I have a 'note' going in my phone where I list down ideas for articles, and this one has been on there for a while. I'd kind of forgotten about it, until I received something in my email inbox that aggravated me, and reminded me about this particular topic.
The email was from a certain Australian clothing company, specifically socks and underwear, advertising the new face (read: body) of their men’s underwear. I opened the email and instantly felt uncomfortable.
Now, before I go any further, I feel like I should clarify that I am not a prude. In fact, I used to work in the exact line of retail I've just discussed (underwear and lingerie), and I understand that yes, people who sell underwear still need to advertise it.
My discomfort comes from an acute awareness that women like me (middle class, young adult to middle aged, Christian wives and mums) seem to see this kind of advertising, film and TV as an acceptable way to, let's be blunt, ogle other men (by 'other' I mean not their spouse).
My discomfort is two-fold. On the one hand, it's a complete double standard, and on the other, I believe it's a violation of the marriage covenant.
Imagine if I logged onto Facebook, and saw that my husband had not only 'liked', but tagged several of his mates in an advertisement for a lingerie company, or a trailer for a movie about female strippers.
I highly doubt that any of my friends or family would be on board with that. In fact, I know that his integrity as a Christian husband and father would be questioned, as well as his attitude toward women in general. It would undoubtedly bring up questions about whether he could still be a Boys Brigade leader or a youth leader.
And yet, when movies like Magic Mike (the first time I noticed this behaviour) are advertised, I see many regular Christian mums and wives tagging each other, using 'winking' emoticons, or love hearts, in a not-so-subtle display of checking out half naked men.
I don't think we can let ourselves off so easily. We call our men to higher standards, as well we should, and as women, we need to hold ourselves accountable to those same standards.
Violating the marriage covenant
When Colin and I were married, we made sure that we were vowing to a covenant between us and God. Not a contract or even necessarily a commitment (even though it is that too), but a sacred promise to protect, honour, obey, and respect each other, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
A covenant that holds us accountable not only to each other, but to Christ. The same Christ who preached that adultery begins with a look, and that it's better to be blind then to allow ourselves to fall 'eye-first' into lust (Matthew chapter 5 verses 27 - 30).
A marriage contract might state that if a man or woman suddenly finds their spouse less than desirable, they're free to leave and find someone who can (for now) fill those desires. Or, perhaps, they can utilise the many websites, magazines, and films available to meet those fantasies.
I don't just mean blatant pornography either, but movies, shows, books, yes even advertising, that lure us in, titillate us, and whether we acknowledge it or not, arouse lust in our hearts.
The world I live in would like me to think that that is healthy, and normal, and that I should 'celebrate' my sexuality by looking at whatever I want, whenever I want. In fact, when I looked up statistics related to cinema goers of Magic Mike (the original and XXL), the stats were that between 73-96% of ticket holders were female.
One article stated that “XXL promises (and delivers) a sequel tailor-made for audiences disappointed by the lack of stripping in the original by featuring plenty of just that.” The article went on to say that the film prefers a “good, naked time” over a story line or witty dialogue.
I don't want to buy in to that lie. I refuse to believe that in order to have a sexually healthy, exciting, and fulfilling marriage; I should look at very-close-to-naked- men dancing around in a cinema full of other women. Where is the logic in that?
Paul writes (Ephesians chapter 5 verses 25 - 33) that in a Godly marriage a husband will love his wife so much that he would die for her, treating her mind, body and soul as carefully as his own, that she would be “presented in splendour”, nourished and cherished. What could be more fulfilling than that?
That means that Colin is my ultimate standard of beauty, and I am his. Not just on our wedding day, or just after I've had my hair done, but through pregnancy, through illness, through growing old together. I don't profess to have this sorted; I don't pretend that it is easy, especially as a woman. Even after only one child, it's hard to feel like anyone's standard of beauty. Intimacy looks different with a young child and a busy schedule and all that goes with growing up and not being two fit, confident newly married young adults.
Don't believe the hype
No, I definitely don't have it all sorted. However, I choose to believe that the marriage covenant we entered into is more than enough. Like Flavor Flav, I won't believe the hype.
Jess is a wife and mum who loves God and loves people. She and her husband, Colin, have been married for six years, and have a fourteen month old daughter. They are no experts, but are passionate about Christ-like marriage.
Jess Currie’s previous articles may be viewed at