I rarely get on the wrong side of social justice movements since I am a black woman –probably one of the least statistically privileged group of people on the planet. I am covered by both the #BlackLives matter movement and the #MeToo movement. I really should know better too.
I have felt that twinge of frustration when people come with this #AllLivesMatter propaganda when it seems pretty obvious that many black communities live in oppression and no one is advocating for them. Yes, all lives matter, but let’s be careful not to drown out a distinct, important conversation.
I disagree with the concept that the #MeToo movement is unhealthy because it encourages women to live in their past when they should have forgiven and healed from the experience. While I do want to push women towards healing and forgiveness. It’s important to recognize that silence doesn’t equal those things. Sometimes, we need to step out into community and share our stories so that healing process can begin. I may even need to share my story of pain and healing, so another woman can find a safe place to heal.
Then, I wrote a post for The Haystack
. It wasn’t supposed to be controversial, but it was. Apparently, I added a layer to the conversation that some people didn’t think should have been there. Sometimes, you have to see things through other eyes. There was a lot of context behind it. Here are five of things that were going through my mind.
The first was healing from an encounter with a guy that made me feel like I was a demented little temptress. While I can’t say I was a model child in handling my sexuality, he wasn’t helping. I had never met a guy who could resist my attempts to avoid him and succeed in touching and looking at me in such a way that made me go so absolutely crazy. It was confusing when he would slip his hand sensually down my spine to the small of my back then get upset when I responded in kind. I probably participated in some behaviors that would be considered assault. Having this experience makes me better able how to handle such provocations in the future. It opened my eyes to what it might be like for a guy in that situation.
I was able to see how misappropriated a woman’s sexuality can get in the movie Lolita
. It painful to watch an underage girl seduce an older man as she explores her sexuality. The man is clearly the one in the wrong. Yet, it is easy to see why his struggle to resist her was so real. You hate yourself for wondering if the girl was somehow responsible. Then, you wonder if technically legal young women may find themselves being “sexually problematic” while they are still trying to figure out their sexuality. Yet, the deeper question remains can we better empower girls?
In my article, I stated that we live in a world that thinks that all men are monsters. Many men came forward stating that they weren’t bothered by the allegations because they weren’t involved in that behavior. Obviously, this conversation wasn’t about them.
I felt that way when #Metoo surfaced. It wasn’t about anyone I knew. No one I knew could possibly be that kind of a monster. I was wrong. I soon found out that a close family friend allegedly violated a little girl I cared about deeply at a moment when she was most vulnerable. He suffers no consequences. In fact, he probably doesn’t think that #MeToo is about him either. Honestly, it’s hard for me not to be suspicious of the entire male species.
It doesn’t make any sense that a movement about ensuring that women aren’t violated should be a political issue, but it is. People from the “right” are convince that feminism is a political agenda from the “left.” I was ambushed by this concept by a conservative friend. Shocked, I put myself into his shoes and went to the rabbit hole of anti-feminist propaganda. I even watched The Red Pill.
It was easy to see why both the liberals and conservatives are hanging tightly to this issue. Americans dearly love their women. Most people are incensed to see the weak being taken advantage of. Instead of feminism being about women’s rights and alleviating oppression, it has become about serving political agendas. As I emerged from the rabbit hole, I didn’t come to the same conclusion as Cassie Jaye. I decided that both sides have made it about their own political agendas and they both need to repent. I don’t think it would be wise for a Christian to handle women’s rights in the way the world is choosing to deal with it.
Sometimes, I think we lose sight of the fact that women are humans. There are days where we are not as empowered as others. There are days where we are going to be “sexually problematic.” And perhaps, that’s not okay. However, there is still no excuse for Christian men to take advantage. Yes, men are human too, but be a man and take responsibility. As a Christian it shouldn’t be an option to start pointing fingers at women with the “but the woman made me do it” attitude. Christian principle isn’t a prize we give to good people. “Those women” ought to be treat with respect too.
It’s going to take super-human strength to treat others right. We can’t be empowered on our own. It’s dangerous to take off our armor at any time. I have heard men say that they would rather do their battles in the world
, but until you get to heaven you’ll be doing your battles everywhere. Women should be equally vigilant about being pure in word and action. Both sides need Jesus.
I remember reading a quote in Phillip Yancy’s The Jesus I Never Knew that talked about how Jesus was in the middle of the road in his dealings with women. He didn’t glorify them, nor did he demonize them. He rebuked them when it was warranted; yet, intentionally sought them out and care for them. I think we ought to have the same attitude of balance. I don’t think if women ruled the world it would be a better place. Women are sinful humans too. Despite that we can fight for them when they are oppressed.
I learned a lot about “like Jesus” from the men who engaged me in civil conversation after the article was published. They didn’t all agree with me. They certainly didn’t agree with the audience I was targeting. However, that didn’t stop them from have informative, compassionate conversations.