Peppered throughout Facebook posts. Like cuts through flesh; jagged, raw. Bold hurting two words, emerging from the silence as though driven, compelled.
I’m sick of living in a crass over sexualized society, where sexuality is a commodity cynically plastered onto everything to increase market value.
I’m sick of having women’s value judged by the thin svelteness of their bodies, the tightness of their clothes, the vapid “sexy” hungry look in their eyes.
I’m sick of seeing men at Academy Awards, proms, weddings dressed with dignity in a jacket and tie while women are only acceptable when at least half naked, vulnerable and cheap, with abundant cleavage, slits, strapless, bronzed, oiled shoulders, tottering on stilettos. Why aren’t they allowed to the dignified and powerful look as well?
I’m sick of boys and men learning to see women as objects to manipulate and cheap throw away fixes to satisfy their desires.
I’m sick so many young people brainwashed to view the romance, holiness, privacy, intimacy, mutual respect and meaningfulness of sexuality in a deep, committed singular relationship as being square and irrelevant; of them being tragically burnt and burnt out and not guided towards the beauty that could be theirs.
I’m in recovery from growing up in a society imbuing polarized mixed messages: Try to be Lolita, a femme fatale/ juxtaposed with a prudish Christian-flavored sex is dirty, shameful and perverse.
As the years I’m observant add up, and so many “heroes” out there unravel and disintegrate, (think Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Bill Clinton,etc., and the latest, this Weinstein sicko), I’m continually amazed and increasingly blown away by the Torah’s frank understanding of human nature, desires, stumbling blocks: and infinite potential.
To protect: The laws of Yichud– not being alone in a closed room with someone of the opposite gender, Negia- not touching unrelated people of the opposite gender are real fences for real, fallible, alive; yes, sexual people.
And to build: Taharat Hamishpacha (the practice of mikvah, separation and reunification)–which can enhance and continually renew the marriage bond, and the whole concept of Kiddushin– marriage as sacred, singular, separate.
And Tzniuit ( modesty)– a woman’s outer beauty should enhance and reflect her inner beauty, refinement and integrity.No, I’m not blaming the victim, there’s no excuse for sexual harassment and worse. But we do dress to communicate: what message are we putting out there?
(Yes, these values and practices are sometimes distorted and twisted, and yes, observant people, their marriages and sexuality can have deep challenges, as we’re all imperfect works in progress) but the template, the core values are powerfully power-filled.
I’ve seen so many couples and families with a luminous harmony that shines through the vapid darkness of the dominant plastic Hollywood toxic culture. It might bear taking another look at, perhaps even embracing, our deep and wise, sweet roots and traditions.