Sadly, my male friends on Facebook began to share memes back and forth about a recent movie, a movie with a good story line and actually relatively clean. However, the main character, an attractive female actress, was scantily clad in much of the movie and in most of the movie promos. Even sadder, many of my dad friends on social media shared memes of this attractive, barely dressed female with many a joke about how they looked forward to taking their daughters and sons to see the movie. Many tagged their own sons or fellow dad friends in pictures of this woman, perpetuating the jokes about her sexual appeal.
Now, you may be wondering, “What movie is she talking about? Do I know any of these men? Have I seen any of these online comments from the men in my circle?” Well, this is where I pull the bait and switch. None of these posts were written by men, but rather - women. I guarantee most of you saw the memes and the jokes passed around by women in your circle this past week or two. While we vehemently condemn men if they overtly sexualize women, we turn right around and publicly tell all our friends online that we are delighted to take our children to see Aquaman because Jason Momoa is a “fine piece of man flesh.” We women are such hypocritical creatures.
The commentary from Christian women has especially troubled me. I’ve asked myself, “What kind of example are they setting for their children as well as lost people, and how do their husbands feel about their ribald remarks?” Our children do pay attention, and our husbands pick up on responses. Plus, our children also see the hypocrisy, driving them evermore toward the exact behavior that we as Christian women verbally dissuade them from, yet overtly promote. Following Hollywood’s lead, women are blatantly degrading a man right in front of their children (and believe me, not only are your children watching your conduct online - so are all their friends!), teaching them by example that a man’s body is something to be lusted over and joked about. Is this truly how we want our children to view one another? Do we want our sons and daughters to constantly see one another as sex objects? Do we want our children to strive to be sex objects in order to garner attention? Of course not! Yet why do we expect our children to behave better than we do? If this is how the gatekeepers of the home treat the opposite gender, will not those under our care emulate our behavior?
So what about our husbands? How do they really feel about their wives publicly, in front of all of their friends and children, desiring another man? Don’t they feel demoralized, devalued, and disrespected just as we women do when men talk about women similarly? I’m not trying to deny the men of our culture also have a problem, but that’s a topic for another day.
It doesn’t matter whether we are married or not, brothers and sisters, men and women, we are admonished in Philippians 4:8 to think on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is of good repute.” We cannot teach our children on Sunday to “take every thought to make it obedient to Christ” and to “love and respect” one another and a future spouse, then on Monday brazenly violate the sacred covenant we made on our wedding day by lewdly, or even lightly, lusting for a man’s body who is not our husband.
Are these comments about another man on social media a reflection of the instructions found in Ephesians? No! If a man made these comments, even the secular culture would cry “foul.” The average Christian man in our community would not openly conduct himself in such a manner; especially in our “Me Too” culture. The average Christian man knows better than to speak this way publicly about women. He knows his coarse talk online would not be tolerated by his wife, would be challenged by most of his friends, and would embarrass his children. Yet, some women do it every single day and somehow give themselves an exemption. Whether lusting over Jason Momoa, titillating online over the latest Magic Mike movie, or pouring over a copy of 50 Shades of Gray, twenty-first century women have a lust problem, and it is time we stop pretending we don’t. If a group of men from a church went out together to watch a movie about strippers, the church leadership would be knocking on their doors, but a group of women from said church can post a picture on Instagram while watching Magic Mike XXL and no one blinks an eye.
You cannot tell me it is all in good fun either. If we will castigate a man over the same behavior (as I’m sure you were in full agreement with me while reading the first paragraph when you thought this was about men), how is it any different for us women?
It’s not. We are standard bearers of the cross, ladies. We are the gatekeepers of our homes. We also set an example for the young men and women around us in how to treat one another. It’s time we stop pretending. It’s time we hold ourselves to a higher standard. It’s time we stop pointing at the men in our lives and examine our own lives in light of scripture to get the “log out of our own eyes.” Let’s inspect our own online conduct, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the magazines we look at, and the books we read.
Ladies, let us throw ourselves on the mercy of a good and mighty God in confession and implore the Holy Spirit to unleash His power in our lives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can become the righteous and pure overcomers God calls us to be. Lord, help us to “prove [ourselves] to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” Help us guard our homes and the hearts of our children by setting a holy precedence. Help us love and respect our husbands by faithfully keeping our marriage covenant in every way. We ALL must do our part in desexualizing our culture and maintaining sexual purity in our churches, communities, and homes. This is a two-way street, and it’s about time we recognize it.