Market Value

I’ve just come back from a youth conference where I gave a seminar on “Self-Esteem.”  The venue?  A Cattle Market.  No, not kidding.  The conference was held in a big showground in Belfast and this was one of the seminar venues: A genuine cattle market, saw-dust on the floor, massive scales to weigh the live-stock and big stadium-seating where all the farmers sit and shout their bids.  But on this occasion it was teenagers who sat in judgement.  And there was I on “the show-room floor”.  Talking about self-worth!

But here’s what interests me.  There were thousands of people at this conference.  They all received publicity about the seminar and a good number came.  But guess which gender came?  Yeah, tricky I know!

Apart from the men that had to be there (hubby included) there wasn’t a single boy at the seminar.  I’ve been thinking about why.  And my first thought is one I’ve discussed earlier:

Men look at women – women look at themselves being looked at.

Talk about porn and you’ll get the boys’ attention. Talk about self-esteem and you’ll hook the girls.

Any other ideas?  Why are girls interested in “self-esteem” but, apparently, no boys are?

6 thoughts on “Market Value

  1. The thing is, I think boys *can* struggle with self-esteem hugely, often (but not always) manifested as pride. Male pride is a defence against itself, as if you suffer from pride you’re likely too proud to think it’s a problem. But male pride also stops men admitting to struggles with self-identity and self-esteem – particularly when such struggles are due to not fitting a particular masculine stereotype. So those who have low self-esteem have imbibed the idea that “manning up” is the solution, and manning up means accessing the resources within yourself, the antithesis of admitting they struggle and need help. These are just a few initial thoughts – anyone care to add anything?

  2. Thanks Matthew – very insightful. Perhaps pride is at the heart of both – but expresses itself differently in men and women.

  3. Massive generalisation alert…and this is just off the top of my head. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    The deception of independence and control is particularly strong for men. Men are more likely to be concerned about how they use (or fail to use) their power, women more likely to be concerned with how others exercise power over them. For them the deception is that they need others and that they control how they feel.

    Men want to be told how to ‘man up’ and take control of their sin (e.g. porn). Women want to be told how God will meet their ‘needs’ by esteeming them.

    We are to be self-controlled and God does esteem us, but there must be some kind of problem… will think more.

  4. Great point Dave. Which means that there’s a way of teaching “sin management” for men and “self-esteem” for women which actually exacerbates the problems!

    That sinful independence versus sinful dependence dynamic reminds me of the curse of Genesis 3: “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you”!

    Hmmm. Food for thought.

  5. I was chatting about this with some friends the other day, and it started off about “why do women have low self esteem” and the general consenus of the men in the convo was that mean also had low self esteem but it’s seen as being a girly thing and so would never admit to having low self esteem. Maybe it needs discussing by some male leaders ina public forum for people to realise it does affect boys too?

  6. Good idea. I’ve heard lots of leaders talking about ‘strength’ and ‘manning up’, but not so much on weakness or vulnerability. Can anyone recommend guys who address these issues?

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