Justin Lookadoo. Photo: lookadoo.com
Ladies, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but….I have some bad news. Are you ready for it?
That big mouth of yours, filled with all its ‘opinions’ and endless chatter, may be preventing you from landing a good Christian boo to call your own.
According to Christian motivational speaker Justin Lookadoo, ‘dateable guys’ are an untamed hot mess of adventure, risk-taking and standing in the face of fear and yelling ‘ha!’. They like to be needed and admired by girls, which is why ‘dateable girls’ let them do manly things like open ketchup bottles for them, dominate the conversation and sit back and wait for them to ask them out.
On the other hand, Dateable Girls ‘know how to shut up. They don’t monopolize the conversation. They don’t tell everyone everything about themselves. They save some for later. They listen more than they gab.’
Lookadoo sounds like your average whackadoo, except that his work takes him into high schools across the US South and Midwest where he can freely spout his propaganda about conforming to rigid gender roles in order to find love.
The Atlantic recently published an article about one such appearance at Richardson High School, a public school in Dallas, Texas. Describing Richardson as ‘an overwhelmingly conservative and Christian community’, Associate Editor Olga Khazan observes, “Sexist, pseudo-religious street preachers are everywhere, especially in Texas, but they become especially dangerous when their ideas are given an air of legitimacy, like, say, through an invite to speak at a public institution.”
Lookadoo’s schtick includes the following ‘rule’ for Dateable Guys:
Dateable guys know that porn is bad for the spirit and the mind. They keep women covered up. [Emphasis mine]
This fear of human flesh continues in Lookadoo’s book Dateable, where he perpetuates tired stereotypes about male control and female responsibility. Remember that he’s talking to teenagers here, when he writes:
Please, please don’t tease us. To show us your hot little body….and then tell us we can’t touch it is being a tease. You can’t look that sexy and then tell us to be on our best behaviour.
Dateable Guys ‘know life is about danger. You might not win, but that’s not the point, doing it is. Dateable guys risk failure to win at the adventure of life.’ So ladies, dress like Trampy McTrampersons and he WILL try to ‘conquer your land’. It’s God’s will.
Lookadoo’s entire persona reads like a caricature, from his mid-90s spiked blonde douchehair to his insistence that both the modern church and the feminist movement have turned guys into ‘pansies’. Real men go out and gnaw the balls off of life and then wear those balls on a belt around their waist as a totem against all the mouthy radical feminists trying to disrupt God’s plan to turn all of humanity into a giant Stepford compound.
Meanwhile, real women sit around and wait to be chosen, using their eyes to say things like, ‘U R so hansom n stuff please open this ketchup for me’. Seriously - you know I don’t like to perpetuate rape culture and the expectation that women be responsible for preventing assault. But I wouldn’t be leaving a drink unguarded around any guy who warns girls that ‘a guy will treat you like you are dressed’ in the same bracket of information that tells guys ‘you control how far you go’.
Lookadoo claims to have delivered over 4000 ‘motivational’ talks to groups around America, from school kids to church members to businesses. And perhaps what’s most frightening about him (apart from his hair) is not that he differentiates between the proactive sexual desires of men and women (which follows the standard script of conservative misogyny everywhere, casting men as red blooded sex fiends and women as starry eyed marriage hounds who pay for love with their vagina cards). No, it’s that Lookadoo presents life itself as being the domain of men, with women merely the supporting characters in their passion plays.
In all of his promotional material, the soundbites and the ‘rules’ he claims to be based in fact and not some kind of bizarre corner of his brain where it’s still 1952 and advertising like this still happens, Lookadoo talks about men as conquerers and adventurers. Real guys face their fears. They want adventure. They know that ‘being a guy is good’. They are ‘wild, not domesticated’.
On the other hand, girls ‘accept [their] girly-ness’. They are soft and gentle. They don’t fight other girls because it makes them look catty, and guys don’t like it. They should listen more than they talk - remember, guys are built to dominate things like conversations and empires, and girls shouldn’t try to be like guys.
The men of Lookadoo’s world create and shape the world around them; the women merely decorate it. And while it’s easy to point and laugh at him in all his extremity, his is just the fantastical version of all that evolutionary biology bulldust that is still passed around as gospel in news articles, on TV discussion panels and around tables in the pub. Girls are X. Guys are Y. It’s just the way things are.
Thankfully, even the students (and some of their parents) at conservative Richardson High School rejected Lookadoo’s sexist rubbish. One of them even asked the pertinent question of why Lookadoo advised girls to get out of abusive relationships rather than telling guys not to be abusive in the first place.
After numerous complaints, the school principal issued a student body wide apology for booking Lookadoo as a speaker without properly seeking the input of parents first. And while it paints a grim picture to know that voices like Lookadoo’s are still being sought out and given creedance, it’s reassuring to know that worthwhile messages about challenging sexism - even in conservative communities - are finally beginning to break through.