How Strong Are You?
Until it comes at the expense of women. Which it frequently seems to do, unnoticed. It flies under the radar so much that women often cheer for the things that degrade them.
The other day, my husband and I were playing in a sand volleyball tournament. As I sat on the sidelines waiting to be subbed, I looked at the team on the next court. The women were dancing, laughing, and singing to the music. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the tunes, so I started listening. The beats were heavy and rhythmic, and a synthesizer added a catchy tune. But the words were about using women for sex. That’s what women had become: Something the musician used for his own pleasure. In fact, women were so objectified, the singer refused to recognize them as or even call them ‘women’.
But there they were – real women – celebrating a message that defamed and belittled them. A message that told them they were worth absolutely nothing. How and when did the female body become nothing more than a chew toy for any salivating man? How and when did that become acceptable?
Yet, those messages abound all around us in movies, books, TV shows. Heck, even in real life relationships. It is so engrained in our society, that the message has been fully accepted as the truth:
Ladies, you are incredibly strong. But you’re also worthless.
It’s a dichotomy that needs attention. What IS a strong woman, after all? And what does it mean to be strong? Is our power measured by how much money we make? Or how many sexual conquests we’ve had? It’s been made clear that we can use our female anatomy as leverage – is that what makes us ‘powerful’?
Right now, it seems that being a strong woman means becoming equal with men and enjoying the same luxuries they have. Yet, it’s a bit ironic that in our age of feminism, we are outraged over the masculine connotation in the word ‘strong’, all the while trying to become stronger by becoming more like men.
After all, the women on the volleyball courts weren’t the only ones buying into the cultural message. In fact, unsuspecting, greatly popular, and award-winning shows and movies are riddled with these messages. And we as consumers eat them up.
Take, for instance, The Big Bang Theory. It’s about nerdy guys, right? Well, I’m pretty nerdy myself, so that synopsis seems cool. I haven’t found one person (nerdy or not) who does not like that show. Because of that (and all the women’s jaws that have hit the ground when I admit I haven’t watched a full episode), I have tried – really tried – to like it. I sampled it a few times before, trying to whet my appetite. Each time, it left a bitter taste that I couldn’t remove. But just a few days ago, I switched it on to check it out one more time. The opening five minutes detailed the guys’ plans to find ‘potential sex partners’. One guy even outlined his formula for finding such suitable ladies: Neediness x Dress Size. Squared. According to his numbers, there were more than 5,000 ladies within a walking distance who fit the bill.
The last guy, finally full of excitement, yelled, “Lock up your daughters! We’re about to hit it and quit it!”
Canned laughter roared after each line of dialogue. I cocked a brow. Was this really supposed to be funny? Women actually enjoyed this?
Here’s the truth, ladies:
There are a lot of men who are looking for girls. But there is one man out there who is looking specifically for YOU.
The first type of man will replace you with any other warm-blooded female body. The second will find you irreplaceable.
So, why be just 1 of the 5,000 potential sex partners on the street? Why settle for being expendable when you can be – and ARE – invaluable?
Probably because it’s easy to do. Through messages like the ones above, we’re being taught that our growing strength includes opportunities to become intimate with whomever we like. It’s our choice, and there is a freedom in that. But there’s no real strength in it. Another choice we have is prudence, and that does take strength. And self-discipline. And self-respect.
What’s difficult is saying, “No.” And what is really, REALLY difficult is waiting. Especially when the enticing temptation is constantly staring you in the face. (If you don’t believe me, ask these kids.)
Ladies, you are so much more than your body, but your body is still a piece of who are you. Why give any part of yourself to someone who won’t cherish and respect it?
And gentlemen, you know what takes a lot of strength? Respecting and encouraging prudence.
Any of those kids could have scarfed the marshmallow down. In fact, some of them popped it in their mouth before the woman even left the room. Some of them planned to wait, but ended up eating it anyway. The kids who waited, however, had a sense of strength that the others didn’t employ. They said “No thanks” until the time was right. And just like it was for them, it’ll be worth it for you in the end. It just comes down to one, simple question: How strong are you?