It amazes me that people can continue to deny there is a ‘war on women’ when it is all around us. Wars include threat, injury and death, and that is what happens to women every day.
But denial runs high.
Bill Cosby has still not had to face charges of rape, and the female victim’s reports were ignored for several years until it was brought up by a male comedian., Our daily news (or the crap that runs rampant through social media) is filled with stories of physical, domestic, emotional, and sexual violence against women.
One thing that really helps hide the ‘war on women’ is how women’s bodies are totally objectified. Think about Kim Kardashian and Chelsea Handler “breaking” the internet by feuding over their butts.
We see images in selfies and fashion magazines that indicate that while the war on women wages on, we continue to lose every subliminal battle too.
Contrast this objectification and invitation to violence with how Jesus of Nazareth treated women. Early Christian feminists wrote about how “Jesus was a feminist,” and they were right. It was Jesus who reached across cultural norms to quench the spiritual thirst of the Woman at the Well. It was Jesus who refused to accept the the woman at his feet as the sexual object that she was made out to be.
Jesus sets the standard for our lives, including how men need to value women and girls as equal human beings created in the image of God.
From the moment that I learned that my first child would be a girl, I knew that I was receiving an extra privilege and an extra responsibility – an extra responsibility because young women need to be taught and empowered to defeat the system that has been structured against them. What I did not expect, some 2.5 years later, was to already be fighting that battle.
I recently found out that I am going to have a son, and I ignorantly asked my wife, “How much of our daughter’s clothes could not be used again for our son – what’s the difference?”
In researching that question, I have realized that the difference between boys and girls clothing – even at size 2T – is more than just colors and accents. It is also a difference in clothing measurements that suggest differences in body type and/or fashion preferences.
At Target, the hemlines around the crotch are significantly higher for “girl’s” toddler shorts than for boys.
This is a shocking example of how young girls are when their bodies begin to be objectified.
When we open our eyes to what is really going on, we must admit that the difference between clothing for young boys and clothing for young girls the difference is not a matter of fashion, it is a matter of sexualization.
Lingerie store, Victoria’s Secret, has begun marketing a line of thongs and panties towards tweens and teens. As we market cosmetic products like make-up for young kids, we are teaching them not only to develop an image based on their bodies but also to begin to hide the blemishes that threaten that image.
My daughter is perfectly content running around in a diaper, I know that her sense of fashion will be just as much as it will be instinctual. If we are not more outspoken about the images, messages, and products that smother our girls their sexuality will not be forced and nor will it be developed. It will be imposed.
We fathers We Christians must admit and atone for the fact that we have been absent soldiers of defense in the war on women. Unlike Jesus did in his own time, we have either ignored or perpetuated violence against the women in our communities.
Unless we make a stand against the sexualized images that control our phones, computers screens, television screens and fashion catalogs, we are no less guilty than Lot as we subject our daughters to forced sexualization.
And it starts in their toddler where a healthy sense of self is far more important than a sexist sense of fashion.