I suppose I’m a bit behind to be jumping in on this discussion, but I take a few days to process my thoughts. And what I’ve been mulling over, unfortunately, is how we got here. You can’t turn on the television or open the interwebs without headlines about Matt Lauer, Weinstein, Franken and more blaring in your face. Suddenly there’s an explosion of men being taken down because of sexual harassment and improper advances on women. While it’s about time that these men are being held accountable for their actions, it’s also overwhelming and depressing to see how often this is happening. And for the few that are being called out, I’ve no doubt there’s an iceberg under the surface of those who have gotten away with the same.
It makes a person wonder—are there any good guys left who can keep their hands to themselves? And also, how in the world did we get here?
The answer to that first question is yes. Of course there are good men left in the world. They are just as appalled by sexual harassment as we are. Somewhere along the way, another male role model taught them to respect women. How to protect and not be a predator. I am thankful for these men.
Of course this issue of sexual harassment isn’t new. I’ve witnessed it in my own life, and I’m sure you’ve seen it too. So then I move on to my second question, which morphs into a few queries for me—how did we get here? Why does this happen? What in the world is wrong with our world?
As my husband and I were talking about these current events, he brought up an excellent point. We live in a world where someone like Hugh Hefner is idolized. When he passed away, the entertainment industry celebrated his life and mourned him. This was a man whose whole existence objectified women. So if that’s the world’s (or at least Hollywood’s) attitude about this man, why would any other male think they should behave any differently?
When we decide the world should operate without a moral code–to each his own, everything goes and it’s all about what’s best for me, myself and I–then we’re in a heap of trouble. Because that attitude translates into how women are treated. Suddenly there’s no reason for a man not to touch and take what he wants. He’s been told it’s all about him, and he believes it.
I was in my teen years when I first witnessed a man who thought he had the right to say and do what he wanted. That the rules didn’t apply to him. Or more so that there were no rules. I look back at him and I see a weasel. He was sneaky. He continuously tested the boundaries, and when a girl pushed back, he turned his sights elsewhere. His concerns weren’t focused outside of himself—they were about his needs and wants. He was selfish.
All men who take advantage of women are selfish. And often, they are in a position of power. Somewhere along the line they begin to think that they are above others and can therefore do what pleases them. There is a headiness to power. When a man finds himself in a position of authority, he can use it for good or evil. And far too many choose the latter.
Teaching a man to respect women starts at home. Because we already know the message the world will be teaching them: Do whatever makes you feel good.
But at home we can change the story. We can teach our children to put others first. That life is, indeed, not all about them or their desires. Here is where it starts so that they can stand up in that big bad world out there that will continually promote selfishness.
It’s crazy to believe we can have it both ways—that the world can continue to do what they please and operate without any moral compass or rules—and that in the midst of that, something will change. Nothing will change unless we alter our attitude at the root. Until we teach a new story. Until we stop putting selfish desires first and begin to honor one another.
And…here’s where I’ll lose most of the population—until we let Jesus back in.
Our culture definitely hates Jesus.
He taught all of these horrible lessons about putting others first and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. How could he do such a thing??
If the world hates Jesus, then they must also hate his message of love and selflessness. Why? I’m not sure, exactly. Except that maybe the concern is that if we jump on a Jesus, others-first bandwagon, who will take care of number one?
Because, as we’ve been taught, it’s all about us. And while I don’t do math, I can’t help but think that brings us right back to the square root of the problem.