Eliel Cruz, an amazing writer that I follow on Twitter, tweeted from church this morning:
“As soon as he said, ‘Ladies, we have to be careful what messages we send to men with our bodies…'”
Eliel, thank you for calling this out.
Male pastor, and men everywhere, listen, because this is important:
My body is not a message to men. It is not a message any more than your body is a message to women. Our bodies are what we use to move about in the world, to walk and run, to lift and carry, to feed ourselves and others.
Our *words* are what we use to communicate. If you want to communicate with me, use your words, and I will use mine.
When you tell women that they are responsible for the message their bodies are sending to men, you are also telling men that they are not responsible for talking to women, for listening to their words and respecting them. You are placing the responsibility on women to protect themselves from abuse and rape, and letting men off the hook for abusing and raping women, so long as the men perceive that the woman’s body is giving them the message that rape is okay.
And you are perpetuating the message that we women receive from the world that our bodies and our sexuality are the most significant thing about us, that we have to be pretty but not too pretty, sexy but not too sexy, that our hips and breasts and legs are offensive and we should hide them or lose weight to make ourselves smaller and less sexual, less seductive. You are perpetuating the message that, above all, it doesn’t matter how smart or loving or funny or spiritual or creative we are, all that matters is men’s opinion of our appearance.
This is the message that we are already receiving from the world; it should not be the message we hear in church.
Pastor, I am so much more than that, my body is so much more than that, and my sisters’ bodies are so much more than that.
Please consider this post the message I am sending to men, regardless of what they think my body might be saying.
Jessica Kantrowitz, writer and proponent of using her words