emotional modesty part 1...
I am not the first or the only person to bring out this idea. I have heard it from a well known pastor and also a mentor in my life. (Recently as well, Carolyn McCulley brought up the same idea on her blog.)
In the same way that guys are physically stimulated, girls are emotionally stimulated. A guy may be stirred up by a scantily clad woman passing by but for many girls something else pulls at our heart strings even more. It's a conversation over lunch after church one day where you begin to get a glimpse into the heart of this particular man. You begin to be attracted to his heart. From there on, you may read into the tiniest things. You catch yourself adding his last name to yours and perhaps thinking of your wedding more often. You spend more time getting ready for a game night because you know he will be there. An intense emotional attraction can be more dangerous for many of us women than an intense physical attraction.
So, men often struggle with lusting and pornography because of the visual aspect of it-it appeals to that part of their mind and body. Obviously, we would be in agreement that porn is bad in it's very essence. But also, it sets up this perfect physical specimen to which very few real women will ever measure up. It sets you up for disappointment. It focuses on the fantasy, not reality.
In the same way, I would say chick-flicks are pornography for girls. They appeal to our base desire for complete love and tenderness and emotional attachment. I know many girls watch movies such as "The Notebook" or "Ever After." At the end of the movie, their focus is on this amazing leading man who was handsome and athletic and caring and kind and masculine and loved kids and simply perfect in every way. Their hearts begin to long for that and feel neglected without it. Watching these type of movies turns girls on emotionally-which is often our weakest and most susceptible spot. It sets these men up as emotionally in tune and sensitive men that are constantly aware of and responding to their wife or girlfriend's needs. It sets up an emotional standard that men cannot meet 100% all the time. It sets us up for disappointment when you compare the men in reality to these men in fantasy.
How many guys, turn to pornography when feeling lonely or unfulfilled or just bored?
How many girls do you know, in finding themselves single on Valentine's Day, turn to a romantic movie and a pint of ice cream?
Where is the difference? They are the same problem just one is more obvious and on the surface. They are both longing for that which is not true. One is just more publicly viewed as sinful and shameful. Both cause our hearts to lust after things that do not exist.
Now, unlike pornography, you can watch chick-flicks without sinning. But I would just urge girls to be cautious. To view "The Notebook" through a Gospel lens and realize that it's events are just as much fiction as the events that occur in Star Wars. When, and if, you get married, you are not marrying a Prince Charming or a Noah (from "The Notebook"). You are marrying another sinner who is forgiven of his sins and iniquities by the blood of the Christ-just like you. Marriage is not the beginning of happily ever after. It is the beginning of a different kind of sanctification and a training ground for being a humble and loving servant all the time. When any of my friends get married, my earnest prayer is that instead of having stars in their eyes, they would have the cross in their eyes.
David Powlinson addresses it from the romantic novel view and says " The romantic novel genre has even made a crossover to evangelical publishing houses. The sex is cleaned up; the knight in shining armor is also a deep spiritual leader who marries you before sleeping with you. but the fantasy appeal to intimate and romance lusts remain as the inner engine that allures readers."
The only person any man should strive to be more like is Jesus Christ. He should not be trying to be more like any leading man in any Hollywood movie or work of fiction. Christ alone is ideal. Christ alone is to be emulated. Christ alone is to be exaulted and longed for. Christ alone will never fail, never disappoint, and never forsake you.