Is there a difference between a guy going skimpy versus a gal?
I have a son who has been into body building for a couple of years. Right now he is in the midst of doing some training, in hopes to actually be part of a competition. Have you seen what these bodybuilders wear at those competitions? 😳🤢
I am not fully behind what he is doing for various reasons, such as I don’t think his diet is actually healthy in the long run. But one question I have raised with my husband is, Should we challenge him on whether this is really appropriate as a representative of Christ? Would we be okay if our daughter went out in a string bikini to pose and show off her body? Is there a difference?
My husband seems to think there is a difference. He seems to be fine with our son doing it, but wouldn’t be for our daughter.
What are your thoughts?
In the UK, there’s an organisation called Christians in Sport, maybe there’s a US equivalent?
Their aim is to support Christians involved in sport at all levels (from the most amateur of club members to the elite representing their country) in both honouring God in their chosen sport(s) and in sharing the gospel with those whom they encounter through sport. They can perhaps help your son to think about these issues for himself and to make wise and informed decisions.
What I think is happening, is your husband is viewing it all from the lens of his own perceptions. As a man, he knows what happens inside of men when a woman in a string bikini walks in – and he doesn’t want his daughter to be that woman. He doesn’t want her to be the focus of sexual objectification and desire. The same could be said of you, he wouldn’t want you to be the focus of that kind of attention either.
In contrast, he would likely enjoy it if all the women in a room wanted to jump him. He can thus support his son displaying his sexual virility, and being desired. Because for him, it’s all in good fun for random women to sexually desire men (him, or in this case, your son). But random men sexually desiring women (you, or your daughter) is threatening and a no-no, because it’s his daughter, and you’re his wife.
It’s a double standard, quite simply. “It’s ok for me, but not for you.”
And yes, it’s not healthy at all. You only have to do a few seconds of searching on YouTube to find footage of bodybuilders keeling over on stage, or straight up dying. From what I understand, the days previous to the competition, serious bodybuilders do everything they can to reduce their body’s water retention, in order to shed every ounce of bloaty water-weight. This is what gives them the eye-popping veins and extreme muscle definition.
The diet restrictions leading up to competition is also grueling. It’s not uncommon for competitors to be extremely irritable, as well as experience other health issues, because they’re not eating. It’s really difficult to cut away those last bits of fatty tissue.
Should we challenge him on whether this is really appropriate as a representative of Christ? Would we be okay if our daughter went out in a string bikini to pose and show off her body? Is there a difference?
There are several elements to the question: whether body-building itself is appropriate as a representative of Christ separate from whether the outfit is an issue. (I don’t have a problem with girls volleyball, but if my daughter decided to play, I would be demanding the school change the uniforms.) Then, if the outfit can be defended for male bodybuilders, is it okay for female bodybuilders (because you have to compare apples to apples). Then, if you decide your daughter would be allowed to be a female body builder, would there be a difference in wearing the skimpy outfit for those competitions vs. wearing one to model, say bikinis, tanning lotion, and whatever other products advertisers use bikini-clad models to advertise.
I don’t have an opinion about appropriateness as a representative of Christ, but I’ve never cared for bodybuilding as a sport. First, it’s gross. I find nothing appealing at all, sexually or otherwise, about any of those bodies. Just…no. Second, I think if someone wants to develop their muscles, it should be for the purpose of use. My husband explained to me that of a pair of wrestlers on the screen (I’m a victim of his enthusiasm) one had lots of muscle definition because of his body-building background, but this other guy is said to be the strongest guy in the locker room, even though he doesn’t look it. My brothers are very muscular and strong because of the jobs they do to take care of their families. (Not dissing DH; he works hard for his family, but it’s a desk job so he is using his muscular brain. 😉 ) Maybe an argument could be made that showing off the amazing-ness of the body’s workings could be a way to show off God’s handiwork, but I still feel like a better way to show off God’s workmanship in muscle creation is to use them to do something.
Then this random thought just popped into my head: I wonder how much of Eve’s body the animal skins covered? If we could know that, we’d never have to wonder how much is too much again because we would have God’s own sewing pattern. The Ultimate Father personally made the clothes to cover his precious daughter the first time she needed to cover her nakedness.
Complicated question. Interesting answers.
It seems that for a good number years most of our cultures have said there is a difference. I.e. Men can show more skin than women. But now, pressure is being exerted to level the playing field. (“slut walks”, the right to go topless, “free the nipple” campaigns, etc.) Even then, there seems to still be a difference in the general public. Has that influence been “Christian” or is it more innate in people? Or even both?
So, the question for us as followers of Jesus might be, is this a personal issue of conscience? Or is this something that the Bible gives us clearer direction on?
But I agree, in the mix, we need to ask if this is appropriate for a representative of Christ.
Those are good questions Duchess. And it’s why I presented this question. If we aren’t okay with our daughters doing it, should we be okay with our sons?
I am not one who believes all things have to be the same or equal among the sexes. Yet, if we expect a young woman to dress and behave appropriately and to have sexual self-control, that is something we ought to expect from our young men as well. But I don’t know that I am comfortable with the environment of those things, whether son or daughter. Maybe it’s personal feelings coloring it, because I tend to be more turned off, than turned on, by it.
I guess I am of the generation and culture where there is nothing appropriate about a man in speedos or anything resembling them….my gag reflex seems to be triggered, not just by the sight, but just the idea of it. 😜
Re: it’s a sport
I can think of other sports I would think some personal conviction would have me discouraging and challenging my children on whether they should participate in it, such as ultimate fighting.
@neilEthere, I am pretty good at not trying to control my chidren, especially my adult children. That doesn’t mean we don’t have the responsibility to help give guidance, which is what I was asking my husband’s opinion on. Do we say anything or not?
I don’t really have an opinion on the skimpy codpiece. It is designed to show off maximum skin, but not for sexual reasons. I don’t equate it to a string bikini.
I think the big difference here is that this is a sport. Some may or may not agree with that assessment, but it is. There are a lot of different kinds of bodybuilders, but the common thread is work and effort. In a sense, they are not showing off their bodies, they are showing off their accomplishments. There is a group of Christian power lifters that tour giving demonstrations. Not so different, I think.
I spent several years pretty deep in fitness and body building, but from a different angle. I was more of a fitness addict. It can be hard on the body in some areas while offering obvious benefits in others, Finding balance is the key.
I personally never got into the appearance side of things. My goal was to lift more and more, so I didn’t really practice much in the interest of shedding or cutting. It actually seemed counterproductive to do things I knew made me weaker. Still, I do understand the appeal. It is just a different form of measurement of what you are accomplishing.
Not my scene either, but I know men and women heavily into it. Like Doug said it is a sport – many wouldn’t think of synchronised swimming as a sport either.
Which son and how old?
Oh, and in Christianese that whole not eating before a competition thing we get pious and call it fasting.
Well ……. if your issue is with disagreeing with your husband I sort of understand where you are coming from. I believe it is acceptable or not for both sexes. I guess of you want to find out why he thinks the way he does then ask him.
And I think you can ask your son a question but I wouldn’t expect him to change his mind and I don’t think you can force him.
For the record, like I said bodybuilding and competing does nothing for me. A muscle bound woman in a bit of dental floss does nothing for me sexually and I don’t believe that there is much of a sexual element for the people who really do enjoy it. Like Doug said it is a way to measure and compare your progress.
i get that, but obviously how you speak with an 18 year old would be different to even a 15 year old, hence the question.
Personally, I would be asking him what he thinks and really listening to the answer. And then I would wait to see if he asked me what I thought. And keeping my mouth shut if he didn’t. I don’t think this is a hill to die on and – at the very least – you will learn something new about your son.