Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Men, women, and locker rooms

As I remember it, it was one of those nights when long talks somehow emerge from the miasma, not for any particular reason, at least none that I can recall. We were lying in bed and just started talking. I don't remember any rumpus or argument. It was, years ago, one of those married-people talks that couldn't find the on/off switch.

I'm guessing the subject came up because I'd been thinking about a female colleague who'd told me once upon a time, mid-80s, that the only difference between men and women was hardware. I liked her, but I couldn't buy the argument. She was an early feminist for our tribe of conservative Christians, but her characterization seemed to me to be on the other side of unreasonable--and just plain hard to believe.

So the two of  us, my wife and I were talking that night, and it was late, and, as I said, there really wasn't any provocation. It was all about gender and what a puzzle that really is. Sometimes. No, often. 

That night she told me something I'd never considered and therefore never forgot. I'll put it in quotes, but exactly how it went is long gone: "Here I am, in bed, with someone twice my size," she said. "Men don't understand that a woman has to live with the fact that she's always smaller, always at risk." 

Let's be clear. I'd never abused her. She was simply telling me that physical size played a significant role in human perception. "Think of it this way," she said in the darkness, "--I know very well that any time you wanted to beat on me, there's not much I could do." Something like that. "Men never think that way. Women always do."

She was explaining a radical difference in perception I'd never thought about, that women perceive physicality via givens men don't begin to know or therefore can even imagine. That's what the woman I married taught me years ago, in bed, in the wee hours of the night. Even now, decades later, I can tell you I know what she meant, but I can't--nor will I ever--know exactly what she feels.

I'm not interested in laying more curses on Donald Trump. He has sufficient burdens to carry with probably more to come. 

But I couldn't help but remember that late night discussion when Beth Moore, for the first time in her immense bible-study ministry, started talking politics this week, something she'd never done before.

"I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it,” Moore said when she determined she could no longer be silent. Then she turned her attention to evangelical men: “Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

Moore speaks from experience, uniquely female experience.

I've heard some of Donald's female supporters claim, as does he, that his cock-and-bull with Billy Bush was basically "locker room talk," something--chortle, chortle--every man does when he's with the boys. Really? Maybe the good Dr. Ben Carson is right when he told some female journalist it was her problem she hadn't heard men talk about grabbing women's privates. 

But I can't help but wonder whether men who don't see what Trump said as anything more than regrettable locker room banter don't hear--and feel--what Donald Trump said in a wholly different way than most women do. 

Beth Moore knows very well that she hears and feels Trump's words with pain far greater than anything felt by Gary Bauer, Dr. James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., or any other male (so-called) evangelical. 

Or me. 


Anonymous said...

Now Beth Moore is a victim. Poor, poor Beth Moore.

You claim to be so "conservative", yet you're taking advice from a woman preacher--OK.

Wanna know the extent of it truly being locker-room talk?---Is it even POSSIBLE to "Grab a woman by the *****" ?!?!?!?!

Doornbos said...

Thoughtful reflection on how we need to understand how our actions and words can cause fear and pain. As men it is our call to reduce fear not to add to it

Anonymous said...

What happen to this? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? That seems to be a forgotten part of Creation Stewardship as it applies to human relationships.

Henry said...

Your wife is absolutely right: women live in a different reality than men do. It's something I've just started to think about during the past few years and, while I can understand it, I can't experience it in the same way my wife or daughters do. It makes me sad, for them and for us. It also fills me with admiration for their bravery. I'm not sure I could do it.
As for so-called "locker-room talk," most of the men I know outgrew that by the time they left high school, or at least university. I'm part of a group of 10 or so guys who ride motorcycles. Twice a year we take off on week-long, men-only camping trips. We have a blast and at night we sit around the campfire and talk about all sorts of things. But not once, in more than 20 years, have I heard anything like the kind of garbage that's being shrugged off as locker-room talk.

Anonymous said...

Brietbart writes: "Moore suggested that Trump’s words from 11 years ago highlight how men are “objectifying” women today, and she made clear that she will not support Trump over it. She issued a number of tweets on the topic, not one of which criticized Hillary Clinton for the way she has treated the women who allege Bill Clinton sexually assaulted them — women like Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick, the latter of whom recently recounted the way Bill Clinton allegedly raped her."

This woman is definately biased and calls herself a Christian and supports a pro-abortion candidate named Hillary who promotes partial birth abortion.This is make-believe moral outrage uncovers a wolf in sheep's clothing. This pseudo evangelist is a hoax!

Anonymous said...

It is written: It is not against flesh and blood - - - Eph. 6:12. Look on the other side of the curtain.

Anonymous said...

Right on, 10:10 Anonymous. This headline today happens to coincide with what you wrote--"Gennifer Flowers: Bill Clinton Paid $200 For Me to Abort His Baby". Bill is denying his children, Donald loves his FIVE! What's more important, Beth Moore? Someone's sleezy comments, or someone's denial of their child along with abortion/s?

Lots of wandering sheep here. I'd be more comfortable standing alone when a foreign army invades.

Henry--I can tell that you are likely a Dutch Canadian. Of course your campfire chats are different than a New York jetsetter's! That said, I couldn't begin to speak of the things I've heard and seen by the righteous--so I congratulate you on your clean thoughts, but know that there are many others (including leadership) who aren't as innocent in that regard!

Henry said...

Not Dutch and only partially Canadian. And I am acquainted with some jetsetters, New York and otherwise. I make no claims to righteousness -- we are just as fallen as anyone else -- so I can't speak for our thoughts; only for what comes out of our mouths.

Anonymous said...

Henry--I didn't mean to imply you were self-righteous, if you took it that way. I really meant you were fortunate not to have the thoughts that many do. I hope you reread my words and see that I didn't include you in that declaration. I specifically try to watch how I word things (ha!).

Jerry27 said...

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Does Beth's father or husband ever get to say anything? Who is pimping all these white girls anyway?


ronvdm said...

Jerry, I have the answer to your question: Bill Cosby.

Henry said...

I didn't take it personally, but I did sense an implication that Dutch Canadians must be more righteous than New York jetsetters. (Is "New York jetsetter" code for Trump?)

Anonymous said...

I didn't imply anyone was more righteous than the other--they simply have different lifestyles. Yes, Trump is the epitome of New York "jetsetter"--definition "often, it is used to describe someone in high society with a glamorous life".