A message to all women.
The depressing misogyny train keeps on rolling through the newsrooms of the world. NBC news has been forced to remove a “soft porn” video of women athletes from its website because of public outrage.
These perverse attacks on the dignity and value of female athletes are garnering far more public outrage than ratings for the news outlets who keep committing them. NBC had to remove their trashy video. Melbourne’s Herald Sun took down their poll on the woman swimmer’s body. Meanwhile, the ever-proud New York Times is hanging tough with its attack on female athletes who are “too pretty” and its story about women athletes’ breasts.
Why would self-proclaimed “legitimate” journalists go to such lengths to cheapen themselves in this way? My guess is that they do it because they are so caught up in their misogynistic fervor that they can’t not. In much the same way that all compulsive people-haters behave, they are addicted to hurting women. They do it because they like doing it. It makes them feel powerful, or at least more powerful than the young women they evidently want so much to cheapen.
The point here isn’t that the folks in the news rooms use their power to degrade women by reducing everything they do to the level of porn. I think that’s a little bit like proclaiming that gravity sucks. It’s too obvious.
The point is that Christians have no business supporting or participating in it with them. I am proud of the public for the outrage they have displayed about this mistreatment of young women.
There was a time when leaders in our institutions led us higher. Now, it takes public outrage to keep them from devaluing us to the level of the gutter. Fortunately, there are still enough good people in this world that there is public outrage over this kind of behavior.
It seems we have to constantly fight against all of our once-venerable institutions, from the “legitimate” press to our government, to keep them from taking away our freedoms and violating our sense of fair play and decency toward other people. I don’t think I need to say this, but just to be sure we’re all on the same page, let me make the point that women are human beings. We are made in the image and likeness of God.
The people who run these news outlets appear to have a tremendous commitment to using their power to dehumanize and pornify young women. What they seem oblivious to is that their obsessively destructive behavior smears them, their organizations and their whole profession. You become what you do. If you use your position to abuse women, well, then, you become an abuser of women. It’s that simple.
There is no seat for any follower of Christ on board the misogyny train. We do not have the privilege of hating or abusing any of the people that God has made. Our call is to elevate human dignity, not participate in its destruction.
As I said a moment ago, women are human beings made in the image and likeness of God. We are also the life-bearers, the mothers, of the human race. When God became human, He did so by way of a mother. To put it another way, Our Lady, the Mother of God was and is a woman. These crimes against the dignity of women are in a very real way also crimes against her.
Human sexuality, this powerful attraction we all feel to one another, is a blessing and a delight. It brings us together and creates the wonderful, civilization-building bond that is man and woman, together. It was not given to us by our Creator to be used as a weapon by half the people He made to batter the other half of the people He made into diminished one-dimensional part-humans whose feelings and abilities no longer matter.
That is what these news outlets are trying with all their might to do. They are sending a message that is as clear as the focus on their expensive cameras that no matter what women accomplish they are still just sexual things and not full people.
Our job as Christians is to stand against this. We can write letters. Send emails. Stop buying the products of their advertisers. But before we do that, we need to get our minds right. We are the light of the world. That means we can not be part of this. Men and women are programmed to take genuine pleasure in the sight of one another. No one who is human can look at a beautiful member of the opposite sex without appreciating that beauty.
Appreciation is something almost everyone enjoys when it’s directed at them. It’s healthy. It’s flattering. And it’s kind. But this thing the news outlets are doing to the women Olympians is not appreciation. It’s degradation. It is the deliberate use of their talent and technology to send the message that female athletes are just body parts and that no matter what they achieve, their only value is for sex.
We were created by God to appreciate and be attracted to one another. That gift, if it’s used properly, will lead us to love, bond with and care for one another. The way these media outlets are abusing this gift leads us to despise, abuse and use one another. It gives half the people the idea that the other half of the people are only partial people without the full hearts, hopes and feelings of all human beings.
That’s why it’s wrong. It’s also why Christians may not participate in it. We can not be part of anything that diminishes whole classes of people to less than fully human.
As for the news people who are so firmly ensconced on the misogyny train, I think we should pray for them. They are on a train headed to nowhere and they seem determined to ride it to the end of road.