Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman. Why? Well because I am one, but as I have been comparing myself to women on tv and the projected ideal of womanhood from humanity, I am at a complete loss. I don’t see any woman who can rise to the view the world holds, skinny but healthy, sexy but reserved, calm and reserved yet passionate, more and yet less, flawless skins but natural beauty… I could go on and on with the list of ideals the world demands of women that in and of themselves cancel each other out.
I watch teenage girls today navigate through social media where every picture posted must be “perfect” with their hair right and lips puckered. I watch as every flaw is swept away, every bulge discovered, every diet tried to be the artificial perfect the world demands. I watch as they listen to the songs of this day, and praise the “beat” when the words only tear them down.
Songs like “Talk Dirty” to me that literally tell a woman to “suck my……” or “From the Window to the Wall” where the lyrics say, “from the window to the wall till the sweat drops down my … all these “females” crawl.” Women and men are listening to these lyrics and the images that they created, and all the while the lies they promote become our reality.
I want to throw up just typing the words. That women would be degraded to an object of sexual fulfillment and be relegated to just being “female.” Or the idea that all men want and desire is for a female to fulfill these sexual duties. I am disgusted by the idea that the world believes those of the female gender must submit to the men of the world and their sexual needs/desires; that our only value in today’s society is in the sexual pleasure that we bring to this world.
I am disgusted but more than that I am outraged.
Then I look at female singers of this day, who claim to be about the power of being a woman but all they sing about is sex and the female anatomy. Excuse me, but do they really understand that they have succumbed to the world’s view of women.
I am disgusted but more than that I am outraged.
For a long time I thought I was immune to all of this. Why? Because I had a dad who valued women, who told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be. Because I had a mother who shared her struggles to feel loved and who desperately wanted her daughters to know their worth. Because I was a Christian and didn’t that mean that I was immune to all this? Didn’t it mean that I understood my worth?
Well, when we don’t realize what we are giving in to then how can we stand against it? When it is “only” a song lyric and all I “actually” listen to is the beat, how can the message become my reality? Whether we hear the words or not, what comes through our ears takes up resident in our minds. And in high school this became my reality. l I had a lot of guy friends; they would come over and hang out, I would drag them to youth group and it seemed like the normal male/female friendships you have found in high school for ages. I pray that it wasn’t.
There was more than one instance where my “guy friends” in high school would talk about me sexually. They would talk about parts of my body and ask how much different sexual acts would cost. I would always ignore them when these were mentioned and often the encounter would end with one of the guys shutting the conversation down. But I allowed it to continue day after day and week after week all throughout high school. I heard what the songs had to say about women and so when these guys, who I considered friends, spoke these words to me I didn’t flinch. It was common place, because wasn’t that normal?
There was one young man who I wouldn’t even consider a friend in high school that went beyond just words. He was a friend of my friends who I cared little for. We would often argue about politics and religion. But, because of my personality, I gave him access to my life. I allowed him to be around and be a “friend.” Without fail there were numerous occasions where he would hug me and then grab my butt. I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt, that he was “joking” and didn’t mean any harm, all the while dying inside that all my guy “friends” did was laugh. I brushed it off and pretended like it never happened.
It breaks my heart to think that I never once realized how perverted and wrong those incidents were. I laughed and shrugged them off thinking, “boys will be boys.” That is true, boys will be boys but these weren’t some of those moments, each of these incidents was really sexual harassment. My body is not something to be commented on, it is not something to make a joke about or something to analyze for sexual pleasure. My body is not a piece of meat to be held and measured and fondled. My body is a work of art created by THE Creator. It was meant to be honored and loved and respected, to be revered as the work of art it is.
My heart breaks not just for what I went through but knowing that there are girls today, walking the halls of high schools, middle schools, colleges and even corporate America going through the same thing and thinking, like me, that it is normal. Why? Because that is what society tells us: guys are sexual being who can’t control their urges and women are to be sexualized and exploited for what they have to offer. If you cover up too much and don’t offer anything you are a prude but when you give of yourself and give in to what the world demands you are a slut. It is a lose lose situation.
Thankfully, today, I have men in my life who really are friends. They don’t make jokes about my body. They don’t ask how much for a sexual favor or sneer at me as though I was a piece of meat. I have men in my life who honor me, who respect my boundaries and who with my heart in mind are clear in their intentions. I have men who understand that I was created, both body and soul, as a masterpiece of God. They understand both the beauty of each human being and the sacred act of sex within the confines of marriage.
And so to all girl who are out there, if you have “guy friends” who discuss you sexually, who comment on your body and degrade you, they are not your friends. It is not okay. And whether it is normal in today’s society or not, it is sexual harassment. Don’t feel as though you deserve it because you don’t. You are worth more than the words that they speak and the thoughts that they think. There are guys, no let me rephrase that, there are men out there who understand the beauty of a woman not for her “attributes” but for her heart and her soul, for the love that she carries and the life that she has to live. Trust me when I say that you are worth more than the “boys” in your life will ever understand. Put away the songs that degrade, regardless of the beat, and take up the Word of life. When they ask for a naked picture know that they are not worthy of your love or devotion or time. When they say, “if you loved me you would have sex with me” know that if they loved you they would never even ask.
Genesis 2:18, 22-24 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” … And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Song of Solomon 4:1 Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead.
Proverbs 31: 10-31 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
Just three examples of what scripture has to say about women. Notice anywhere that it talks about what we have to offer in sexual gratuity or the sexiness of our features? Nope. Why? Because we were made for so much more. Please ladies, and even gentlemen, don’t allow the world to lie to you, sex is not the end all to be accomplished. Sex is a joy created to bring two people together in intimacy as an example of the intimacy our Creator created us to have with Him. Sex creates life and love and a beautiful bond. Do not allow the world to make sex dirty or cheap and do not believe the world when it says that is all you are worth.
Lift your head high. And know that you were created with so much more worth – “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” And instead of babe you should be called, “my love” the one that they adore. We are created as more than something to appease the eyes but instead man and woman were created to be in complete unity together, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Not one satisfying the other but instead two becoming one in ALL things.
Put down the dirty lyrics and trade them for the Word of life. Take off the worldly vision and see who you were created to be; loved, beautiful, purposeful and worthwhile.