Saturday, November 12, 2005

40. Rescue Heroes

A few years ago there was this book that was making the rounds in Christian circles that I kept hearing about – Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secrets of a Man’s Soul.  There’s a companion book for women, but… well, no one I know read that one.  Anyway, I was at a church retreat when one of the girls who was there brought this book up.  I should point out that she was not happy with it, I don’t know if she had read the entire book, but she had read the blurb on the back and it had made her angry to think that all these Christian men were reading this book.  She summarized the back of the book for us, but due to the magic of the internet, I can quote it directly.  

“…every little boy has dreams, big dreams, dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress.  Every little girl has dreams too; of being rescued by her prince and swept into a great adventure; knowing that she is the beauty.”

I remember sitting there thinking, “Really?  Do most girls feel like that?”  I think (but I can’t be sure) that this was before I had come out to any of my Christian friends, because I remember being frustrated that I couldn’t question them on this, because I was wondering if the reason I was different from what this book described was that I was gay.  Now, like I said, the girl who brought this book up at the retreat obviously disagreed with the generalities that this book spoke in, so I know I’m not the only female who does not conform… but I don’t only not conform, I’m opposite.  I have never dreamed or fantasized about being rescued by a handsome prince (or even a beautiful princess).  I fantasize about being the hero… and always have for as far back as I can remember.  In grade one I remember all the kids in my class wanted to play Star Wars, which was totally cool by me.  But they made all the girls be Princess Leia, and basically just stand by the fence while the boys got to fight each other to rescue us.  I hated it.  It was boring, I wanted to be fighting to rescue her… and not because I wanted to rescue a princess, just because I wanted to be the hero.  Growing up, one of my favourite things about Christmas was the rolls of wrapping paper – they were my light sabers, I used to fight Darth Vader and the Emperor in my room by myself because no one I played with would let me be the hero.  Another recurring fantasy I remember, going well into my early teens (yes, I know… a bit juvenile) was that I was Superman’s daughter and had inherited some of his powers and I would fly around fighting injustice.  I can also tell you that most of my molars were kicked out by bullies in grade 2 and 3.  I would see them picking on a little kid, or a kid who was different in some way, and I would go after them, insisting that they change their evil ways or face my wrath (such as it was).  I was actually never successful, not even once that I can remember.  They would just laugh and hit me, or punch me, or (most painfully) kick me in the face.  I have many memories of going inside during recess with a bloody mouth and holding one of my teeth in my hands… I would always tell the teacher on duty that I fell.  No matter how many times they knocked me down I kept coming back, I so desperately wanted to be the hero, to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.  And it had absolutely nothing to do with the gender of the person I “rescued”; it was just that the role I wanted to fill was that of the hero.  

It still is.  When I come out of an action movie, or a superhero movie, my mind goes off on these wild adventures where I rescue the oppressed from their evil overlords.  Is this a ‘gay’ thing?  I read somewhere on one of those exgay sites that gay men would know that they were ‘cured’ when their desire to be protected turned into a desire to protect.  I wonder if the literature is merely the inverse for gay women, do they say that gay women will be cured when they achieve a desire to be protected?  And is this legitimate?  Not that gay women can be cured, because…well, you know where I stand on that, but is that a natural heterosexual distinction?  Men want to protect, women want to be rescued… is that part of what it means to be straight?  Or is this just part of the ingrained sexism in our culture?      


Lucy said...

No, that's not a homosexual/heterosexual thing. That's a bullcrap/bullcrap thing. People just want to be validated. They want to know that someone loves them deeply. They want to know that they are valued and that they have a spot in someones heart that can't be replaced. I don't think that need is limited to just romantic relationships either. Different things make different people feel loved. I guess some people need to feel protected and some need to protect. I'm not even sure if I fit into either category. Society has screwed everything up, though. Just take a look at advertisements. Women are supposed to want to be rescued and men are supposed to be the rescuer. Anything else, and somethings wrong. If I'm in a burning building and you happen to see me, boobs or no boobs....get my butt out!

adrienne said...

Hey I happened upon your blog by chance and am interested in dialoguing with you! I read the book Captivating and was skeptical about it at first because I thought that it was just gonna be one of those books about waitting to date until you want to mate sort of bullshit. Yet, when I read it I was.....captivated because it talks about how women want to be in on the adventure too with the male. The problem with your friend's evaluation of the book is that.....drum rolllllll she didn't read it! I highly recommend the book to any female who wants to learn about who God has created them to be. After all we were created in HIS image, their is a feminine and masculine side to God and often times we only see the none sensitive masculine side.
Honestly I am really interested in talking with you, check out my blog as well, I have to worn you that I just write down my random thoughts so the grammar is awful!

rob said...

A woman from my church gave me Wild At Heart after my baptism last year, and it was the first book in many years that I actually finished reading. I loved what I read, because I felt that it was true, and I still feel it's something I need to work towards. You see, I'm like you, but in reverse. I would much rather be the individual in distress, waiting for my prince to come and rescue me. Part of me liked the book because it was finally something telling me not to be who I thought I might be, but to be who He wants me to be. Sure, it just ended up raising more questions for me and possibly making this whole situation harder to figure out, but I think I still like that book. It has an overall great message for Christian men to hear... for them to be real men, and real Christians at the same time. As for the women companion book, I can't really comment because I haven't read it ;)

Liadan said...

I found the above article on "ex-lesbian recovery" where it says that the key was for women to give up power. Apparently lesbians all have control issues (because, y'know, we've ALL been molested/raped/abused by Big Bad Men) and if we'd just let go and let some Nice Christian Man take care of them, we'd be happy and straight.

Riiiiiight. Why I should trust anyone (other than God) who wants me to give over control over my own life and will to them?

Anonymous said...

For most str8 women I've known, that type of impulse seems mainly to be about acting the way they think guys want to see them act in order to get the guy. Of course, once they get the guy they tend to make it very clear that any playing of "rescuer" does not entitle him to control no way no how and don't you forget it mister!

It's courtship behavior, and most courtship behavior is ritualistic playacting. I would guess kids just imitate it cause they absorb it from the culture, and cause young boys tend to want to push girls out of the way when they're playing anyway.

But you can rescue me from my evil overlord anytime, JJ. ;-)


E said...

I read somewhere on one of those exgay sites that gay men would know that they were ‘cured’ when their desire to be protected turned into a desire to protect.

Wow, all this time I've been cured and I didn't even know it! And here I thought heterosexuality involved being attracted to the opposite sex...

JJ said...


Wow, all this time I've been cured and I didn't even know it! And here I thought heterosexuality involved being attracted to the opposite sex...

Heehee... I must admit, half the time it seems like the ex-gay theorists are just guessing.


But you can rescue me from my evil overlord anytime

Are you often plagued by evil overlords?? *grin*

I'll do what I can to help.

If I'm in a burning building and you happen to see me, boobs or no boobs....get my butt out!

Will do!

Anonymous said...

"If I'm in a burning building and you happen to see me, boobs or no boobs....get my butt out!"

Gotcha. Rescue butt, leave boobs. What about the rest of you?

"Are you often plagued by evil overlords?? *grin*"

I'm a social worker in a non-profit. Nuff said.


Ogweno Daniel Owino said...

If there was a day I wasn't supposed to surf in the internet it was today. I don't believe I got to your site by accident. I am the "radical type" and can "easily hurt" not for reasons of sadism but actually the opposite. If I hurt, it would be like a doctor employing the knife of surgery to his patient. This position may be weakened since I'm "self-styled" from other people's point of view. I know one thing though--I love mankind with a passion. If I am radical, it is because I don't want anyone to take chances with eternal issues. JJ, I would have loved to have a platform other than this to say what I believe we as Christians ought to pursue. I haven't read any book about homosexuality, neither have I written on the topic. If you are willing, we can exchange convictions. You can trace me from my blogging site.

Lucy said...

I think we just got caught misbehavin'.

JJ said...

I think we just got caught misbehavin'.

Heh, I had that thought too.

Ash said...

Lucy hit the nail on the head with the first comment. I couldn't have phrased it better myself.

Boo said...

Check it out, I have a blogger ID now!!!

Not gonna do my own blog tho. I don't have that much to say ;-)

just me said...

I laughed out loud three times while reading this. :) Good stuff and good comments!

I read the book actually the entire thing. And it was a bit like a sweet and sour kind of reaction. There's a lot in it that really angered me but there was also some stuff in it that made me feel connected to God. Alas it seems life is like that.

On the rescuing thing: if I'm in a burning building do take all of me out of there! :)