Sexual Assault and Me.

TRIGGER WARNING

Today I saw this awesome PSA that Joe Biden put together for the 1 is 2 Many campaign which was designed to bring awareness to the disturbing problem of sexual assault and violence against women, particularly women on college campuses.

Interestingly enough a few days ago I asked for your input on Facebook:

If you are a woman who doesn’t mind sharing her story, I would love it if you would answer the following question, either as a comment, a message or an email addressed to mkrabill@gmail.com. I promise to keep your identity secret if that is what you want. How and when in your life were you subject to unwanted sexual advances including but not limited to: comments, gestures, groping, forced contact, abuse, rape, etc? It is my guess that it is way more often than most people realize. I want to write a post about this topic in which I will include my own experiences.

Sadly, I did not receive very many responses. [Thank you to those who have responded. I will be sharing your stories in a future post and rest assured I will treat them with the utmost respect, care and confidentiality.] So today I would like to share my own experiences in hopes that more of you will be willing to share yours either in the comments section or anonymously via email. By sharing our stories I hope to bring awareness to the issue and to encourage other women by showing them that they are not alone and that they are not to blame.

To start out I will say that I believe I have lead a fairly normal and safe life as far as these things go. I never witnessed violence, disrespect or inequality in my home. I was never a victim of rape or incest and I have never been beaten by anyone or even been in a fight of any kind. However…

When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I had a man expose himself to me at the Ann Arbor public library. I was not alone. I was sitting in a common area with lots of other kids and he was sitting nearby in a chair reading a magazine with his legs apart in his very short late 70’s style running shorts sans underwear.

When I was about 9, I had an adult man I had just met that day try to kiss me in the woods at a family camp I was at with my parents. He wanted me to meet him for another walk the next day but I never went back.

The summer I turned 14, I had a 20 something guy who was working at a teen Christian camp I was at ask me for a birthday kiss and when I gave him a peck said, “No, I want a REAL kiss.” It was VERY awkward, but then he laughed it off since there were people standing nearby.

When we were moving to California we stayed at a couple of Air Force Bases. To pass the time, I would go to this activities center where people could do crafts, frame pictures, do ceramics etc. I liked to hang out in the print shop and the dude who worked there was really cool. And he was flattering; he offered to take my picture. He said I was photogenic. He even told me stories about how other kids had gone to his house and let him take pictures of them there. At the time I thought he was a nice guy. Now? I’m not so sure.

When I was 15 or 16, I was grabbed in the breast while walking alone down the sidewalk in Riverside, California. No comment. No warning. Just grabbed.

A co-worker referred me to by making the gesture of holding his hands in front of his chest to reference my breasts as if that is how I was known to the rest of the all male bartenders.

I have been paid less than a guy who was hired after me who had less experience. My manager said it was because he was a man and needed to provide for his family.

I was fired for “over pouring” shots at a bar where I worked. Fun fact: I didn’t over pour. I did however rebuff the advances of the management and their friends.

I have been grabbed and danced with against my will while cocktail waitressing.

I have been propositioned at my job at JC Penney.

I have had customers say things like, “You sure have a shirt full of those things, don’t you?”

I had a customer who continually asked me out on dates. No matter how many times I said no.

I had a customer who would ask me “hypothetical questions” every time he came into the club which usually involved my husband coming home and catching me and this dude in a compromising position. Disgusting.

Honestly, on most of these occasions I never even considered saying anything because it seemed to me that either nothing could be done or would be done, I was embarrassed and/or I wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened. Worse than that, I knew that often a woman is blamed when she is the victim of these types of behaviors and is thought to have “asked for it” in some way. Want to know what is weird? I learned to try to think of the verbal assaults as compliments. (How sick is that? I mean seriously, how sick is that?) And as for the ones that happened to me when I was a child, I think I mostly just thought I misunderstood what was happening.

This is not an exhaustive list of everything that has been said and/or done, however it does cover all the major events and give you a good idea of what kinds of things are said and done to women daily. I didn’t even mention the times I have been dismissed as “missy” or  “honey” in an effort to shut me down in a conversation or debate. I also didn’t include the times people have thought I was pushy or bossy or bitchy for wanting to be treated with respect. I have been told I have no sense of humor when challenging a sexist joke. I have been told that what I need is to get laid. I have been told to “calm down” or “not get so excited” when I speak about equality. I have even been told I’m cute when I’m angry or I’m sexy when I’m worked up.  Thank God that as of yet I have never received the comments that many female bloggers, gamers and politicians get threatening rape. If you are not aware of how prevalent this problem is for women online you can check out these articles (WARNING: These articles contain quotes of actual graphic threats made to real women)
http://jezebel.com/man-poses-as-woman-on-online-dating-site-barely-lasts-1500707724

http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/janelle-asselin-comic-book-rape-threats

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arent-welcome-internet-72170/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/21/female-journalist-gets-rape-threats-over-comic-book-criticism.html

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/helen-lewis-hasteley/2011/11/rape-threats-abuse-sex-female

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/let-s-be-real-online-harassment-isn-t-virtual-for-women

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/ceo-to-gamer-complaining-about-rape-threats-hes-tire-996706957

As I said before, I consider myself very fortunate to have lived a pretty amazing and safe life. I still have experienced way too much in this regard. It may surprise you to know that I am not even close to alone. Start asking your friends, your sister, your mom or your wife or girlfriend. You might be surprised what you hear. Give them time to really think about it though. I have found that many women automatically respond that they haven’t had it that bad. But if they are anything like me, when I began to write this stuff down, I just kept remembering and remembering.

If you have been the victim of rape or sexual assault of any kind, please talk to someone you trust and report it to the authorities. Men and boys can also be rape and sexual assault victims. Rape and sexual assault are never the fault of the victim, male or female. Rape and sexual assault are always wrong.

For victims assistance:
RAINN: Rape Abuse & Incest National Network
1.800.656.HOPE

http://www.rainn.org/

 

Statistics on Rape and Sexual Assault:
http://www.oneinfourusa.org/statistics.php

http://www.sarcbv.org/get-info/stat

http://www.cwfefc.org/svfacts.html

 

My Privilege

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 12.49.31 PM

You may have seen a Buzzfeed quiz going around lately titled “How Privileged Are You?” Well, I took it and above you can see my results.  ^^^

Funny thing about privilege, growing up I didn’t know I had it. Now, however, I understand that by virtue of the color of my skin, my sexual orientation and my family history, I have benefitted tremendously from the simple circumstances of my birth.

Don’t believe in privilege or simply don’t believe it has that much of an effect on life? I humbly submit that you may be more privileged than you think. That is the thing about privilege, it is a filter through which one sees every facet of life, and it is a filter that is inborn. It is only through education and relationships with others who do not experience the benefits our privileges provide that we are able to begin to see the need for change.

A quick note: I am by no means an expert in this area and it is really only in the last few years that I have begun to be educated on this topic, even having been raised by parents who taught me that men and women, rich and poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc., were all equal in the eyes of God.

Another quick note: you can be privileged in one area and completely not privileged in another. I think of it kind of like a continuum. That is why I kind of appreciated the BuzzFeed quiz, as non-scientific as it is. Yes I am white but I am also female. Yes I have money now, but I didn’t always. Here’s the thing though, the statement above is pretty right on. I have had a few struggles in my life, but I have also had many, many advantages that had ZERO to do with me and everything to do with who, where, when, and to whom I was born.

I would now like to share with you an excerpt from The President’s Devotional by Joshua DuBois,

NOVEMBER 5 – KEEPING WATCH

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)

As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we must be most aware of the change in the air –however slight– lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.  –Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglass, letter to the Young Lawyers Section of the Washington State Bar Association

Let’s keep watch. Let’s perceive the slow creep of oppression, wherever it might move. Let’s be aware of the darkness in our world–or even in our own soul–that seeks, like fungus to grow.

When we see it, or feel it, we pray that Christ would come into it and strike it out, making us new. We will not be victims. Nor will we be oppressors. No–today, we will keep watch.

Dear God, open my eyes not just to blessings but also to the potential of evil in the world. And when I perceive it, help me move against it. Amen.

We read this installment with our kids a few weeks ago and I was reminded of a Facebook post by my friend Markeetia McKinnis, which I shared with my children and husband on the spot at the breakfast table. As I read it aloud again, I couldn’t make it through without choking back tears. You see, this post helped me be more aware of my own inborn privilege and that of my children. Sharing it with them and with you is a small way in which I can strike out the slow creep of oppression:

As I wind down on this last day in Black History month, I reflect on how far the world has changed from when I was little black girl growing up in Mississippi to now a black mother of three residing in Texas. Some changes for the better….progress. Some changes for the worse. BUT, It is true, we are a different world. We have become a better people. We can now all drink from the same fountains. Attend the same schools. Aim for the same goals. Play the same sports….Through the worlds view, we are better. Even through this black mothers view, I feel on the majority of days, we are better. AND then there are those days when you’re driving with your husband and you’re stopped and the white officer calls him a boy in front of your kids. Or the day when the black President is re-elected and your kid comes home from school with tears in his eyes because he’s heard the N word for the first time. [her children attend school with my children at a private Christian school].Or the day you have date night with the hubby and you walk into Neiman’s and you’re followed around the store. OR the day when you’re out with your husband and people keep stopping you, because they think he’s a ball player. OR the day when you’re sitting during your kids American program feeling proud and then you realize that NOT ONE single black person was characterized during Black History Month. OR you realize that schools don’t even celebrate black history month anymore AND…..these are the days when you realize that despite how hard you’ve tried…this is your reality and you MUST educate your children…your black children. Because the reality is they are not only Americans….They are BLACK Americans. And unfortunately, they have a past that will follow them to heaven. So, you brace yourself for the why’s and the tears and the pain in their eyes….knowing that you can’t change their past. It is very much who they are. And unless we do them an injustice, we as their parents have to educate them on a world we as black people did not choose, but found ourselves being thrust in. A world that says it sees no color, but for the Black American that is so NOT our reality. I have had many tasks thrust upon me, but being a black mom is by far the most challenging. How much do you share? What EXACTLY do you say? I still have not quite figured that one out yet, SO I take it day by day and lesson by lesson. Allowing God to guide my heart and speech….Lately, I have taught them that they are who God says they are, not man. They are more than a color. That’s offensive, not cute. They are not brown, they are black. There history is more than just Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. They are walking on the backs of some of the greatest inventors and scientists in the world. They are more than just basketball players and runners, they are leaders and world changers. They are not projects, they are humans with hearts and desires. In the same breathe….as age appropriate as possible, I have taught them that they are the kid in the store with the hoodie on. They can’t do what everyone else does and get away with it. They cannot go everywhere, with everyone…even if all of there friends go. The same rules just don’t always apply. They are not rap music and slang talk -don’t allow people to disrespect you by assuming as much. They are not a statistic or JUST an athlete. They are the HEAD and not the TAIL. They are kings and queens. They are worthy….. I am slowly teaching them to “respect the struggle”….day by day…. #momminute #blackhistory #raisingblackkids#myworld

So, here is the thing, if you are a man you are privileged in some ways that women are not, no matter what race you are. If you are white you are privileged in some ways that minorities are not, even if you grew up poor. If you were born in the United States you are privileged in ways most of the world is not, no matter what other disadvantages you have had. There are so many more ways in which to be born privileged. I have been trying lately to examine my own filters. I think the quiz above can help you get started. Another thing you can try is if you are a man, ask some of the women in your life to tell you about all the times they have been harassed, molested or discriminated against for being a woman. If you are white, ask some of your friends who are not white to tell you about all the times they have been harassed, molested or discriminated against for being a person of color. If you are straight, ask some of the LGBT people in your life to tell you about all the times they have been harassed, molested or discriminated against for being LGBT. Then listen, and believe what they tell you. You might be surprised at what they have to say. It isn’t a lot, but it is a start.

For some other good educational reading on this topic…

You’re Damn Right I Believe in Another Gospel.

Since beginning this blog, I have had several Evangelical friends accuse me of believing “another gospel”. At first, I bristled at their accusations. But here today, I would like to say to them all, “You’re damn right. I believe in another gospel.”

If your gospel is that God is some sort of abusive parent who loves you “unconditionally” unless you die without accepting his love and then he sentences you to eternal conscious torment in hell, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel says some people aren’t good enough to help feed, clothe and educate children simply because they are married to someone of the same gender; if your gospel says you can cut off these kids like a subscription to Good Housekeeping because “Ewww, the gays.”; if your gospel closes the doors of heaven in people’s faces because of who they love, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel says women are eternally subjected to men because Jesus is eternally subjected to the Father; if your gospel says women are equal, but men are more equal; if your gospel excludes women from any area of ministry, leadership, service or vocation, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel allows you to feel oppressed when other people gain rights you have always enjoyed, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel encourages you to pass laws that discriminate against others, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL

If your gospel encourages you to identify and exclude people who disagree with you, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel permits you expelling a little girl from school for not being girly enough then, YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel teaches that women are responsible for the sexual sins of men, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel teaches that everything in the Bible is to be taken literally, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel teaches that God is some sort of genocidal terrorist who condones the killing of entire races, including children, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel features a God wrapped in the American flag, who always votes Republican, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel features an AR-15 toting, cage fighting, ass-kicking Jesus, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel is one of “us versus them” or “in versus out”, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

If your gospel puts anything above loving God and your neighbor as yourself, then YES, I BELIEVE IN ANOTHER GOSPEL.

The Gospel I embrace is one of love; one where we are all equal in the eyes of God. One where neither how much you’ve blown it or how perfect you’ve been is what matters; one where everyone gets to play. One where the Father loves without an unless; one where grace and generosity trump fairness; one where we do not get what we have earned or what we deserve but one where we all get to belong. The Gospel I embrace is truly good news, and if THAT is “another gospel” I am guilty as charged.

 

 

 

Don’t ask me if you can marry my daughter.

purityballMy husband never asked my father’s permission to marry me. We also didn’t ask for his blessing. Not only that, I have a feeling if Kent would have asked him he would have said it wasn’t his decision to make.

Because it wasn’t.

It was mine. My life was mine to join to someone else’s. My future was in my hands. My heart was mine to give.

Once Kent and I decided that we were going to get married we told both my parents together. Simple.

My parents, wise as they are, knew that even though they had given me life, raised me and protected me, they did not have ownership of my heart and could not give the naming rights to whomever they chose as if I were a sports arena. They knew that even though they had dreams for me, and thoughts about how my life would turn out, those were not necessarily my dreams for myself. They knew that they had raised me to be independent, wise and trustworthy and they knew that they had given me more and more freedom to make choices, to try and fail and to try and succeed. They knew that if at some point I found the one person I wanted to give my heart to, that they had already done what they could to help me make the best choice. They knew that if I wanted advice I would ask them for it. And I did. Plenty. But they also knew, lovelies, that it was my decision to make. My heart. My future. My life. My choice.

Recently the topic of so called “Purity Balls” (hee hee) has been back in the news. (I think maybe because it is spring? Not really sure. Is that when these things traditionally take place? Or possibly on Father’s Day (um, ewww)? Thank God I don’t know from first hand experience.) The first ball was put on by the Wilson family in Colorado Springs in 1998. Randy Wilson is a field director for the Family Research Council, which was originally part of Focus on the Family until 1992. The recent Nightline feature which ran March 22nd, featured Randy Wilson, Ron Johnson, the Pastor of Living Stones Church in Indiana and their daughters. Johnson, is quoted in the program as saying to the young women (who typically range in age from 9-14),  “You keep this [ring] on your finger and as this point you are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.” Seriously? Seriously? Does this creep anyone else the eff out?

The Balls, according to Wilson’s Generations of Light web page, now take place in 48 states. The ceremonies themselves resemble wedding receptions. The fathers give the daughters a ring (often they wear a ring themselves that they later gift to the future husband at the wedding), there is a father daughter dance, the girls wear white dresses and the father and daughter exchange pledges. The amazing thing to me is that these balls are considered “godly” events by their participants.

On Saturday night I shared this story with my Dad. He was disgusted and appalled and I thank God every day that I was raised by a father (and mother) who respected me as an individual, and never believed it was his job to be my “boyfriend” and who never taught me that I, individually, was to be married to Jesus. Ewwwwwww.

I am proud to say, my husband and I are carrying on the proud tradition my parents started. We are our daughter’s parents, we are raising her to be strong, brave, independent, discerning and trustworthy. When the time comes I hope we don’t know about her proposal before she does. If her future spouse does come to us first, I know exactly what I will say, “She is not mine to give. Her heart is her own. You will need to ask her. It is her choice.”

 

Mike Huckabee: A Lesson in Missing the Point

Dear Mr. Huckabee,

Yesterday you gave a speech in which you said,

“If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it,” Huckabee said at the RNC winter meeting. “Let’s take that discussion all across America.”

May I respectfully submit that you are thoroughly and completely missing the point of the conversation. Let’s start with the subject at hand: the Affordable Care Act’s mandated contraceptive coverage. There are many points being made by the Democrats about this coverage, none of which is that “women are helpless” and “cannot control their libido or reproductive system” without the help of the government. Personally I resent the statement that women who want their private insurance companies to be required to cover birth control are akin to having a sugar daddy. Mr. Huckabee, if your goal with this speech was to dispel the myth that there is a war on women, you are doing it wrong.

Up until recently, I have been a life-long Republican. It amazes me that there isn’t a meeting where someone from Party HQ sits every candidate and elected official down and says, listen, “STOP TALKING ABOUT WOMEN AND SEX AND BODY PARTS. It never goes well for us.” Honestly, what is amazing to me is that when you sat down to write this speech with your speech writers and advisors, you all thought this sounded like something that would play well with American women. Heck, my guess is that this line of bs doesn’t even go over well with most Republican women.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in a middle class American home. As I said before, I have been a life-long Republican until recently. I am 44 and have been married since I was 18 years old (26 years – thought I’d save you the math). I come from a military family and my father is a decorated retired Air Force Colonel. My husband and I waited 13 years to get pregnant with our first child. I have 2 beautiful children and 1 lost to miscarriage. I have never had an abortion (not that it is any of your business). My husband was the first in his family to graduate from college and now holds a JD from Pepperdine University. I have a BFA in Graphic Design from The University of Texas at Arlington. We did not always live as comfortably as we do now. When we were young, my husband and I had to rely on Planned Parenthood for free/low cost birth control pills. Thank God for them. At the time we had no health insurance and the cost of going to an Ob/Gyn and the prescription was just more than we had. I want you to know a few things, Mr. Huckabee,

  1. I did not need “Uncle Sugar” to help me control my libido.  I was married.
  2. I was, by going to Planned Parenthood, controlling my reproductive system.
  3. I was not helpless, but I would have been without the services provided to me by Planned Parenthood.
  4. My husband and I knew we were not ready to be parents, but we would have been forced to practice less effective methods of birth control were it not for PP.

Sir, I understand you do not personally think I needed the government to control my libido, etc., but you think that the Democrats do. YOU ARE AGAIN MISSING THE POINT. The point is…

Providing women with free/low cost Ob/Gyn care and birth control empowers them to be able to follow through on exercising wise and informed family planning. Also, studies show that providing free birth control actually REDUCES ABORTIONS. And isn’t that something we can agree on?

I personally am done having babies and using birth control. However, I am happy to pay my ACA health plan premiums so that other women and families can be provided the services I was, but at their doctor’s office instead of Planned Parenthood. Why, when women just want to be responsible with their choices, do you not want to help them do so? As far as I can tell, you want to do away with the ACA and Planned Parenthood. What then, sir, are we as women supposed to do when we cannot afford a health plan that covers Ob/Gyn care as well as birth control? Have an abortion? I don’t think any of us want that. Have a baby when we cannot afford one or take care of one? Doesn’t that just cause more family and societal issues? What about adoption? What if every woman who has used birth control to prevent a pregnancy since the advent of modern contraception had just had all those babies and given them up for adoption? That would be MILLIONS of babies. Do you honestly think we would have homes for them all? We would have to go back to having orphanages. Not everyone would be able to afford to take care of those children, especially since younger people are most likely to be on birth control. Some of us would not have been able to finish college. And that would add even more people to the welfare system. Perhaps you think women should only have sex when they are prepared to have a baby and that couples should have as many children as God gives them. That is up to you and your wife; you get to make that choice. When and how others choose to plan their families is not up to you. With all due respect, butt out.

Would you take dating advice from this man?

lookadoo

The Richardson Independent School District in north Dallas apparently thinks you should. Yesterday the  RISD brought in “motivational speaker” Justin Lookadoo to talk to its high school students about dating and relationships. In their defense, Justin is scheduled to speak at schools all over the United States and Canada this year. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY APPALLING.

You see, Justing has some very outdated, sexist advice for our young people.

Mr. Lookadoo is unabashedly christian (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As you know if you have been here very long, I am a follower of Jesus) however he leaves Biblical references out of his public school presentations. If you go on the Texas Speaker’s Bureau and look up Mr. Lookadoo you will find this description:

  • Top Texas Student Speaker
  • A high-energy, relevant message for the A.D.D. Generation

Justin Lookadoo is a top Texas school speaker. He was a Juvenile Probation Officer, and spent nearly six years as a Crime Prevention Specialist.  He knows students have it rough, and understands where they are coming from.  Justin is bilingual, offering programs in Spanish and English. Justin loves to talk. Go figure! He has been speaking to groups since 1989 and is excellent at what he does. To date, he has given over 3,000 speeches nationally and internationally. Just like Michael Jordan has the gift of being a great athlete, Justin has the gift of being a great speaker. And he works hard at it too! He is always researching and finding the edge that will make his programs current and relevant. Justin is a #1 bestselling author for his book Dateable and has had three other studient-oriented self-help books on the bestseller lists. Two of his books have been nominated for the prestigious Gold Medallion Award and he has sold over 275,000 books nationwide. Not bad for a kid whose two worst subjects were reading and writing.

Judging from this description, as an administrator I would think, what’s not to like? After all, he is to public speaking what Michael Jordan is to basketball. (*eye roll alert*) HOWEVER all one needs to do to find out this is a potential disaster is to search The Google and  look up his books on Amazon.com. Without even reading the reviews you will find out on Amazon that the back cover of “Datable” has these fun facts:

Girls, did you know?
– Guys will lie to you to get what they want
– If he’ll do it for you, he’ll do it to you
– If he doesn’t call it doesn’t mean he hates you
– A guy will treat you like you are dressed
– You might be talking too much
– He doesn’t want sex with you because he loves you, he wants it ‘cuz you’re a girl and you’re willing
– Guys love a mystery

Guys, did you know?
– If you’re too scared to ask her, then you’re not man enough to go out with her
– Girls will lie to themselves to get what they want
– Girls love it when you plan things
– You control how far you go
– Girls have their own kind of porn
– You can be a “real man” without becoming a “bad boy”
– Girls don’t understand you

On the Google you will learn that Lookadoo has a website (which was made available to the students) called rudatable.com (are you datable?). There you will see that there is a second book called “The Datable Rules” in which guys will learn to “live the adventure and to risk it all for God” and girls will learn “the importance of mystery and the power of subtle beauty”. Oh great, once again the boys get to have adventures and excitement. They get to write the script. And girls get to learn how to keep quiet and not draw too much attention to themselves. At this point I have to ask WHY? Why in the world would any public school have a man in to teach the students about dating and relationships whose book comes down to, men are the architects of their own lives and women are the furnishings. Please excuse me while I bang my head against the wall.

If you are so bold as to continue on at rudatable.com you will find that you are invited to take a quiz to see how datable you are. Apparently if you buy the book you can actually determine your datability rating on a scale of 1 to 5 stars! Justin himself has a 4 and a half star rating. If you make it through the silly true/false quiz and come out datable on the other side you will be encouraged to commit to “the list”. What list? I’m glad you asked. It is the same for both genders: 1. Be respectful at all times. 2. Treat your date like you want to be treated. 3. No means no.  Oh wait. Snap. Wrong list.

The girls list says: (my comments in parenthesis after)

As a Dateable girl I will:
1. Shut up and be mysterious (in other words STFU, no one cares what you have to say or if you want to say it, no one like a girl who talks to much…sorry this one hits a little close to home)
2. Not lie to myself (I learned the rest of this is “girls lie to themselves to get what they want”)
3. Keep it covered up (What is it? Where is the line? What if I don’t? See my many previous posts.)
4. Remember that I’m not one of the guys (What the hell? What is wrong with being “one of the guys”?)
5. Know that it will not last (What won’t last? This one just confuses me.)
Write your prayer below: (Dear God please help me stifle who I am to get a man. Goodness knows no one will like me for who I am or if I have too strong/too many opinions. Amen.)

The boys list says:

As a Dateable guy I will:
1. Stand up and be a real man (WTH does this mean? Who sets the definition? I am sure he will tell me in the book.)
2. Not lie to you or for you (Guys, he says, lie to you to get what they want. Also, girls apparently will want you to lie for them. Why? I’m not sure.)
3. Control how far we go (So it is up to the guy alone to determine how far things go physically? Hmm. Shouldn’t that really be a shared responsibility? Also see “no means no” above.)
4. Open doors and pull out chairs (Nice gesture.)
Write your prayer below: (Dear God, Please help me be a “real man” even though I am not sure what that means. Amen)

A few more nuggets of wisdom I learned with minimal research:

“Men of God are wild, not domesticated.  They don’t live by the rules of the opposite sex. ”

“Datable girls know when to shut up.”

Datable guys know…”They know they are stronger, more dangerous, and more adventurous and that’s okay.”

“Please, PLEASE don’t tease us. To show us your hot little body and then tell us we can’t touch it is being a tease.”

“Dateable girls know that guys need to be needed. A Dateable girl isn’t Miss Independent.”

Accept your girly-ness. You’re a girl. Be proud of all that means. You are soft, you are gentle, you are a woman. Don’t try to be a guy. Guys like you because you are different from them. So let your girly-ness soar.”

I think this whole line of thinking is damaging not just to girls but also to boys. I cannot for the life of me figure out why schools (and before you say, oh well Michelle, you live in Texas blah, blah, blah… This dude speaks all over the country. In public schools. At camps. At Juvenile detention facilities. ) would ever dream of inviting this guy in to speak. Don’t even get me started on what kind of message this sends to LGBT youth.

Sadly, it takes the students themselves to tell it like it is. Wednesday in Richardson #lookadouche was trending on twitter (today it is trending everywhere).  Here are a few tweets from the students of the RISD:

@jkredmon
A man gets to tell us what women can and can’t do. I don’t think so. Not at RHS. #lookadouche

@InGodsArmy
Either the best prank ever or the best attempt at reverse psychology to unite an entire student body. Regardless, fire ignited. #lookadouche

@emisccaffetti7
#lookadouche has many problems in the head.
@BmanToler23h
Don’t let some random guy who spoke at school with no ethos determine how you feel about yourself or objectify you. #rhs #lookadouche
@GreenEyedLilo
As a woman w/food allergies, I love that Justin Lookadoo thinks we should suffer in restaurants instead of telling our dates.
@irishfries13
still shocked at @JustinLookadoo ‘s presentation, gender stereotypes all around #lookadouche
@NateBeer
At this rate, our speaker on Friday will be Ritchie Incognito
@Megeramarie
I love that RISD has a no tolerance on bullying and they brought in a bully to motivate us.
These few tweets represent many many more which you can find for yourself on twitter at #lookadouche. These young men and women have renewed my hope that the tide against this kind of thinking is growing and that young people are beginning to recognize that this type of thinking helps no one and in fact hurts us all. Way to go Richardson Eagles. You guys rock. Way to stand up and speak out. #ROAR

A 20/20 view of the Manosphere

puerarchy

So, the Manosphere: It’s a thing and they would like you to swallow the “Red Pill”. Yes, like in The Matrix except not like in The Matrix. The bros of the manosphere have appropriated this phrase from the popular film franchise and use it to refer to waking up to the “truth” that it is men who have gotten the short end of the stick throughout history. The manosphere is an online community of loosely affiliated blogs and websites that guide you through life after swallowing the “Red Pill”. Most of these sites encourage men to become dominant “Alpha” males and develop “game” by which men will be able to have the most sex possible and/or that through dominating, shaming and gaming women you can get what you want, the world will be saved, women will actually be happier and families will stay together.

To hear them tell it the “Red Pill” is the new cure all wonder drug for men.

Until recently I didn’t realize that this corner of the internet existed and because of it I am experiencing a new appreciation for the phrase “ignorance is bliss”. However, remaining ignorant will never bring change. If we do not know we have walls full of vermin we will not call an exterminator. (No I am not advocating exterminating anyone. I am advocating extinguishing a damaging dogma and replacing it with love and respect.)

Tonight at 10 EST on ABC’s 20/20 they will be running a piece on the manosphere. My DVR is set. Perhaps after that I will do a follow up post. We shall see. In the mean time, if you would like to educate yourself on the inner workings of the manosphere you can check out the links below. I will try to divide them into their different focuses. You may want to have a puke bucket for when you feel nauseous, a stress ball for when you feel frustrated, a tissue box for when your heart breaks.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

PUA (pick up artist)
claim that by responding to natural cues women give off signaling what they as women actually do want, men can gain great power to seduce women

Return of Kings

Matt Forney (His tag line is ironically, “The man who shouted love at the heart of the world”). I don’t think he knows what the word love means.

Alpha Game

The Red Pill Room

Men’s Rights Activists
emphasize the injustice against men in areas like: anti-male bias in family law, and draconian domestic violence legislation that women demonstrably use as a strategic tool to attack innocent men, and how the misguided assumption that males are privileged contributes to men’s significant legal disadvantage

The Spearhead

A Voice for Men

Red Pill Traditionalist Christian
focus on using Red Pill concepts to empower women to protect themselves from feminist propaganda that will lead to unhappiness

Dalrock

A Voice for Men

Patriactionary

Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)
claim that the anti-male injustice is endemic to society and can only be addressed by its collapse, or simply that the emasculation of relationships with women in a feminist society, and the risks of marrying, having children, or even in some cases engaging relationships with women in a society with feminist laws are not worth the rewards

fedrz blog

MGTOWS forums

No Ma’am

Manosphere Economics and Political Philosophy
point to the inherent economic instability of feminism and the eventual social and economic collapse it will engender.[2]

Captain Capitalism

Vitas Brennus

The Rational Male

Female Manosphere Bloggers (yes, this is a thing too)

Sunshine Mary and the Dragon

On the Rock

Unmasking Feminism

Red Pill Wifery

Red Pill Marriage
run by men who provide instruction on using the techniques of Game/Seduction to build and maintain attraction within a marriage

Married Man Sex Life

Average Married Dad

Other

Viva la Manosphere

The Puerarchy

Boycott American Women

There is a blog called The False Rape Society. The Southern Poverty Law Center offers this description, “The False Rape Society is an Internet news aggregator, subtitled “Community of the Falsely Accused,” that features stories about allegedly false rape accusations and “feminist”-crafted “anti-male” legislation. While the site focuses heavily on news stories about false rape allegations, it frequently veers into such posts as the New Year’s Day item attacking a female supporter of then-presidential aspirant Michelle Bachmann for telling a reporter, “It takes a woman to get things done.”

Alcuin in Wonderland is a site that has gone private but you can read about them here.

RooshV

The Red Pill Society Pinterest page

The Red Pill Reddit

Marky Mark’s Thoughts which is also private but here is a screen shot from the google search:

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 5.11.29 PM

What Others Are saying

Business Insider: Inside Red Pill, The Weird New Cult For Men Who Don’t Understand Women

Southern Poverty Law Center

Manboobz

*credit to Wikipedia for my category descriptions

Well cut my hair and call me apostate! *to be said in your best Texas accent*

apostate

This week Attorney Matt Barber, president of Liberty Counsel Action, had anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera as his guest on his “Faith and Freedom” webcast. Their topic? John Shore & Dan Savage’s NALT Christians Project. The gist of their hate fueled ramblings is this:

“To have vile, anti-Christian bigots, who are pushing a radical, dangerous sexual anarchist agenda, presuming to lecture Christians, and have people — self-identified Christians, liberal so-called Christians — upload videos about how they support something that God calls an abomination — there’s no other word for it — it’s apostasy when you have self-described Christians do it.”

This week I was also a guest on a web interview blog…Outlaw Theology with The Whiskey Preacher on Patheos.com (I will be posting links as soon as they are up!!). Full disclosure: you will not be seeing either Peter LaBarbera or Matt Barber interviewed there anytime soon. Although, I am sure Phil (aka The Whiskey Preacher) would have lots of great questions for them. 🙂 Funny thing is, my interview was actually about my personal evolution in becoming a welcoming and affirming christian/pastor/blogger. When we were done, Phil was also kind enough to help me make my very own NALT video (Which will also be up soon!!!!). I am sure Mr. Barber and Mr. LaBarbera will be very disappointed with what I had to say.  But that’s okay because I am very disappointed with what they had to say. They are upset that we NALT (not all like that) christians are making videos supporting something the Scriptures call an abomination.  Well, I have news for them, I support several things the Bible calls an abomination and some it just says are wrong. GASP! Say it isn’t so!!! (I bet my friends from the beginning of the article probably also support some of these given I have seen their sideburns). That’s right lovelies, along with fully supporting my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I also support:

  • Eating shellfish
  • Having sex with a woman (you are married to) who is on her period (if she is consenting, OBVIOUSLY)
  • The menswear look for ladies (hello, Diane Keaton)
  • Kilts for the dudes
  • Cutting your sideburns
  • Re-marrying someone you divorced (I have known several couples who have done this)
  • Marrying someone new after you get divorced
  • I am decidedly pro bacon, pepperoni, honeybaked ham, carnitas and pork chops.
  • Wearing clothing with more than one type of fiber
  • I am down with crop rotation (I come from several generations of farmers)
  • There is a bunch of stuff the Bible says you can’t touch, some are kind of gross but I am cool with you touching them (for instance I am for you touching a dead pig for the purposes of playing football)
  • Tattoos, even though I don’t have any
  • Long hair for men and short hair for women
  • Women praying with their heads uncovered
  • Women teaching men and/or boys and/or other women/girls (yes, even in church)
  • Women NOT being property of either father or husband or brother or dead husband’s brother
  • I am cool with it if you don’t want to marry your rapist
  • If your husband is getting mugged and you think you can stop things by grabbing the guys junk really hard…I promise I won’t cut off your hand
  • I won’t be mad if you don’t stone your kid for dishonoring you
  • I am even good with you working on Saturday or Sunday or even paying someone else to work by serving you lunch after church (I know I do)

Here is the thing, these two guys do not follow every instruction given in the Bible. They. Just. Don’t. They interpret. They pick and they choose. And I am sure they use all sorts of things to support their beliefs. So do I. So do I. I don’t know about you but when I read scripture, some things are crystal clear, some are blurry and some are downright opaque. The clearest thing I can find is that I am supposed to love God and love people, ALL PEOPLE. No if. No until. No unless. I just don’t think Jesus gives me another option.

BONUS: DID YOU NOTICE APOSTATE LITERALLY MEANS “RUNAWAY SLAVE” IN THE GREEK. I KIND OF LIKE THAT.

If you would like to know what I do with any of the “clobber passages” you can check out the series I did awhile back. I addressed them all. or If you would rather watch a video check out Matthew Vines. He rocks.
You can also see the response of the creators of the NALT Christians Projects here.

So there is an article about the “8 Reasons to NOT send your daughter to College” on the interwebs and it makes my head want to explode.

Photo © News4Education

Photo © News4Education

Here is a link to the article (which I heard about from David Hayward and his thought-provoking cartoons of awesomeness) should you be interested in having your brain leak out your ear… 8 Reasons to NOT Send Your Daughter to College.

It is full of gems like #1 She will attract the wrong types of men.  or #3 She will not learn to be a wife and mother.

I. JUST. CANNOT. EVEN.

As you can imagine, my first instinct was to write a snark filled response going through each item one at a time.

example: #1 You mean like college educated men who value her for something more than her tuna casserole recipe or her child-bearing hips? See, not a good idea. Not loving.

I also thought about just reposting the list with the gender pronouns reversed.

example (emphasis added):
His: “So if it is unnecessary for one to be in a near occasion of sin, is it prudent to willingly put oneself there?  This is no small matter we’re dealing with here.  Is a degree worth the loss of your daughter’s purity, dignity, and soul?  Catholic OB-GYN Dr. Kim Hardey [notice this is a FEMALE doctor who presumably went to a TON of college] notes that a woman is naturally very observant of a man’s faults as long as she is in a platonic relationship with him.  Once she becomes sexually active with him, she releases hormones that mask his faults, and she remains in a dreamy state about him.”
Mine: So if it is unnecessary for one to be in a near occasion of sin, is it prudent to willingly put oneself there?  This is no small matter we’re dealing with here.  Is a degree worth the loss of your SON’S purity, dignity, and soul?  Catholic OB-GYN Dr. Kim Hardey notes that a man is naturally very observant of a woman’s faults as long as he is in a platonic relationship with her.  Once he becomes sexually active with her, he releases hormones that mask her faults, and he remains in a dreamy state about her.

Instead lovelies, I am simply going to give you EIGHT 20 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY SEND YOUR DAUGHTER (and son for that matter) TO COLLEGE.

  1. A college education will provide her opportunities to learn and experience things she may not otherwise be exposed to.  College provides not only classroom learning opportunities, but also opportunities to meet people from other cultures and faith backgrounds, which will make her world simultaneously bigger in her understanding and smaller in that she will make personal connections with people from around the country and the world. When she spends time with people different from herself it will make her richer and helps her realize that the image of God is present in all people.
  2. A college education will teach her to question things she has been taught are truth. This is always good because all truth is God‘s truth and truth has nothing to fear of questions.
  3. A college education will give her the confidence and security of knowing that come what may she can take care of herself. This will give her the power to leave an abusive relationship, survive the breakup of her marriage (God forbid), help to provide for her family, or provide completely if her husband dies.
  4. A college education means that she is more likely to marry, to stay married and to be happy in her marriage. She is also more likely not to say the #1 benefit of marriage is financial security.
  5. A college education will help her find her passion in life and help her to pursue her dreams even if that passion and dream is to be a stay at home mom.
  6. A college education will open doors to her that would otherwise be closed and she will be able to earn more money for any job she takes.
  7. Her children (your beautiful grandchildren) will be happier, healthier and more likely to get an education themselves. For example, obesity rates for children of college educated people are approximately 1/2 of that of the children of high school graduates.
  8. Education is its own reward. Your daughters as well as your sons will benefit far beyond their ability to get a job.
  9. The unemployment rate for people with a college degree is half of what it is for people with a high school diploma and one-third of what it is for people who didn’t graduate from high school.
  10. She will be less likely to smoke. “The percentage of four-year college graduates who smoked declined from 14% to 9%, while the rate for high school graduates declined from 29% to 27%.”

  11. She will be less likely to be obese and will be in generally better health. According to BMC Health and Carnegie Mellon, A high level of education has been linked to lower blood pressure and that college degree holders have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, compared to people with less education. Also according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, men and women who earned a college degree are also at a lower risk of developing colorectal, prostate, lung and breast cancer.
  12. She will be more likely to have health insurance coverage. (According to a 2008 report by the College Board, nearly 70 percent of college graduates had employer-provided health insurance, while only 50 percent of high school graduates had benefits.)
  13. She is more likely to report high job satisfaction according to the Education Pays survey.
  14. If she is college educated she is more likely to marry someone who is college educated. When both parents are college graduates, their children (your grand babies, God bless them) will be more likely to go to college and reap all these benefits. It is a cycle of awesomeness.
  15. She is less likely to be incarcerated. Only  .1% of all college graduates are incarcerated compared with 2% of the general population.
  16. She is more likely to volunteer and will spend more hours doing it. According to the Education Pays survey:

    “Among college graduates, the volunteer rate is 46 percent, over twice the 22 percent rate for high school graduates.”and”Among those who volunteer, the median number of volunteer hours increases with educational attainment, with the 46 percent of college graduates who volunteer averaging 60 hours during the year, compared to 52 hours for those with some college, and 48 hours for high school graduates and for the adults with less than a high school diploma who volunteer their time.”

  17. She will be more likely to vote and have her voice and concerns represented. Again, according to Education Pays:

    In the 2000 presidential election, 74 percent of U.S. citizens who were college graduates between the ages of 25 and 44 reported voting, compared to 45 percent of high school graduates. Among citizens between the ages of 65 and 74, 86 percent of college graduates and 72 percent of high school graduates reported voting.

  18. She will be almost 3 times as likely to donate blood to help others.
  19. According to the CDC she will live longer; almost 9 years longer than people without a high school diploma and about 7 years longer than those with only a high school diploma.
  20. And believe it or not, she is more likely to attend worship services regularly. A survey from the Association of Religious Data Archives shows that college graduates are the educational group that’s most likely to regularly attend weekly worship services.

The Hall Boys, Miley and the Moral Compass.

madonnaSo this week I watched as my feed filled up yet again with talk of modesty. The cascade of digital atta girls, also known as reposts by people I know and love were of an article by Kimberly Hall called, “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)” (If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out. I will wait right here).

These reposts were prefaced by statements like,

“parenting win”
“it’s about time”
and
“as a mother of sons, thank you”

I was also encouraged by a number of response articles. Some grace filled, some snarky; some from other christians and some from non or former christians. Posts such as Seeing a Woman by Nate Pyle, which said in part:

Unfortunately, much of how the sexes interact with each is rooted in fear.  Fear of rejection, fear of abuse, fear of being out of control.  In some ways, the church has added to this.  We fear each other because we have been taught the other is dangerous.  We’ve been taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin.  We’re told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things.  Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you.  Her body will not cause you harm.  It will not make you do stupid things.  If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things.  So don’t contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.

A woman’s body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious.  Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings.  Let her be confident.  Encourage her confidence.  But don’t do all this because she is weaker.  That’s the biggest bunch of crap out there.  Women are not weaker than men.  They are not the weaker sex.  They are the other sex.

I’m not telling you to not look at women.  Just the opposite.  I’m telling you to see women.  Really see them.  Not just with your eyes, but with your heart.  Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.  

My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them.  Don’t just be around women.  Be with women.

Or this gem from Renegade Mothering (Language warning): FYI (If you’re a Hall boy)

In other words, it places the responsibility of YOUR morality on the shoulders of others, and that is wholeheartedly idiotic. I mean, how could anybody ever be a decent person if circumstances beyond our control determined what we think and how we behave? It also, incidentally, fuels what we like to call “rape culture,” wherein the girl is raped by the boy because she was a “slut” and therefore “asking for it.” The boy was the real victim because he was rendered powerless by her unprotected vagina and lack of bra. Your mother’s idea that GIRLS need to cover themselves so YOU can behave like a gentleman is the exact same mentality that fuels rape culture, and results in things like Steubenville or 30-day sentences for pedophile rapists.

And this one. THIS ONE. I want to post it in its entirety because it is just that good. But I trust you, go read this one yourself. It is called An “FYI” to My Daughters by The Lippy Lactator. Here is a small taste of the greatness:

Don’t get caught up in it all, my darlings.  Don’t wear that mini skirt because you want the attention of that guy.  If that guy is worth your time, he will like you regardless of what you wear.  Sex obviously sells, which is a sad thing.  You see it everywhere, I know you do.  Remember that you are MORE than just sex to the world.  You deserve to be treated that way, and the way you dress doesn’t make you any less deserving of that.  However, if you love how confident you feel in that mini skirt, or that bathing suit is *just* your style…by all means…rock it, sister.  Wear the clothes you love for you.  But be sure to take the time to get to know you.  Take the time to learn to love you.

Parents need stop with the gender stereotyping.  They are doing much, much more harm than good.  They teach their boys that girls who dress a way they don’t find appropriate aren’t worth the time and acceptance of their son.  They teach them that girls are just temptresses out to muddy the thoughts of their precious little boy.  They teach their children that it is OK to sit down as a family and scroll through their social media and shame anyone who doesn’t fit in the tiny little box they keep them in.  They teach them that girls who act or dress or believe differently than them have no character.  No self respect.  No right to be respected by others.  They are doing nothing but perpetuating this horrible cycle.  And trust me, no matter how much you try to be *perfect* for their son, this type of person will always find something “wrong” with you.  No girl will ever be deserving of their perfect little son.  Ever.

Now, let’s flashback to the VMA’s of a couple weeks ago when my feed was full of Miley & Robin. Well, actually if we are being honest, it was full of Miley, because frankly we all know Robin Thicke had nothing to do with what happened to him on that stage. He was the helpless male totally at the whim of Miss Cyrus and his own libido. I mean if presented with the opportunity no man alive would have the power to make another choice. Nevermind that Ms. Cyrus was nowhere to be found when he made his Blurred Lines video. But I digress.

I have been thinking about writing about “The Performance” on and off since it happened. Part of me was exhausted by just the thought of trying to organize my thoughts on the topic and part of me was just bored of it all. I mean, a shock value performance on the VMA’s? Ho Hum. Hasn’t that been happening like, forever? First there was that grandmother of all shockers, Madonna, then came her offspring… Brittney, Christina, Gaga and Miley. [Special mention to Prince and his assless pants: what you don’t remember that?] I guess the girls are the ones we remember most] Its like 4 generations of powerful women shocking people all the way to the bank.

Admit it. America kind of gets off on feigning shock and outrage over these performances. And yes, I agree they don’t do much to elevate the conversation on gender equality. Except, I suppose, when they shine a bright light on our tendency (as made blatantly obvious by the general pass given to the married, 36 year old father, Robin Thicke) to throw out the boys will be boys cliché and make sure we tell the women involved to cover up and be a lady.  I mean, Mrs. Hall, back me up on this one…have the women of our generation who ran around dressed like Madonna in bustiers, crinoline and rubber bracelets forgotten that a little rebellion and a little sexuality didn’t kill us like so many thought it would? Or that most of the women who were doing that are now grown up productive members of society, some even of churches?

This morning I read a piece by Christian Piatt over at Patheos in which he discusses the Miley post fest and I couldn’t help but think of it in light of Mrs. Hall’s letter to teenage girls. He writes:

Although in some respects, women and girls have made strides toward gender parity in our culture, there is still a persistent, if sometimes subtle, subtext narrated to our girls, which is that sex is the most efficient and potent mean of access to power they have. Yes, my daughter is told now at such a young age that she can be anything she wants when she grows up. And I hope that is true, but I already hear the comments from friends, family members and teachers about her appearance and anticipated future success with boys, and how it affects her behavior. and honestly, it only gets more pronounced as girls reach puberty and beyond.

So perhaps, rather than men in power resisting the progress of women being the greatest current barrier to parity, it now is the unpleasant reality that sexualizing young women works for innumerable purposes in our world. None more so, perhaps, than the popular music industry. So it’s really a bit disingenuous of us to express shock or disgust when Miley Cyrus fondles herself or engages in orgiastic dance numbers in front of an audience of millions. After all, the culture set up the rules of the game long ago and, in spite of our assertions to the contrary, the economies of power, money and fame depend heavily on appealing to our baser instincts.

So judge Miley if you must, but in doing so, realize that she is only a speck that is part of a much larger log in our collective cultural eye.

Do you see lovelies? When Miley states that she told people her performance was going to make history and then it becomes one of the most tweeted events ever we expose our morbid fascination with the perceived sins of others. We are all stuck with Miley on a merry-go-round that is very hard to get off. The cycle goes something like this:

  1. Women/Girls are slut-shamed and told they are responsible for the sins of men and protecting their morality –>
  2. Women/Girls act out in an attempt to grasp power not afforded to them in equal measure by other means –>
  3. People say “see, Women/Girls really are sluts at heart and must be told to cover up before they corrupt men who are just being who God/nature made them (visual creatures who are compelled to spread their seed and are slaves to their anatomy)” –>
  4. Society believes and perpetuates through feigned shock and shame that women/girls are responsible for the sins of men and protecting their morality.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

And around and around we go.

side note: I actually read one article today posted by a friend that made many good points. But then he lost me. He kept saying that the reason the church is obsessed with modesty is because of get this, “the church has become feminized”! Once again, it is made the fault of women. The reason women are told to be more modest is because we have believed the lie that we have power over men. He says,  

“I believe the Church has become feminized in this: we talk about the Woman as being in control over the Man.  She can dress one way to seduce him, or dress another way to leave him free to choose.  This is not so.  The Man chooses to be seduced or not seduced.”  

While I agree that the man is free to choose, I emphatically disagree that this is the result of the feminization (the shift in gender roles and sex roles in a society, group, or organization towards a focus upon the feminine) of the church. This idea that women are responsible for all sexual sin including having the power over a man’s impure thoughts comes not from women or feminism but from the church fathers. Look it up. John Wesley, Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Saint Augustine and many more including scads of popular pastors even today espouse this very doctrine.

Honestly it is hard for me to blame Miley (as uncomfortable as her performance made me). She has followed the script and played a role played by many before her. She has taken the reins of power away from the people who have held them in her life and is attempting to chart her own course. Yes, IMHO she is making the mistake of confusing notoriety for respect and fame for admiration. But it is a mistake I have seen over and over. People who were given little or no freedom or autonomy to make decisions, and yes even mistakes (PKs, Quiverfulls, Ultra Conservatives, Child Stars and kids with over protective helicopter parents and yes, perhaps even the Hall boys) sometimes, when they finally get an opportunity to taste freedom, make some pretty destructive choices before they figure out how to lead a balanced life and what course they want to follow. For child stars, children of politicians or mega church pastors they have the unenviable lot of having to do it in the public eye. Their mistakes and missteps while trying to figure out how to live a life of freedom that doesn’t lead to destruction can be very difficult and some sadly won’t live through it. [Here is a question, how could we actually increase the odds that they do live through it? Perhaps a little grace or maybe even just a little less judgement?]

For me lovelies, it comes down to this: Growing up is hard. Raising kids is hard. Stopping the cycle mentioned above is hard. I certainly don’t have all the answers. I empathize with Mrs. Hall in that she really thinks she is helping by joining in the chorus of voices telling girls to cover up and blocking people we deem unworthy by virtue of their perceived shortcomings. But here is the thing: We do not learn to make good choices by turning over our moral compass to someone else to police and we cannot teach our kids to find their moral true north on their own by never letting them hold their own compass. We do not do them any favors when we tell them that an entire gender, a preacher or even we can read the compass for them and that if they follow the bearing of our denomination, gender philosophy or political party they will be safe. Sooner or later they grow up, and they must navigate the often choppy waters of this life for themselves. Hopefully by then the compass we give them has a needle that points them straight to the true north of love, grace and mercy for others and for themselves. And hopefully they know how to read it for themselves.

In the end, it is for me like this song…and I pray that what we have taught both our daughter and our son is enough. That they use the love of Christ as their compass. Love that covers a multitude of mistakes. Love that forgives and keeps no record of wrongs. Love that sees past twerking and selfies and awkward teenage hormones. Love that speaks truth and healing. Love that gives second, third and ninety-fifth chances. Love that says we are all valuable and equal and bear the image of the living God.

The Boat
Billy Falcon

I built this boat
The best I could
With hands of love
From the finest wood
I braced the bow
I stitched the sail
I blessed every brass screw and nail

Lord, go with her when the sea is angry
Lord, go with her in the raging storm
Lord, go with her when the days are cruel
Lord, go with her when the night’s too long

Studied the stars, searchin’ to find
The safest course, and the kindest tide
Lifted her down the stony trail
I set her in the water, and raised her sail

Lord, go with her when the sea is angry
Lord, go with her in the raging storm
Lord, go with her when the days are cruel
Lord, go with her when the night’s too long

Worrying from the watchtower
As the red sky fades
My heart drops to my stomach
As she tumbles through the waves
She slips past the horizon
That’s when I realize
She was always yours
Never really mine

Lord go with her when the sun is golden
Lord go with her when way is clear
Lord go with her when the whole world loves her
Lord go with her When I’m. no longer..

Lord go with her when the sea is angry
Lord go with her in the raging storm
Lord go with her when the days are cruel
Lord go with her when the night’s too long

P.P.P.P.S. This is a thought provoking article called The Moving Target of Morality. I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in so I am just tagging it on as a value added bonus.