The eradication of gender roles is not the only road to gender equality.
Before the poet’s mouth even opened,
her t-shirt polarized the audience. And when she did open her mouth, the
shirt turned out to be the perfect backdrop for her poem: a treatise
about the lack of respect women receive in our society. She railed
against sexism, the damsel in distress trope, the victimization of
women, and the commodification of their bodies.
Her poem crescendos with a call to
end the stereotypes that women face every single day, then erupt in her
vision of womanhood: men and women, both created in God’s image, both
equal before him — or her. And if her shirt offends you — maybe you’re
part of the problem. Maybe God is a feminist.
I watched her poem with a familiar internal conflict. Because, on the one hand, I have seen sexism both inside and outside of the church.
I have watched the damage of the damsel in distress ideology that
paints women as little girls in need of a strong savior (lower-case s).
I’ve watched women in my life overcome victimization at the hands of men
who were supposed to protect them. And I’ve seen women’s bodies treated
merely as tools to keep their husbands satisfied. Those problems are
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