In the wake of the recent “me too” movement and the allegations that seem never ending, I’ve been wrestling and considering and wondering how we got here. This issue is complex, uncomfortable, and heavy. But I have wholeheartedly come to the conclusion that it is worth delving into.
And in my attempt at delving, I have come to see a major discrepancy that seems to lie at the heart of the issue. This discrepancy is a disconnect between a culture that promotes outward respect of women yet neglects an inward valuing of them.
What happens in a place where boys have been taught to open doors for girls, yet check them out as they walk through? What happens in a place where guys have the mentality of “ladies first” in line at the store but “me first” when it comes to sex? What happens in a place where men compliment women on a date but whistle at them walking down the street?
Abuse of power happens.
Maybe women are emotionally driven feminists who need to calm down. Maybe women are blindly jumping onto some sort of movement. Maybe women are jealous of men. Maybe women are discontent.
Maybe some are.
But maybe some are tired of feeling outwardly respected yet deeply unvalued.
To be clear, I’m not advocating for a submersion of genders. I am not proposing that uniformity is the answer.
I believe diversity and distinction- from gender to race to seasons- is a beautiful God made thing. I think to deny the things that make women unique is actually to do a disservice to the value of them altogether. Just like it pains me to think about other ethnicities and minorities putting aside their history and culture in an effort to function and belong equally, it pains me to see women do this as well.
I think women trying to conform to and compete with men only perpetuates the problem and ironically uplifts men as the standard and goal.
Rather, I’m advocating for a deep and genuine valuing of women. Women as equal human beings to men and women as gloriously set apart from men.
So, how might we raise a generation of boys to do much more than pay for a woman’s dinner? While this list is no where near exhaustive, I wanted give a few practical every day ways we can all seek to bridge this gap a little more effectively:
- Men, defend women verbally. Don’t give into the mentality that “locker room talk” is harmless. Use your voice to speak up and defend. It’s not enough to ignore it or not partake in it.
- Women, defend women verbally. Have other women’s backs and don’t laugh off demeaning comments whether they are coming from men or women.
- Promote women. Talk about how good they are at something in front of other men.
- Ask women what they think. Value their minds by simply asking them what they think about something.
- See and define women as more than their roles. See them as individual people.
- Stop informing your view of women and sex based off of porn.
- Praise women for their unique giftings and abilities as women.
- For Christians, seek to distinguish between Biblical womanhood and cultural.
- Let little girls explore their personal interests and passions at a young age. Don’t only buy them dolls and dress up. But don’t be afraid to let them love those things either.
- Compliment women on more than their looks.
- Take no as an answer.
- Listen to the experiences of women. Don’t dismiss, defend, or dispute. Really listen with the aim to understand.
Before finishing I just want to say that there are so many men in my life I love and admire. So many men who have both respected and valued me. This blog is not intended in any way to bash or belittle men. Instead, I’m hoping to open up the conversation and give some honest thoughts based off of my own experiences and the experiences of many around me.
Let’s not be afraid to have honest conversations, even if they are hard and uncomfortable.
Sharing openly and listening humbly can do wonders.