Social media has been taken by storm in recent weeks with brave women sharing their #metoo stories. Stories about how “they too” have been sexually abused, sexually assaulted, or sexually harassed during their lifetime. This movement of women sharing their stories has shone light on the dark reality of our culture viewing women as objects whose “place” is to gratify men’s sexual desires, and not much more than that. This is oppression and injustice and is a tragedy to the heart of God.
As men, we often describe our sin of lust as a “struggle” or a “battle,” but the #metoo movement reminds us of the truth that in reality, it is the abuse and degregation of women.
Not all men are rapists or have overtly sexually harassed a woman, but whenever we lust, we reinforce the monster of objectification in our world. We are saying we agree with sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. We may not consciously admit to this, but it’s all a part of the same sport. You can’t judge the house on fire across the street while you play with matches and gasoline in your own driveway.
Lust breeds more lust. Lust is a mindset and a lifestyle, not an isolated action. Lust is a professor that teaches men to objectify women; it doesn’t have an on/off switch. Even if a man doesn’t take the advanced course in lust and turn it into the action of rape or harassment, he is still a ticking time bomb, perpetuating the world as a place that dehumanizes women. A place that is unsafe for women and treats them as inferior, without the innate dignity they have as image bearers of God.
The Sad Irony of Our Culture and #MeToo
Swimming schools produce swimmers, music schools produce musicians, and art schools produce artists. The sad irony of our culture is we have not realized the same holds true for lust and its subsequent actions like sexual abuse, rape, and sexual harassment. Our culture is a lust school, and guess what lust schools produce?
Our culture loves to objectify women on the big screen, the small screen, and everywhere in between, but then seems baffled when men start seeing women in real life this way. Game of Thrones has won 38 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series in 2015 and 2016. A Game of Thrones director, Neil Marshall, quoting an unnamed GOT producer on the Empire.com Podcast said:
This particular exec, like, took me to one side and said, “Look, I represent the pervert side of the audience. Ok? Everybody else is the serious drama side. I represent the perv side of the audience, and I want full frontal nudity in this scene. So you go ahead and do it.”
This is not art, friends. It is the school of sexual abuse and objectification that educated 30 million U.S. viewers in its Season 7 premiere alone, not including the 185 other countries and territories it was broadcast in.
Related: If you’re watching Game of Thrones, you’re watching porn.
Or the Fifty Shades of Grey movie franchise, which has been nominated for an Oscar and brought in $950 million dollars between the first two movies. The books had sold over 125 million copies by 2015. Every Valentine’s Day, my local library decks itself out with Fifty Shades books and décor, because what says love and Valentine’s Day better than rape?
Related: 4 Lies About Sexuality in Fifty Shades of Grey
I’m not just referring to rape scenes as the problem here. Anytime a man sees a naked woman’s body on a screen, it is one more lesson that this is the place for a woman’s body: naked and sexual. So why are we so surprised when he applies this lesson to the women he sees in real life?
Our culture romanticizes the objectification of woman time and time and time again, then is aghast (rightfully so) when men act out what they see on the screen. Whenever an act of sexual abuse, harassment, or assault happens, it is never the victim’s fault, ever. That’s not my point at all here. My point is to show how Satan is the great deceiver and he has our culture so blind it can’t tell its up from its down. Sexual assault, abuse, harassment, and the objectification of women are awful, awful, things. Yet, somehow Satan has gotten our culture, men and women alike, to be absolutely ecstatic over them, as long as they are larger than life, with pulsing music behind them, on HD big screen TV’s.
Every time we watch, purchase, or click on a TV show, movie, or book that displays this objectification, we are voting for more objectification in our world and in our own lives. We are voting for more #metoo stories to have to be written.
Waking Up from the Lie
We are all fools for believing Satan’s lie and it’s time to wake up. You can’t play with the fire and not get burned. Or as Proverbs 6:27 puts it, “Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?”
The answer to that question is a resounding NO. Some men will take the Oscar-winning porn they watch and will assault, abuse, and harass women because of it. Others will watch it and will continue a lifetime habit (not “struggle” or “battle”) of assaulting, abusing, and harassing women in their minds. Maybe it will manifest itself into action and maybe it won’t, but both of these men’s clothes are on fire. And as we’ve seen from the #metoo movement, way too many women have been burned by these flames.
Our world is a scary place for women, a scary place I’ve brought three daughters into. What breaks my heart is that as long as Game of Thrones, Fifty Shades of Grey, and their many beloved, award-winning counterparts put gas on the fire of lust and objectification, it’s only going to get worse. The fire is already an inferno that the porn industry as well our culture’s obsession with sex outside of marriage are pouring an infinite supply of fuel onto.
It can feel downright hopeless.
Related: 5 Things to Do About #MeToo
What we each have to remember, men and women both, is that we can turn the tide in our own lives by refusing to attend Satan’s many schools. We can stop believing the deception that our little bit of pleasure isn’t harming anyone, because it’s harming everyone, including ourselves and those we love the most. God didn’t create us to be degraded as objects or to be people-consuming monsters. He created us in His image, full of love, dignity, and respect. Anything outside of this needs to be seen for what it is, repented of, and spoken out against.
Great article! I really love that you pointed out the fact that abuse and degradation are at the core of the “struggle and battle” men talk about. I think this is one of those ugly truths that men need to come to terms with if they truly want to claim freedom. It doesn’t seem so innocent when you realize you are using another person in the same way a rapist does even if it is only in your mind. It makes you realize just how serious the issue is.
And just to be clear, I don’t believe temptation falls into the category of the “struggle and battle” that you are talking about. I know you didn’t say that it was, I’m just pointing out the difference between the two. Temptation is coming face to face with sin but it is the point at which you make a decision. It may not be easy to do the right thing sometimes, but as long as you do what is right you haven’t sinned. I think it is important for men and women to draw a distinct line between what temptation is and what giving in (and calling it “struggling”) is.
I also really appreciate the fact that, while you did place more emphasis on men’s role in objectify women, you put the responsibility for it on the shoulders of both men AND women. I think the world needs to be more aware of just how much women are contributing to the objectification of themselves and other women. And just as a quick example, I was on a news site the other day and one of the advertised news story was about a group of women who were posing in bikinis made of meat in order to protest the harassment of women. Seriously… I can’t even express how stupid and ridiculous this is! You cannot fight objectification while simultaneously objectifying yourself. These women are aware of the attention they will get from men for doing this and that is their real goal. Not helping women.
Thank you Samantha!
That is very sad (and strange!) about the women posing in meat bikinis. Our culture is so lost! I’m sad how many people it drags down with it and I pray for a revival in the Church where we stop encouraging and supporting these sinful parts of our culture. We “feed the beast” and it just keeps getting worse and worse, for individuals and for society as a whole.
I recently downloaded THE PORN CIRCUIT. I am 63, happily married but have a porn addiction. My wife loves me and knows my battle of shame. She wants victory for me too. I want you to know that I will strongly attempt 90 days of no porn. Please pray for me in this endeavor. I know I am not alone. I am so glad I found your website. Thanks Sincerely,
How is your recovery going? How is your wife?