’T lie. You have flaws, PHYSICAL FLAWS. Everyone does and, I’m sorry, but the first thing people notice about you is not your great personality and peppy outlook on life. You can’t see that on someone from across a crowded room.

    I like For King and Country, but this song drives me crazy. I saw them earlier this year at Winter Jam and they sang this song along with peddling some merch that was completely geared toward putting women on a pedestal. Has woman ascended so high as to be worshiped above God?

    I see you dressed in white
    Every wrong made right
    I see a rose in bloom
    At the sight of you
    Oh so priceless
    Irreplaceable
    Unmistakable
    Incomparable
    Darling it’s beautiful
    I see it all in you
    Oh so priceless

    To some people, I guess so. Why work on anything when your being told that your perfect? All the while shaming men who have standards for beauty, telling them they are being ungodly be appreciating the physical form of a female? Priceless? Try pitiful.

  3. Ame says:

    Snapper – that is really scary.

  4. SnapperTrx says:

    Yeah. I think I have mentioned before that country music is just as bad. Actually its much worse, as a TON of modern country songs elevate and worship women. Its a shame to see it so easily accepted into the Christian airwaves, but is right on par with where modern Christianity has been headed.

  5. Matt says:

    A woman who is significantly overweight almost certainly lacks discipline. A woman who lacks discipline will most likely not make a good wife or mother. Plus you will be looking at chronic preventable health issues later in life. If you are serious about your vows relating to “in sickness” and “till death do us part”, that is what you are signing up for.

  6. Coastal says:

    Well, I posted your comment on their blog, and you got a few responses, including one from the author. From what I can tell, she received it well but still doesn’t ‘get it’, so to speak.

    As an aside, I don’t know where this attitude of “I run marathons and I’m overweight, therefore I’m healthy” comes from. Quite a few long-distance runners are skinny-fat if not overweight (contrast with the body type of say, a sprinter). People need to get educated and realize that weight lifting and interval training does far more for your body composition (along with diet) than walking/running long distances at a time.

  7. @ Coastal

    The author is certainly very pretty, aside from the weight.

    I read her response. Yeah, she doesn’t really ‘get it’ and states the cultural construct of beauty which is one of the things I noted above as impairing conversation.

    The marathoners bug me as well. One metric of ‘healthiness’ does not make you good for all metrics of healthiness. And, I would argue, that marathons aren’t healthy if you look at the heart issue rates with marathoners.

    I’ll write up another if you want to post it. Let’s see if I can address the cultural construct trope well.

    ——————

    First, yes, women are attracted to more than just confident, ambitious, successful leaders. It is an example of some of the main traits. Many women struggle with lust; it isn’t simply a man only issue.

    Second, beauty is not just a cultural construct. There are objective and subjective components. For example, some objective components are facial symmetry and structure as well as waist to hip ratios (WHR). WHR is used sign of health and fertility — .7 for women and .9 for men — and is also used as an indicator for overweight and obesity by WHO. The common concept of men liking an hourglass figure is true. For women, some objective characteristics such as height, muscularity, square angular jaw line (sign of higher testosterone) are some of the predominate physical characteristics that women are attracted toward. Subjective characteristics for both men and women include things such as hair color, eye color, skin tone, ethnicity, personality traits like kindness and generosity, and so on.

    However, let’s assume your point(s) for a second that someone is overweight, exercises, and is perfectly healthy. I still believe there is ‘wisdom’ in losing weight. Perhaps not for you or for beauty’s sake but for other people.

    Like it or not, both Christians and non-Christians judge on appearance. Obviously, we shouldn’t do this as Christians, but it is something that we almost unconsciously do. There is a reason why we dress up for Church or for a job interview. There is a reason why we spend so much time picking out clothes, doing makeup, and preparing for a date. We know that appearances matter in putting a good foot forward. If I’m a boss and someone comes into an interview shabbily dressed with poor hygiene… how am I supposed to take that? Should I not judge on appearances? That would be difficult to do.

    How many of the Christians have insensitively suggested gluttony for those overweight or obese as an issue? Even if gluttony is not an issue for these folks that are overweight or obese, it gives the appearance of it. Yep, it’s unfair. Yep, it hurts. Yep, it’s terrible. Yet, that is what people do both Christian and non-Christian because appearances do matter as much as we would like to tell ourselves they don’t as Christians. I can’t grunge around in an old t-shirt and shorts and expect a Christian woman will accept my offer to a date. Instead, I workout to gain muscle, dress up sharp, and modify my physical appearance because I know appearances matter regarding interest in a spouse. The skinny bean pole Christian man or the overweight Christian man isn’t going to gain as much interest from Christian women as a fit, muscular, Christian man.

    Now, does that mean every man is looking for a runway model for a wife? No. Is every woman looking for an underwear model for a husband? No. But lets not ignore the fact that we, as Christians, should be excellent in everything we do as to the Lord. There’s no need to take beauty to the vanity level, but there is something to be said for looking good to increase your potential pool of marriage candidates, avoiding the appearance of evil (1 Thess 5:22), and factors such as these.

    Maybe you disagree with all of this stuff that I wrote. Okay. One of the reasons why I workout, gain muscle, eat healthy, and otherwise cultivate masculine traits is that I want to be very attractive for my wife. If nothing else, aim to be beautiful for your future husband because you know he would enjoy it. Whether it’s a cultural construct or not is a moot point: most men aren’t attracted to women who are overweight or obese. Neither are most women attracted to men who play lots of video games.

    Learning what the other sex likes in a mate is definitely useful information, but it’s to the person in question what they want to do with it.

  8. @ Coastal

    I modified the response a bit, but I see you (or someone) already posted it.

    Can you change it or is it stuck for all eternity?

  9. Coastal says:

    @Deep Strength

    They don’t have an edit button, unfortunately.

  10. @ Coastal

    Ah well.

    I modified it to be more “flavorful” unfortunately. Hopefully she’ll take the Truthful to heart as she sees what flavor is there.

  11. @ Coastal

    It appears the comment got deleted. Probably because of the link to FB I’m assuming.

    Oh well.

  12. Just Some Guy says:

    @Deep Strength
    “It appears the comment got deleted. Probably because of the link to FB I’m assuming.”

    Maybe. But that will happen quite often with bloggers who cannot tolerate any view other than their own. Especially if it makes sense. The good bloggers (like you, BGR, AT and Dal) are the ones that allow and even engage in differing views while saving the Ban-Hammer (or delete button) for the truly, intentionally, offensive crap.

    I once wrote a detailed rebuttal to a popular, Christian organization-sponsored, advice website that stated how Gambling was a sin. There was nothing offensive or rude in my post. Used scripture to prove / support my viewpoint and showed how their usage of certain scripture wasn’t really what was written or how it may have been taken out of context. The next day, I was talking to someone about it and they wanted to see my research. Realizing at that point, I should have saved an offline copy of it, I went back to the website and *poof*, gone.

  13. Pingback: A Christian understanding of attraction and the role it plays in marriage Part 2 | Christianity and masculinity

  14. feeriker says:

    [B]ut lately they have been playing a song by For King and Country called ‘Priceless’. I have to change the station every time it comes on because it is so irritating. It is pure women worship!

    It’s essential to remember that both Air One and its CCM competitor, K-LOV, are all about catering to churchian women’s feeeeeeeeeelings. That is the ONLY reason why they are now playing that blob of schmaltzy, tear-jerking dreck by Nichole Nordeman, Slow Down, which has ZE-RO/zilch/nil/rien/tipota/NADA to do with the worship of Christ. But women go weepy sentimental over it, so it obviously generates hits (and revenue). Thus it gets played over and over again, while other more relevant music that actually involves worship is denied air time.

    And yes, FKAC, for all the decent worship music they otherwise put out, are for some reason hopeless white knights and pedestalizers.

  15. @ SnapperTrx

    I listen sometimes for the few worship songs that Christian radio stations play. Usually can’t go wrong with say Chris Tomlin because all his music is pretty much worship music.

    Though my favorite past time is to listen to see if I can pick out faulty theology. There’s something ‘off’ or ‘completely heretical’ on 70-80% of songs.

    Casting Crowns, which is generally pretty good, could clean up they’re lyrics some. For example, ‘All you’ve ever wanted’

    All You’ve ever wanted, all You’ve ever wanted
    All You’ve ever wanted was my heart
    Freedom’s arms are open, my chains have all been broken
    Relentless love has called me from the start
    And all You wanted was my heart

    Could be:

    All You’ve ever wanted, all You’ve ever wanted
    All You’ve ever wanted was my heart
    The Father’s arms are open, my chains have all been broken
    Relentless love has called me from the start
    And all You wanted was my heart

    That’s a bit of a nitpick though on that song, but it does change the meaning so much and brings back some parallels to the parable of the prodigal son.

  16. SnapperTrx says:

    “It’s essential to remember that both Air One and its CCM competitor, K-LOV, are all about catering to churchian women’s feeeeeeeeeelings.”

    Yeah. I remember when I first started to listen regularly I would hear great music by KJ-52, Lecrae, Hawk Nelson (who seems to have gone more pop than punk anymore) and Family Force 5, but most of that stuff is gone now. Although its odd that they have recently started playing a song by Social Club (now Social Club Misfits), which I had originally heard on the Christian hip-hop station Jam the Hype online (now rapzilla). JtH played a lot of music that I would say had a ‘more urban sound’, and its a weird thing to hear on Air1. Makes me kind of suspicious as to WHY they have started playing it.

    And yes, a lot of the current Christian music on the airwaves could stand a little editing in the lyric department, and a lot of it does consist of small things that would bring the words more in line with Christ and scripture than they currently are. Weird how we see it, but the writers don’t. Of course, I suspect that a lot of the artists don’t write their own stuff, any more than modern pop artists do.

  17. SnapperTrx says:

    Sorry, when I say ‘first started listening regularly’ I mean about 5 years ago.

  18. Looking Glass says:

    Casting Crowns produced one of the weirder theological mess ups that would, actually, ruin the song. Specifically, “I can only Imagine”. (You’ve likely heard it.) It should be “I can only conceive (of the concept)”, as imagination requires too much understanding and it self-limiting in nature. So the proper word is actually “conceive”, but, well, you can see how badly that would go. (Though I don’t much actually like the song. Too schmaltzy and it degrades the nature of the Divine. You will do as John did: slam your face into the ground as you are not worthy of the Presence.)

    As for Christian music, I’ve taken to poking around a lot. I’ve given up on the Radio side of things. (Oh yeah, KLOVE & Air1 are actually based out of the same office. They’re the same organization these days.) There’s just too much that I want to slap some sense into the song writers.

    But I have found most of the Reach Record stable to be solid. (Yeah, it’s hip hop, but it’s well produced and they go for brutal a lot of the times. It tends to be vastly more honest.) Family Force 5 is always some great workout music that won’t cause you issues. (BZRK is really good song for lifting.) Then it’s about picking and choosing. I recently came across the works of an older Christian group called Falling Up. Well, came across it for the first time in a decade. When they went experimental, they went really far into the experimental aspect. Their last albums are best described as “indie, experimental, sci-fi Christian Independent”. (Think CS Lewis’ the Space Trilogy for what they’re mostly up to, though, admittedly, some of the story telling is confusing.)

    On FK&C, they’re hopelessly within the Churchian circles. They’ve got legitimate talent (listen to LeCrae’s “Messengers” for an example), but they’re also Rebecca St. James’ younger brothers. They’re dedicated Christians, which I’ll grant, but they’re definitely in the Churchian wing, so very blue-pill/Women-pleasing in nature.

  19. @ LG

    The sentiment of “I can only imagine” is nice, but yeah I get what you mean. Every time anyone in the Bible entered the presence of God they were scared. Like super scared. Revelation 1, Isaiah 6, and the like. Even entering the presence of angels yields the same results. Mary, Joseph, and others were terrified.

    That’s why all of the ‘heaven’ visions coming out of the evangelical/charismatic community that don’t focus on God are somewhat amusing. Even the “Heaven is for real” kid admitted to just making it up. If they actually did get a vision of heaven they would’ve been scared out of their minds.

    Falling up is an old classic from ChristianRock.net which is probably (?) still going. I liked their first few albums for what they were, but they got waaay too crazy experimental.

    FF5 is solid. At least most Christian hip hop and rock bands don’t cater to women. Usually, it’s them talking about how women can lead you astray instead of pedestalizing them, which quite frankly is most often the case.

  20. Looking Glass says:

    The funny thing about Falling Up is I never liked their radio-play/pop stuff. From their first albums, I rather much liked the less popular tracks when they weren’t under the influence the Linken Park (which all bands were in that era). So their experimental stuff I like a lot better. Though I lost track of them years ago until a few months ago. I have a soft spot for good Techno/electronic music, so Falling Up’s last album was worth enough I actually bought it. (It helps to have some decent audio gear, as there is so much background detail to their recent music that it’s easy to miss it.)

    A lot of the problems with Christian music always comes down to the nature of Music. For all of the technicalities to the performance, it’s about transfers emotions. This why Mainstream music is always the same topics. They lack the ability to bring out that many emotions, as the writers simply aren’t honest. The related effect is, generally, the best Christian music comes with something fairly bad happens in the writer’s life. Not only can they tap into the deeper emotions, but they’re also able to understand where God might actually be in their life.

    And, we can never underestimate the effect Steve Taylor has had in trying to interject some proper Theology into “Gospel” music. There’s a reason so many of the Christian artists seem to get a lot better when they they leave their record labels. Especially since most “Christian” labels are simply divisions of the major labels now. Which runs back to the entire Wisdom topic.

    Oh, and Red is also good for some lifting. I’m a little bummed I had to route out Anberlin, as they were really good, but, wow, talk about brutally blue-pill. Really, really blue-pill.

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