The misogyny we breathe

contains language and discussion of rape and abuse

This (misogyny) is something that stood out to me again as I watched and read some things that made me realize how much disrespect and hatred is still directed towards women often in subtle ways. This is done by men and women and can sometimes come from people you would least expect to see or hear it from. (Also just to be clear I am fully aware that men are abused and victimized but that is not the point of this particular post.)

First example: I started watching the Netflix series that was popular a few months back called The Crown. It is about Queen Elizabeth II and the time in her life when she was about to marry and became queen of England. Towards the beginning of the first episode we see her father, who struggles with a stutter, saying a rhyme which includes the word cunt. It is supposed to be a joke but seems unfortunate considering the rest of the time we are to believe that he loves his wife and daughters dearly. Not that men can’t say hurtful things and not still love women but it just struck me that making even that small joke shows how disrespectful even the “good” men can be without even realizing what they are doing.

Second example: This story about a teacher being raped while overseas is prefaced by her stating there were conversations leading up to the assault that indicated one of the men who raped her had little to no respect for women. She states she considered herself a feminist who understood men are solely responsible if they make the choice to abuse a woman. But even the red flags in these seemingly harmless conversations and attitudes were shrugged off by this woman because… well men objectify and look down on women so often its barely worth registering most the time never mind making any kind of deal out of it.

Third example: Another show I started watching goes over the cold case murder of a nun in Maryland back in 1969. Shortly after this woman went missing so did another (not a nun). And people started worrying about who was killing women in the town. And the sad fact is women disappearing and getting murdered these days is yet another part of life in US culture that this barely even phases people anymore.

Many books have been written covering the specific abuse and mistreatment women face simply for being women. Just a couple examples include Half the Sky and Scars Across Humanity. These and many other books I’ve read show the uniquely evil way women are hurt (usually by men) in ways and numbers that aren’t even comparable to men. Some of the many ways women are abused and objectified in generally greater numbers than men include: rape (including pedophilia and used as a tool for war), domestic violence, female genital mutilation, honor killings/rape, death in childbirth, infanticide and gender selective abortions, child marriage, sex trafficking, pornography, stripping, ect. This doesn’t include the “lesser” problems like street harassment or policing what women wear from a hijab to yoga pants and so many other debates that are made around what women can and cannot do simple because they are female. Added to all this are the various ways women are objectified in the media and talked about in ways that are far more superficial than the way men are generally discussed or presented. Also on my way to writing this I came across this article outlining things women in the US couldn’t do as recently as the 1950’s and 60’s. These include things like opening a bank account by themselves and running in the Boston Marathon.

Obviously a single blog post isn’t going to summarize all that is wrong in this world when it comes to the mistreatment of women but I’m spending time writing some of these things all down for the simple reason that some people want to believe that sexism and misogyny are a thing of the past or not as big a deal as they once were. This of course is usually said by men or women who haven’t been hurt by the things I listed above or been significantly confronted with it in their life experiences.

Years of working as a crime victims advocate, teaching girls (taken out of abusive homes and who were at risk of being trafficked by their own families) at a shelter as well as my own personal education about the many issues surrounding gender based violence has made me very angry yet also very tired of people that just don’t seem to care or think misogyny is something worth eradicating or addressing in their own lives.

All this to say that while we can see some progress is being made in better treatment of women there is still so much that goes by unnoticed in the world simply because we don’t even realize its there.


Weekly Ponderings

Here are some things I read over the last couple of weeks that made me think. Inclusion does not equal a full endorsement of everything in each post. To read each post in its entirety click on the title beneath each excerpt.

“But if I’m honest, Donald Trump’s behavior is the public repudiation and total exposure of my own sin. Every time he tweets impulsively, every time he lies, every time he revels in his own grandiosity, he is doing things that I have done and continue to do. So if I respond to Donald Trump’s demise like a Christian, it would be with my own repentance.”

How should Christians respond to the demise of Donald Trump?  by Morgan Guyton

“Relief and development work, or “charity” more generally, was condoned only if it was explicitly subservient to the proclamation of the gospel — a means to that end and not something regarded or conducted as an end in itself…

It seems to me that this Great Commission objection has waned in the 21st century. I would count that as a positive development, except that I fear it has simply been replaced by something else that’s even worse… Today they seem to demonstrate that same instinct, but it’s no longer proclamation evangelism that they worry may be undermined — it’s opposition to legal abortion.

It means that white evangelicals may be permitted, conditionally, to consider some other, tangential causes — “creation care,” or “racial reconciliation,” or “human trafficking,” or whatever you like — but only to the extent that these things do not distract from the absolute, paramount duty white evangelicals have to support the election of Republicans to every branch and every level of government in the hopes that they will eventually pack the Supreme Court with enough anti-abortion justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.

That’s a starkly blunt way of putting it, but that is the essence of the objection. All those other causes, you see, may be laudable and commendable in and of themselves, but they’re all also vaguely liberal-seeming. And it’s dangerous to permit ourselves to have too much sympathy for liberal-ish causes because that might undermine our resolve to vote for the kind of anti-liberals we need to support in order to fulfill our paramount obligation of criminalizing abortion…

It seems like the instinctual white evangelical response of “Maybe, but it mustn’t be allowed to distract us from our pre-eminent duty to proclaim the gospel” has largely been replaced with “Maybe, but it mustn’t be allowed to distract us from our pre-eminent duty to be ‘pro-life.’”

Such a monumental shift seems like something worth noticing.

Soap, soup, and support for Supreme Court nominees who will overturn Roe v. Wade  by Fred Clark

“When I asked her why she became an atheist, she said, “I started reading the Bible.”

We Christians often tell people that if they would only read the Bible, they would come to see that God is real and that He loves them. We hear testimony after testimony about how drug addicts and hookers were considering suicide but somehow got a Bible and started reading it and ended up giving their life to Christ.

I am not in any way denying such accounts or stories.

But I think it is also time to admit that while many people decided to follow Jesus as a result of reading the Bible, there are many others who turned away from God after reading the Bible.

Part of this, I am convinced, is because we Christians have said that the entire Bible is the Word of God, but then we ignore, gloss over, conveniently forget, or are simply dishonest about some of the more troubling portions of Scripture.”

11 Bible Verses That Turn Christians Into Atheists  by Jeremy Myers.

“…We’re obviously still battling against several issues today, but seeing the things my mother and grandmother were forced to endure has really opened my eyes. I mean, I always knew things were different back in the day, but I can’t believe how long it took for a wife to not be legally classified as “subordinate” to her husband — much less, how difficult it was for a single gal to get her own bank account and credit card.”

11 Ordinary Things Women Weren’t Allowed To Do In The ’50s And ’60s by Jess Catcher

“I taught American history for a while and it often felt as if we were looking at a constant flow of outrageous bigotry by the hands of white American Christians. They held themselves as superior in their entitled sense of manifest destiny, the deep belief that white Christians were sent by God to convert and civilize the “savage” world of the “other.” From the mass genocide of Native Americans, to slavery, to constant restrictions of various groups of immigrants, to turning our backs on the Jewish people fleeing genocide, to turning our backs on the Syrian people fleeing genocide – this Christian nation holds the clear belief that race, nationality, religion, and far more determine how people deserve to be treated – their worthiness of our love. It shouldn’t be surprising that our level of empathy and concern tends to decrease drastically as skin tone darkens..”

The Racist God of America by Sheri Faye Rosendahl

“I have never cared for Kathy Griffin’s comedy. I never thought she was funny. I never thought she was a very good actress. And I wasn’t surprised when she posted photos depicting a simulated beheading of the current president. Frankly it seems in line with her brand of humor. I was shocked to hear all the outrage coming from people who have spent the past eight years bemoaning the idea of political correctness. These people have complained about how no one can take a joke anymore. Well Kathy Griffin is a comedian. She made a joke. It wasn’t funny. It was politically incorrect and offensive, but that’s exactly what a lot of people claim to want…

It is particularly ironic that our current president took time to let us know his feelings were hurt and that his youngest child was upset. Does he imagine that his years-long invective against Obama wasn’t harmful to Sasha and Malia? Do only his children matter?

The same people who are condemning Griffin recently cheered on and elected to Congress a Montana man who physically assaulted a reporter at a campaign rally. These are the same people who do not speak up and condemn the actions and speech of the murderer on the train in Portland. They don’t speak up when someone leaves a noose in the African American exhibit at the Smithsonian. They don’t speak up when someone spray paints racist graffiti on LeBron James’s house or vandalizes yet another Jewish cemetery. And they damn sure didn’t speak up when protestors were burning Obama in effigy after the 2008 election.”

You Said This Was What You Wanted By Tiffany Quay Tyson