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A few weeks ago, 100 naked women protested Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC). The protest was also an art project orchestrated by Spencer Tunick, who specializes in shooting mass nudity. When asked why he facilitated the protest-slash-art-display, Tunick replied:

“I have two daughters—9 and 11—and I want them to grow up in a progressive world with equal rights and equal pay and better treatment for women, and I feel like the 100 women lighting up the sky of Cleveland [the women held mirrors] will send this ray of knowledge onto the cityscape…” {Source}

The irony of Tunick’s statement was not lost on me – nor on anyone truly pro-woman. Tunick wants his daughters to be respected, honored, and valued in society; I want the same things for mine.

But this? This is not how you achieve respect.

To conquer misogyny, to be treated with dignity, and to be recognized as valuable assets to society, this has to stop.

If we want to be known for our brains, we have to stop qualifying ourselves with our bodies.

If You’re More Than a Body, Act Like It

The sexual revolution pinpointed some flawed ideologies; ideologies that did demean, belittle, and limit women in many ways. But the wild pendulum swing to the other extreme – misandry and sexual promiscuity – has demeaned, belittled, and limited women all over again, and we’re reaping the sad effects of it today.

The sexual objectification of women is indeed a problem, and more Christians would do well to recognize it. Tunick – and people like him – seek to remove this objectification by “de-sexualizing” human bodies. But to normalize nakedness numbs us to the design of human sexuality. Campaigns like “Free the Nipple” seek to make men and women so “equal” they become biologically and fundamentally the same. This worldview leaves its believers with one of two choices: a body that is nothing more than a body, unable to be desired for its sexual nature because that would be misogyny; or a body that is nothing more than an sex object, cheapened by public display with no regard for intellectual, social, or personal potential.

Women – myself included – can’t have this both ways. Our bodies can’t be sexual and de-sexualized simultaneously. And you can demand respect from a man – who is biologically wired to appreciate female beauty – but when you’re standing naked in front of him, don’t be surprised if the last thing on his brain is what’s going on in yours.

I’m embarrassed for these women. I’m embarrassed for how they’re representing the female gender. If we are more than bodies, more than objects, more than images to be shared around the internet – we need to prove it.

If you’re more than a body, act like you are.

Display Your Value, Not Your Boobs

What about misogyny? After all, that’s what these women were protesting. Donald Trump has said a lot of nasty things about women, and I’m as disconcerted as the hundred standing naked outside the RNC. But I know something they don’t: That misandry and self-objectification don’t make a lasting impact.

Disrespect breeds disrespect. Regardless of society’s expectations, men are commanded by God Himself to honor and value women – with no caveat or excuse for dishonor (Eph. 5:25-28, Prov. 18:22, 19:14, 31). They will answer for how well they obey that command. But women will answer equally for how we behave in society, not only for how we respect others, but for how well we respect ourselves. When women publicly disrespect themselves by failing to recognize their physical and intellectual value, they open themselves up to societal disrespect. This disrespect and devaluing of women is exactly what God sought to prevent when He created the covering at the beginning of time:

“They say women who cover themselves do so because they lack self confidence; that if they were really free, they would shed those standards and their “modest” clothes along with it.

But the dichotomy they propose is a false one.

Our world sees no shame in nakedness, so they seek to glorify it.

Our God sees glory in nakedness, so He shields it from shame.” [Read More]

When a woman recognizes and embraces her intrinsic value, she doesn’t need to strip off clothes to prove a point. Her intellect and confidence speak for themselves, inspiring respect, not short-term shock, in those who observe her.

The covering is our glory.  It is not our shame. It is evidence of confidence: a confidence so strong, so inner, so grounded in something outside itself it transcends anything our culture can offer.

We cover our bodies because in their beauty is a reflection of the face and hand of the Almighty God, which no human eye can bear to see (Isaiah 6). There is power in self-respect. There is dignity in glorified womanhood. If we want to be known as whole persons with a powerful contribution to offer this world, we need to display our value – not our boobs.

How Do We Respond?

We can’t control how men act – especially people like Donald Trump. Nor should we stand silently (naked or otherwise). Women will change society when they set an example of respect for men and women alike. That respect starts with you. It starts with you respecting yourself.

Misandry isn’t the solution to misogyny.

Self-objectification isn’t the solution to sexual objectification.

The only way to begin changing society is to change ourselves, one woman at a time, and begin pouring into the women around us with a message of VALUE. Women who know their value do not cheapen themselves. Women who have inner confidence – not based on fitness or dress size or body shape – don’t need to perform stunts to send a message.

What’s our message? Our message is this:

I have an intrinsic, created value as a woman. I am a spiritual, emotional, sexual being and I embrace every part of who I am. I will not devalue or demean any part of my identity by publicly shaming myself to prove a point. I will call others to a higher level of respect and honor by respecting and honoring myself first, and teaching others to do the same with grace.

We are more than bodies. We are more than brains. We are eternal souls.

Now let’s live like we believe that truth.

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