Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#metoo and Eating Out of the Trash Can

Honesty alert here. Maybe even more honest than usual. Frequently I have other women thank me for saying what they don't have the words, or the courage, to say. I don't know if that is the case this time. I don't know if any other female shares what I am about to share. I guess we'll see.

A few months ago I was walking the dog and a pickup blew past and whistled at me. And I smiled. I actually smiled. I have no idea who was in the truck and why he (I assume a he) whistled. I realized that I like it....I actually like it....if a man whistles at me. And that bothered me.

A few days later the #metoo movement broke wide open. At first I wasn't even sure exactly what women were saying #metoo to. Sexual assault, certainly. But what else? What qualified for a #metoo? I asked around and found out that sure, I could say #metoo. What women were describing was what I assumed was part and parcel of being female. Lewd and crude comments. Propositions. Getting looked up and down. Hasn't every female had that? But it bothered me that it didn't bother me.

The vast majority significant interactions I have had with males I have ended up ignored, shut down, or  corrected. So of course when a guy makes some comment or whistles at me, I eat it up. It is about the closest to being valued I am going to get. My thoughts, my feelings, my experiences don't seem to matter but hell my body does. Apparently it still does. Yes, total honesty. And no, I am not running off with the the next guy that whistles at me. I love my husband dearly. But I also see that in many ways I am starving for interaction with people of the opposite sex and it seems like the only time I am seen of value is if I look attractive (even at 54). And they whistle.

I am eating out of the garbage can. I am ashamed of it. I am ashamed that I care.

I don't know what it is inside of me that so desperately wants to be seen as a person of value by men. I don't know what makes me want my ideas to matter. I mean they do matter to my husband. I wish that were enough.

Do other women feel this way? Do they wish their ideas, their views, their feelings (gasp!), their experiences mattered to all of humanity? Do they want to engage in conversation and interaction that has no sexual expectations whatsoever? Am I the only one?

I read this a couple years ago in an article by Jacob Phillips: "The vast majority of pornography objectifies women; their bodies are important, as is their function as an element of sexual gratification. But their hearts, minds, opinions, experiences, feelings, and everything else that makes them self-consciously who they are is completely irrelevant."

I don't think it is just pornography that objectifies women's bodies and ignores their value. This seems rampant everywhere. At least in my experience.

I don't want to care. I don't want to eat out of the trash can. I read the gospels and I see Jesus and the way he treats women is food for my soul. I want that to be enough.

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