As I’ve said before, I get many of my ideas for this blog just by reading the reader comments. One theme that has come up quite a bit recently is the perception that Boundless is biased — sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly — against men.
* Men are supposed take the lead in any sort of dating relationship, even when it involves repeated rejections. When these rejections prompt many men to withdraw, they are nevertheless told to “man up” and (re-)assume their proper role as initiators and pursuers.
* Men are expected to pay for dates, even when the woman earns more money — sometimes a lot more money.
* Men are looked to as leaders, protectors and providers, yet many modern women increasing eschew the notion that they need to be leaded, protected or provided for. Moreover, some of them can’t understand why in the world a man would be intimidated by a female who has far more education, career accomplishments and disposable income.
* Men in general are scolded for being too visually oriented in their assessment of women (despite the fact that countless social scientists and Christian counselors acknowledge that men are physiologically “wired”/created this way), while females are recognized as much more open-minded and willing to give a guy a chance despite a less-than-stellar first impression.
To sum up, the perception among some readers — most of those “some” being males — is that Boundless expects the guys to take risks, to be intentional, to define the relationship, to not take things too fast, to not take things too slow, to lead, to pay, to protect, to provide, to gaze at a woman’s heart and not at her physical appearance, to be always godly and never immature — to basically assume responsibility for moving a relationship forward in a way that is always appropriate and never creepy. (HWJD? — How Would Jesus Date?)
To be fair, no one person from Boundless has ever said — or insinuated — all those things at once. But those expectations, or ones like them, have all been discussed in one form or another, whether in the Webzine, on the blog or on a podcast.
In my opinion — whatever that’s worth — some of the reader complaints aren’t really justified. Yes, guys are indeed expected to lead, pursue and protect. Those things are biblical. As for who pays for a date, I say it’s the person who asks, at least in the beginning. Once a couple is in a relationship, however — which shouldn’t take too many dates to determine — then there’s no reason why a gainfully employed female can’t share the financial burden. As far as I know, there’s no biblical justification for “man always pays for dinner dates and/or movies.”
That’s just it, isn’t it? Some of this stuff is grounded in Scripture, some of it is simply tradition. And traditions change over time. Do men feel more comfortable when they earn more, are more educated or more accomplished? You bet they do. But times have changed, and they’re still changing. Navigating the world of relationships and masculine/feminine roles isn’t likely to get easier anytime soon.
So, what say you, dear readers? Does Boundless tend to favor the feminine perspective, even just a little? Or do the male readers simply need to lighten up and quit shirking their responsibilities as, well, men? While the male Boundless bloggers have a slight edge in terms of numbers, it’s seems pretty clear that females outnumber males in terms of the comments. Yet this being an equal-opportunity post, I would love to hear from both.