20 Ways the Bible Encourages Toxic Masculinity

The Bible, a foundational text for many, contains passages that have historically been interpreted in ways that might foster what is today identified as toxic masculinity. This critical look explores how certain Scriptures might support restrictive gender norms and behaviors.

1. Assertion of Male Dominance

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Genesis 3:16 states, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” This has been interpreted to imply that men have authority over women, reinforcing a hierarchy in gender relations.

2. Valorization of Male Violence

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In Judges 15:15, Samson slays a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey. This story is often celebrated, potentially glorifying violent masculinity.

3. The Silent Women

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1 Corinthians 14:34 dictates, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak…” This can be seen as silencing women’s voices and promoting male-only leadership.

4. Patriarchal Lineages

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Numerous passages, like those in Matthew 1:1-16, list genealogies that trace lineage through men, often omitting women’s names, which may imply that men’s roles are more valued.

5. Women as Property

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Exodus 20:17 lists “your neighbor’s wife” along with property like houses and cattle, suggesting women are possessions of men.

6. Conquest and Women as Spoils of War

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Numbers 31:17-18 instructs soldiers to kill every male among the little ones and every woman who has known man by lying with him, but save for themselves virgins. This can be seen as treating women as commodities.

7. Polygamy and Male Privilege

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Men having multiple wives, such as Solomon in 1 Kings 11:3 who had “seven hundred wives…and three hundred concubines,” may promote a view of women as collectible items for male pleasure.

8. The Virtue of Male Progeny

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Genesis 30:1 recounts Rachel’s plea to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” This reflects societal pressure on women to deliver male heirs, valuing them based on their ability to produce children.

9. Male Heroism and Female Rescue

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Judges 4:8-9 depicts Barak refusing to go to battle without Deborah, suggesting a reluctance to act without female endorsement yet the narrative focuses on male bravery.

10. Emphasis on Male Decision-Making

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Ephesians 5:23 states, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church…” promoting male leadership and decision-making in the household.

11. Female Purity and Male Ownership

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Deuteronomy 22:28-29 dictates that a man who rapes an unbetrothed virgin must pay her father fifty shekels and marry her. This suggests women’s value is tied to their purity and men’s control over it.

12. Masculine God Imagery

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The consistent reference to God as ‘He’ in books like Exodus 15:3, “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name,” reinforces the idea of power as inherently masculine.

13. Diminishment of Women’s Pain

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Genesis 3:16 also states, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children…” which some interpret as justifying the lesser treatment of women’s physical suffering.

14. Celebration of Male Birth

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Stories like the birth of Isaac to Sarah in Genesis 21 celebrate the birth of male heirs, often overshadowing female narratives.

15. Control Over Female Fertility

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In Genesis 38, Onan is punished for spilling his seed and not providing offspring for his brother’s widow, Tamar, highlighting control and expectations placed on male sexuality and female fertility.

16. Justification of Female Subservience

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Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” has been used to justify female subservience in marital relationships.

17. Male Control Over Female Behavior

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1 Timothy 2:9 advises women to dress modestly and remain quiet, emphasizing male authority over female expression.

18. Dismissal of Female Leaders

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The criticisms and challenges faced by female leaders like Deborah in the Bible underscore resistance to female authority.

19. Validation of Male Anger

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Examples like Moses’ anger in Exodus 32:19, when he smashes the tablets, can be interpreted as validating male anger as a powerful and acceptable response.

20. The Danger of Female Seduction

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Proverbs 7 warns of the dangers of the seductive woman, framing women as moral dangers to men, which reinforces gender stereotypes and mistrust between sexes.

Reflecting on Context and Interpretation

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These points highlight the importance of context and interpretation when considering ancient texts. The Bible’s influence on societal norms around masculinity is profound, and recognizing problematic interpretations is crucial in addressing modern gender dynamics.

The post 20 Ways the Bible Encourages Toxic Masculinity first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.