I felt compelled to comment on this study reported on here at PsychCentral. It’s kind of bothering me a bit.
Why did the researchers do this study?
Of course men who watch films created explicitly for their sexual content are more like to exhibit sexist behaviors.
That’s because women are no longer full persons to them. They are bodies.
That’s what sexism, or any kind of deadening beliefs that cause a disconnect are all about. Individuals lose their inner spark and become bodies, genders, ethnicities, or skin colors.
The study showed that a sub-group of men responded this way. However, sexism isn’t the only possible negative outcome and more men may be responding in other ways. They may have shallower relationships, commitment issues, and other less-than-positives.
None of this—the sexism found in the study, the other feelings and beliefs—are a surprise. The answer has been known for thousands of years.
In ancient Jewish teachings, both mystical and ethical, there are insights and explicit directives about how men should ideally view and treat women (their wives, mothers, and daughters, as well as other women they may interact with.) Any sexualization of any relationship outside of the primary one, is out.
Of course, women, too are taught to view men with the same respect and kindness, but the emphasis is on teaching men how to relate and interact. In Judaism, treating the opposite sex respectfully and kindly is more often taught to men because men and women are viewed as having different ways of interacting and women are believed to be more often able to keep the actual personhood of a person in mind.
It’s not politically correct, but this idea has been around for thousands of years because major evidence to the contrary has not yet been forthcoming. In general, women are said to naturally do relationships more deeply.
Note from the mystics: Women, and men too, are first and foremost souls.
Souls placed into bodies to carry out a life’s mission. A soul is a little piece of Godliness, our truest self, the place where intellect and lofty emotions converge, and so very much more.
When you understand and believe that a person is primarily a soul…
1. You have a sense of something more than just a body, so you look deeper than physical appearance. Physical appearance tends to matter a lot less.
2. You know that a disabled body or even a disabled brain, isn’t the “whole person.” You are able to love and care for people with all kinds of disabilities and value their life as much as anyone else’s.
3. You treasure the connections you have with others, especially those in close relationships with you. This leads to you to treat them with much respect. You care for their feelings, and their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs as much as or even more than your own. Two people who feel this way tend have a very low-conflict relationship.
4. You look for beautiful souls, not primarily beautiful bodies when you choose who to get to know. Enough said.
5. No matter how you disagree with someone, you have some basic level of respect for them. You may have serious political or religious or professional disagreements. You may be passionate about your belief and may truly believe you are right (and you might possibly be!) Still, you give that person you disagree with respect. You don’t use ad hominem attacks when debating. You also give them the benefit of the doubt—trust that they sincerely believe that their beliefs are right and good. The person is usually not out to harm others. Like you, they think they are doing/believing in, the right thing. Respect their soul, even if you wish to change their minds.
6. On the other hand, someone who aims to destroy a person or people, physically by harming or God forbid, killing them, or emotionally, by abusing them,you believe is a sick soul. In cases like these, you believe this person does not deserve to be treated with the same level of respect as everyone else. In Jewish teachings, a “pursuer of life” loses their spiritually respected status. However, if they sincerely regret and have deep remorse for their wrongs and if they work very hard to make reparations (assuming they are able) they may be able to regain some of the spiritual ground they lost.
7. Your turn-offs include worship of the body alone.
8. Your turn-offs include sex without connection, meaning, and commitment. Titillation, seduction, are not harmless pastimes to you, they have enough latent potential to destroy relationships and cause real pain.
9. Bodily pleasures that are not joined to spiritual, soul pleasures and connection are viewed as empty, they are void of meaning to you, and you even find them revolting.
This list applies equally to men and women.
We’re taught in my tradition it is a great gift this spiritual, Divinely-sourced, soul of ours, not something to diss or dismiss.
You have a choice: View a person as a soul, first. Or, view them as a body first. It’s up to you.
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Last reviewed: 11 Sep 2013