Apparently, Jesus is Not Sweaty and Muscle-y Enough for the Modern Man

We’ve all seen paintings of Jesus, right? We all know he’s a white guy with dark-ish hair, often holding one or two fingers up like it’s supposed to mean something. OK, that’s probably not exactly how Jesus looked. We got the image of a guy who lived 2000 years ago wrong — big surprise. However, it’s been brought to my attention that we’ve been depicting Jesus incorrectly in another way as well. According to Family Research Council (FRC) executive vice president Jerry Boykin, Jesus has been feminized.

Oooooooooooh, the humanity! There’s nothing worse than a man being feminized. It’s basically the most heinous thing you can do. Someone fetch me my smelling salts.

According to Raw Story, Boykin says that Jesus wasn’t the wussy boy we know and love:

“Do you think he looked like the effeminate picture that we always see of him?” Boykin asked. “He didn’t look like that. He had big ole calluses over his hands, right? I imagine he probably lost a nail or two, he probably hit it with a hammer or something.”

Fair enough, I guess. It’s probably safe to assume that Jesus didn’t spend his entire life just walking around the Middle East, preaching to the masses. He got down and dirty with the working man.

But Boykin goes on:

“You think his biceps weren’t big bulging biceps, big ole veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, strong shoulders from lifting?” [Boykin] continued. “He smelled bad! Why? Because he sweated, he worked. You think I’m sacrilegious because I said Jesus smelled bad? No, he was a man! He was a man’s man.”

“He was a tough guy, and that’s the Jesus I want to be like,” he insisted. “But we feminize Jesus in the church and men can’t identify with him anymore, not the kind of men I want to hang out with. They can’t identify with this effeminate Jesus that we’ve tried to portray.”

To be fair to Jesus, this was like 30 B.C.E. I’m pretty sure that by today’s standards everyone smelled pretty bad. Central air was probably not a thing they had back then.

Jesus, apparently.

Is this a fair representation of how carpenters looked at the dawn of the millennium? I have no idea whatsoever. Maybe, but who cares? The point is that Jesus was a tough guy who we’ve made into a stupid hipster, and it’s ruining everything.

Original Hipster.

It is true that women tend to be more religious than men, but religious affiliation for men is still pretty high. According to a poll from 2007, the ratio was 86 percent to 79 percent. (Not that religions don’t have anything to worry about. Atheism has been on the rise.)

I’ve come to expect a hearty helping of misogyny and homophobia whenever someone from the Family Research Council opens their mouth. If women are low on the totem, gay men are lower. They are the gender traitors. Everything even remotely associated with femininity is automatically bad.

But, like I said, been there, done that. What is actually so concerning about Boykin’s comments is how little credit he gives men. It’s the same non-credit that the entertainment industry gives men. It’s conventional wisdom that men just can’t understand women and they can’t become invested in a woman’s story. Malarky. And it’s malarky that men can’t identify with Jesus because he’s not manly enough. That is, frankly, letting men off the hook. Surely the story of Jesus, which is as old as time itself, is one people can identify with. He was an outcast, going against the grain, persecuted for his beliefs; it’s a great story, which is probably why it caught on to begin with.

It’s not that I don’t think we should strive for accuracy. To the extent that’s possible it would be really interesting. But in the end, what Jesus physically looked like should be the least of what matters about him.

Photo Credits: Quick Meme, Wikimedia Commons, Waiting for the Word via Flickr


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Michael T.
Michael T5 years ago

@Loesje says: No matter He looks like, Jesus is a savior not a model.

Well actually that isn’t true. It’s what some guy named Paul wants you to believe, but actually he was Zealot, which means he was pushing for the overthrow of the Roman rule over Judea, and also the overthrow of the priestly class of Jews in the Temple who were raking money in hand over fist.

Loesje vB
Loesje Najoan5 years ago

No matter He looks like, Jesus is a savior not a model.

Michael T.
Michael T5 years ago

for you, . . . maybe

Christiana B.
Christiana B5 years ago

The last sentence is a great sum-up.

Donna Ferguson
Donna F5 years ago


june t.
reft h5 years ago

interesting read

Michael T.
Michael T5 years ago

@Sarah asks: I wonder you're not open to the suggestion that YOU TOO do not have all the answers, yourself.

Again, you are attempting to deflect attention away from the discussion. I do not recall making such a claim. It does, however, require a determination as to what questions are being asked. I have observed and investigated behavior and claims such as yours in the past, and recognized the characteristic signs and symptoms.

In the past I have noted that others who have chosen the same kind of belief systems as yourself make extraordinary claims, repeat those claims when challenged often capitalizing letters as if doing so makes them true or valid, they cite claims made by others appealing to authority, they cite lyrics/xcerpts from a song/text as if they too add authority to their claims, they will appeal to ignorance, use special pleadings, beg the question and assume the answer, exhibit inconsistency, and follow all of this with a hail of non-sequitors as they attempt to scale slippery slopes strewn with straw men arguments.

I am open-minded to quite a number of things actually, things that are free of ideological and dogmatic distortion and obfuscation. I have also investigated those things as well to better understand their flaws, smoke and mirrors.

Michael T.
Michael T5 years ago

@Sarah claims: Neither do I deserve the censure that I'd shut my mind off, simply because I differ with your views.

Again, you move the goal posts. There is no censure, there is however confrontation. I never claimed that you would shut your mind off simply because you differ with my views. Nor have I given myself any place in your decision, meaning that I am not claiming that because you differ with my views that you have shut your mind off.

It is my conclusion that you did so willingly before we ever met.

I have observed, however, and therefore, as have others, that a part of your mind had already been shut off to objective reality long before you met me. I am merely pointing this out to you.

Michael T.
Michael T5 years ago

@Sarah says: That's one real compliment you paid me but I'm not as creative or talented as all that. I haven't mention everything yet.

Again, like as much as you would to make my statements a compliment to your claims and assertions, you fail again simply by attempting to twist words in this appeal to ignorance.

This is a reflection of your penchant for doing this in a host of ways including your preference for a faith based explanation for everything which deludes you and thus leads to conclusions based on magical thinking.

I am merely acknowledging that this is your preference.