Stop watching porn, treat women right

*Opinion pieces represent the views of their contributors, not necessarily U-News*

In the 80s, the wise philosopher Mr. T, accompanied by a chorus of middle-aged moms, uttered the words, “Mother. There is no other, like mother, so treat her right. Treat her right.”

That has been the guiding principle in my life—not just about mothers, but women in general.

However, a brief look at recent headlines makes something painfully clear: we do not live in a society that protects or prioritizes women.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 1 in 6 women are victims of attempted or completed rape.

How can men, who are creating these problems, instead be part of the solution? What societal role can they play to ensure women are not simply the object of men’s affection? These recent events have led me to seriously reevaluate the responsibility I have as a male to thoughtfully engage with such questions.

My Christian upbringing greatly influenced my perspective of women. I realize that when it comes to gender discussions the perspective of a male, especially a Christian male, is often seen as sexist.

I won’t deny that there are difficult passages in the Bible that sound limiting to women—there are individuals more skilled than myself who unpack those statements and you can look them up if you wish; my goal here is not to sell you on Christianity. For now, I’ll focus on the broad application of Christianity’s central message: self-sacrifice.

The Bible describes the greatest show of compassion as laying down one’s life for another person, at times related specifically to women. This isn’t to say I’m faced on a daily basis with giving up my life for a woman, as I much as I wish I was James Bond, my existence isn’t nearly that exciting.

Unfortunately, society presents a far cry from even circling this notion as most men don’t prioritize women but rather objectify them.

Research in 2016 found 40 million adults in the U.S. regularly view pornography and 64 percent of men admit to viewing it monthly.

I’ll make a broad sweeping statement for every man in the country: stop watching pornography. Growing up in a Christian household I was taught the systemic evil of pornography, but even from a non-Christian perspective the problem with porn is impossible to deny.

Though on the surface many see it as a victim-less crime, pornography presents perhaps the greatest example of dehumanizing women in the modern world. Studies, such as those conducted by the Journal of Sex Research, have shown a direct correlation between sex related crimes and the use of pornography.

With so many engaging in a practice that is proven to psychologically distort the idea of consent, it should come as no surprise that sexual assault presents such a problem.

But can you go too far and view women too highly? I recently encountered the term benevolent sexism. Huffington Post and other news outlets have written how the practices of holding doors open for women or pulling a chair out for them is antiquated and offensive.

Perhaps this is the way that many women actually feel. Personally, when I do these things for women it’s not because they can’t do it for themselves.

I don’t think women are weak, my mother is the strongest woman I know, and there’s plenty of females at the gym who put me to shame. But, when I think about my nieces growing up in a society that gives such negative attention to women, do I hope at least some men give them special consideration? Absolutely. I wouldn’t call these men chauvinists but rather decent human beings.

I like to say that chivalry isn’t dead; it’s only sleeping. The current shape of society is one that primarily objectifies women, seen through the shocking amount of abuse and sex related crimes.

My faith has taught me that this shouldn’t be the case. A man’s perspective needs to represent one of self-sacrifice, not a self-centered outlook. Women should not have to advocate solely for themselves; men should be a vital component of doing their part to help.

Now, I’m not naïve enough to think you can only arrive at these conclusions if you’re a Christian. But I have heard men wonder how they can address the problems facing women today.

To that I quote Viktor Frankl: “Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.”

Perhaps it makes me a chauvinist pig, but with those words in mind I plan to continue doing what my mom, the Bible and Mr. T taught me: treat women right.

And as the old saying goes, “If that’s wrong then I don’t wanna to be right.”

 

jlfpw4@mail.umkc.edu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *