Shrewd as Snakes: Condescension as Cover for Insecurity

By | April 19, 2012

Going along with my previous post, while it might appear that the one condemning others may be boldly standing against sin, this is ironically a sign of insecurity. A person who is insecure about how good they are may try to show the faults of others to “prove” that others are no better. A person may bully others because of being afraid of being weak. When someone tries to cut others down, it is because they are trying to calm the insecurities they have about themselves. (Note: there is an important difference here between honest correction and insulting another’s character.)

One important area which I’ve seen this a lot is in the area of gender identification. In our culture we have many stereotypes of men and women. But there are many different types of both men and women. Nevertheless, there are some people who try and define who “real” men or “real” women are. Those who don’t match up are some how less “right”. This is obviously a judgement of the type we are not supposed to make, because we are judging someone as not being good enough, not as worthy. They are less than we are. But this is not true. I think that identifying with our gender is something that we all wrestle with. But insulting others for not measuring up is not an acceptable way of dealing with our own insecurities.

For example, I’ve heard people distinguish between “masculine” men and “effeminate” men. These aren’t neutral adjectives. The latter are condemned as weak, lazy, etc. It is emasculating and is absolutely unacceptable. (And ironically to point out these wrongs is to invite more criticism from that camp.) Basically, it is a way of saying a person is worthless and not deserving of respect. Needless to say this isn’t a position of love. Of course the speaker always identifies with the “true” men. I even heard one pastor say that “real” men eat meat and drink beer. This is absurd. It’s as though to many, in order to be a “true” man, you’ve got to be a red neck, cowboy, or frat boy (minus the promiscuous sex). This is full of problems, not the least of which is the fact that there are numerous real men who don’t match up to any these stereotypes, but are nonetheless fully men. And I’m certain women encounter these same issues just as much if not more than men do.

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