Sunday, August 4, 2013

Spirituality and Sexism

This past week I’ve been hot.  Hot not from the August weather, but from what has been happening this summer in my neighborhood.  There are some men in my neighborhood that think it’s appropriate public behavior to grab, jump out of the shrubs and flip skirts while skyclad, and follow behind women while squirting their DNA on the sidewalk.  What pushed me over the edge was the news article about the man “who ambushed women (38 incidents) and took pictures of their shocked reactions to his nudity, is seeking reinstatement of his law license” (Candisky, 2013).  Then there was the front page of the New York Times article on Saturday.  A college professor had to step down from his position because of sexual harassment.  He felt he was trying to teach his 1 year doctoral student about logic and the e-mails with sexual overtones were all about learning logic. 
So what does this have to do with spirituality?

If spirituality is about love and kindness, how can I walk on earth without being suspicious of every man I come in contact with?  Many would feel very sad that they are lumped into the pot with these few.  But, how do I know?  Personally, it makes me sad that 1) I have to be suspicious and 2) that I’m thinking this unkind way.


I’ve just finished reading Tina Fey’s book Bossypants.  She writes about attending workshop about bullying and girls with Rosalind Wiseman.  Wiseman asks the all women audience to reflect back to the first time when they were told they were a woman.  Wiseman asked what was that experience like?  Fey says she found it very sad to hear similar responses from her fellow workshop participants.  The women described the calls from the street and I’m not talking about a “hi how are you” or “good morning” kind of calls.  The calls the women described were the ones that rip into your heart with each utterance.  They are calls that make you feel like you don’t belong and tear you down.  They are the utterances that make you question yourself or question your body part.  We remain silent and not responding to the calls - hoping the person doing this will get tired and go away. 

My first experience?  I was called “dog face” by the guys in my high school.  I’d walk to my locker and they’d come leaning over near enough to whisper it in my ear.  They would then laugh and then saying loud for people to hear.  I kept my face blank and telling my eyes not to tear up.  It was hard to look into the mirror without feeling very unbeautiful.  It was hard facing the school hallways without feeling embarrassed and wanting to melt into the shadows.

Looking back, the whole process of tearing another down a person is anti-spiritual.  It makes you feel like you don’t belong.  Makes you feel like don’t belong in your physical body by wanting some other type of “beauty.”  Makes you feel like you don’t belong in your home or here on earth.  You’re kept in a perceived place dictated by others.  And, this is sad.  This is not sharing love or kindness to others.


Candisky, Catherine.   Ohio State football scandal figure, ‘naked photog’ to fight for law licenses. The Columbus Dispatch. 1 Aug, 2013 Web.

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Hi all - I really like your comments, but have had a change of heart regarding anonymous comments. My CCWWW beliefs are that you need to stand behind what you say and what you do. Peace out.