Guest Post by Chelan Rene’ Russ
In July of 2012, a Toronto man saved a woman’s life by stopping traffic on a busy interstate as she stepped off of the bridge above it. The coverage explains his behavior as “instinctive.”
But if it were, wouldn’t this heroism happen a lot more? Wouldn’t women feel less helpless and more secure if the men in their lives were physically there to listen, comfort and protect them? The woman from this story was determined to jump into eternity. But just as determined was a stranger that seemed to jump off a page of a Marvel comic book. Why? He noticed her and deemed her worthy to save. Which begs the question: “What made her worthy?”
For a fresh take on why men come to the rescue of women, I brain-picked Superhero film and comic fanatic /Youth Pastor of Horizon Community, David Conlee:
1. What’s your favorite superhero movie, and why?
Iron Man. His character, Tony Stark is deeply flawed, doesn’t have super powers, he’s not an alien, he wasn’t created by some industrial accident. But he’s a man with resources who leverages it all to right the wrongs he sees in the world.
2. Many of these films portray an ordinary man that discovers an injustice and inherently fights it. In 2002’s Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire keeps rescuing Kirsten Dunst, who continually finds herself in sudden danger. Is it instinctive for men to rescue vulnerable women?
I do believe that men desire to be providers…and because of that we want to solve problems, right wrongs, and rescue the “damsel in distress”. Men want to fix things, so when a woman is in trouble it taps into this primal nature to save her and make it right.
3. What about you? Presuming you were able, would you be less likely to rescue an unattractive woman?
Probably at least at a subconscious level. Men are visual processors and physical beauty is a motivator for us. It would depend on who she is and how much I would have to risk to rescue her.
4. What’s your favorite romantic comedy?
I’m a sucker for Pretty Woman (ironic given the subject matter above)!
Remember Lyla from Part 1? This survivor of sex trafficking prefers a sappy romantic comedy to a superhero film any night…27 Dresses being her favorite. They let her visit a world where a girl is actually honored enough to pursue. Where she’s no longer alone. Her boundaries are respected, and he was there “to make her better”. For 90-138 minutes, she’s transported out of reality, and into an almost giddy trance.
Why Not Intervene?
I think of that woman on the bridge and wonder if she felt there was no reason to go on living was because she didn’t believe she was worth a man’s time. Whether it’s a “Good Samaritan” showing deep concern, or her husband or father offering non-performance-based love, I’m convinced that more men have got to intervene.
Men, you can make a conscious decision to intervene when you see a woman in desperate need, attractive or not. In doing so, you destroy the barrier of perceived inequality. She is made in the image of God just as you are, worth just as much as you are.
The barrier of making her prove her worth must be destroyed. How can she prove her worth if she doesn’t realize it herself? Besides, trying to prove one’s own worth is exhausting.
I venture to suggest that she is worthy to be fought for simply because her lungs still hold breath and her life still holds purpose.
Chelan Rene’ Russ is an avid abolitionist, wife, mother, and blogger who lives in Portland, OR with her husband and 2 children. Visit her personal blog here.