I grew up with the understanding that a true gentleman treated a woman with respect. That meant recognizing her as a human being with abilities and feelings…not just a sex object.
I think that’s why I was so uncomfortable with some of the movies that I saw advertised. In a lot of them, the female character seemed to be present only for men to ogle and make “sexy” comments about. Let’s not even get into some of the costumes!
That didn’t negate curiosity, though. When I was in college, a classmate was the playmate of the month in Playboy. I wish I could say that the magazines didn’t sell in our little college town–but they were sold out…both there and within driving distance. Yes, I looked, but I still didn’t see what the big deal was. Why would someone want to do that?
Yes…that was many years ago. But the lesson of respecting women was still a foundation in my life.
So what’s happened?
As I’ve been reading and watching the news these last few weeks, I’m (somewhat) shocked and disappointed. Not terribly surprised that some of these allegations go back many years. I can’t imagine someone having the courage to let them be known shortly after they happened…the reaction back then would have been one of two things: (1) the woman was a liar and/or (2) she asked for whatever happened to her.
I am disappointed that those seem to be the same reactions today. I had thought (hoped?) we had gotten beyond that.
I am also deeply disappointed at other reactions I am seeing and hearing–that even if the allegations are true, they happened many years ago and it’s no big thing. That’s bad enough…it may not have been a “big thing” for the perpetrator, but it most definitely was a big thing for the victim and has had an impact for many years on them.
But the reactions that disappoint me the most are those that come from a so-called Christian perspective. And yes, I am calling it a so-called Christian perspective because I can’t imagine Jesus calling any abuse of a woman “no big deal.” Ever…and especially not when the female was a child. After all, he was pretty clear in saying that if anyone offended a child, it would have been better for them if they had had a millstone put around their neck! That’s pretty harsh condemnation.
I also have trouble understanding how on earth anyone can try to use the marriage of Zechariah and Anna or the marriage of Joseph and Mary to support an adult male sexually abusing a teenager!
There have been far too many women saying “me too”…some of us have not experienced situations as bad as some of the stories we’ve been hearing in the news, but have been treated as sexual objects…opinions and abilities questioned…
What will it take for us to change our culture so that both men and women are treated with respect? And how long?