BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS
I'm a writer, so words are very important to me. I believe that every word has meaning and when someone chooses to use a particular word, consciously or unconsciously, it's meaning is crucial. Which is why I was so frustrated, and probably only one of a few who noticed, when I watched an interview on the evening news yesterday.
It was a story on the opening of the Davinci Code in all it's "controversial" glory. So they're doing interviews outside the movie theatre regarding whether or not people intend to see the movie. They stop one woman who says she won't be attending the movie because it is offensive to her as a Catholic. The following is not a direct quote about why she is offended, but it's pretty close:
"Because in Christianity we're taught that Jesus was pure. So he couldn't have had a relationship with a woman."
This frustrates me on so many levels.
First of all, what caught me right away was the connection she made between "pure" and "relationship with a woman." As a woman I'm offended. As if having a relationship with a woman makes a man impure? Are you kidding me? I mean, is it obvious to anyone but me that women are still paying for their supposed role in the seduction of Adam into sin back in the Garden of Eden? And who came up with that story anyway? Oh wait, I know ... a man. Christianity is one of the most oppressive institutions in existence, but for women it's practically unbearable. According to the church, women should be seen, but not heard. Stand by your man, but shut up while you do it. How many women preachers do you know? I know you don't know any woman priests ... although women can be nuns - a role in which it is their responsibility to support the church, in particular assist the work of the priests. So even though Christianity allows for women to have very little influence within the church, and forget about attaining leadership positions - a woman was influential enough back in the day to be responsible for the most catastrophic event in religious history. That must be why we have no power now. We can't be trusted. Oh right, now we're back to the purity issue. I get it.
But putting the whole purity thing aside, seeing as how the woman on TV was a Christian, I will take a step back and assume that what she was referring to as a "relationship" was really meant to mean a sexual relationship. Problem number two I have with this statement. Can we all just grow up please? Isn't it about time that we take the stigma away from having sex? What is the big deal anyway? I'm not saying that children should be having sex. I'm not saying that some sexual relationships aren't inappropriate. But last time I checked, Jesus was an adult and what's the big deal if he chose to have some sex? I mean, he wasn't just the son of God, right? He was human. He was a man. But our society is so hung up on sex and for what? Why does having a sexual relationship make someone impure? What's so dirty about it? As long as it's between two consenting adults, who are willing to face the possible consequences of pregnancy or disease - why can't we just stay out of people's bedrooms? It's no one's business what adult people do behind closed doors. (That includes homosexuals, by the way. But that's a whole other topic.)
When I said something to my husband about all this, he remarked to me that it was just Jane Doe from Nowheresville - what was I getting so upset about? Who cares what she says? Well, I do. Because to me Jane Doe represents the majority of us. And I think it illustrates that the majority of women don't value themselves as much as they should. That most women have been brought up to believe that they are somehow inferior and are often responsible for bringing men down. I mean does it get any worse than being forced to bear the responsibility of causing original sin? How can we possible recover? And although Jane Doe may not have intentionally meant to put down women, she did. And in so doing not only was I offended personally, I was angry that Jane Doe thought so little of herself and others of her gender. Sadly, she probably doesn't even realize what she said said so much.
But I heard it. It was most definitely there. It's insidious. And I think we as women would be foolish to underestimate the role that our subconscious minds play in our everyday lives. It's hard enough for women out there trying to convince the world at large that we deserve equal, human rights. But if we don't believe it ourselves, why should they?