We’re Not Alone
We launched the MCAG website knowing that our articles would be unique and controversial. We ourselves had been converted from skepticism to realism, and we could not be silent about the truth. Imagine our surprise at discovering that our website was validated by the teachings of a published psychologist.
Not long after our website was up and running, a lady wrote to congratulate us. Our message, she said, was similar to that of psychologist Gary R. Brooks. She attached an excerpt from his book, The Centerfold Syndrome, photocopied from a college anthology (See her blog post here). What an encouragement to find ourselves “on the same page” with this counselor!
Here are the five principal components of “the Centerfold Syndrome,” with quotes from Dr. Brooks:
- Voyeurism: “The culture at large seems to be generally indifferent to this trend [of female body glorification], seeing it as harmless titillation, pretty much a natural product of men’s biological makeup. I strongly disagree with this position. It is my contention that this mania, this explosion of glorification and objectification of women’s bodies, promotes unreal images of women, distorts physical reality, creates obsessions with visual stimulation, and trivializes all other features of a healthy psychosexual relationship.”
- Objectification: “. . .when a man in a relationship is continually distracted by a fantasy life dominated by visual images of idealized bodies of strangers, that man will frequently be emotionally absent from his partner; he will be unable to have intense, here-and-now experiences with her. Tragically, if he spends most of his emotional energy on sexual fantasies about inaccessible people, he frequently will not be available for even the most intimate emotional and sexual moments with the most important person in his life.”
- Need for Validation: “[Men] are programmed to crave validation of their masculinity, and they frequently view women’s bodies as a medium for that validation. This need for validation disempowers them and creates an odd yet vitally important inversion of the traditional power relationship between women and men. . . . When women are envisioned as sexual objects and made the centerpiece of men’s visual world, they become imbued with enormous psychosocial power.”
- Trophyism: “While collecting new and different sexual trophies may be celebrated among adolescents, it is a sign of emotional immaturity in the world of adults. . . . Women’s bodies age, losing their trophy-like characteristics, especially in comparison to newer varieties. Hence, the trophy-hunting man, initially satisfied with his trophy-wife, must eventually face the maddening reality that his prize will eventually lose her luster, while other potential prizes will emit near-irresistible allure.”
- Fear of True Intimacy: “. . .men are taught to suppress their needs for intimacy and sensuality, and come to invest too much emotional and psychological power in some women’s bodies. Fearing their potential overdependence on women, men develop a preoccupation with sexuality, which powerfully handicaps their capacity for emotionally intimate relationships with men and for nonsexual relationships with women.”
Dr. Brooks sees the Centerfold Syndrome as epidemic in America. His personal experience in counseling men suffering from it has made him an expert in describing the problem of a pornographic view of women’s bodies. In fact, even if you have no trouble grasping the concepts we share on MCAG, studying his perspective will reinforce your understanding. For that reason, we obtained his permission to use two large excerpts from his book as a resource for our readers. We encourage you to purchase and read the whole book.
— Pastor David
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