Tag Archives: sexuality

Rape prevention check list

I am the father of two daughters.  They are young now, but I hope that someday soon they will go to college.  At college, there are often safety tips.  I remember hearing them when I was a college student.  There will be warnings of the dangers of alcohol abuse.  There will be warnings about walking alone on campus, about finding yourself alone in someone else’s room, and even about how to dress.  The vast majority of these warnings will be directed toward girls, warning them of the ways that they can prevent themselves from being raped.

There are various statistics about the prevalence of rape on college campuses.  A quick google search put the number of women that are victims of rape or attempted rape at anywhere between 1 in 50 and 1 in 4.  The truth likely lies somewhere in between.  “Rape Culture” on college campuses seems to be growing, as evidenced by the recent debate that Daniel Tosh sparked when making “rape jokes.”  Much of the problem has lied with college administrations that are unwilling to punish, or sometimes even investigate, men accused of rape.  Notre Dame’s football program was one such case that gained noteriety, but activists across the country have been raising their voices.\

So I decided I would chip in.  I came up with this list of “Rape Prevention Tips For College.”  I think this is almost 100% fool-proof.

1. Don’t rape anyone.

2. If you go out on a date with someone, don’t rape her.

3. If there is a girl at a party, and she is dressed very sexy, don’t rape her.

4. If you are with a girl that has had way too much to drink, don’t rape her.

5. If you see a girl, and she is passed out; walk by her, or help her get home, or find her friends.  Don’t rape her.

6. If, at any time, you are unsure if what you are doing is rape, then stop doing that, immediately.

Maybe it is time that we start teaching men at college that raping someone isn’t okay.  Every girl that gets drunk is not looking for sex.  Every girl that wears a mini skirt isn’t waiting for you to get into it.  Should women avoid dangerous situations? Sure.  I will teach my daughters to be smart.  I will likely get them to a Girls Fight Back seminar someday, where they will learn to defend themselves.  I will teach my daughters to protect themselves.

As a father of two girls, I will do my part.  I will do my best to teach my girls to respect themselves.  But its not all on me, or on them.  You fathers of boys need to step up too.  Teach them, in no uncertain terms, that it is not okay to rape.  You teach them not to lie.  You teach them not to cheat.  You teach them lots of things.  You may be squeamish about it.  It might be an uncomfortable topic, so I provided you with this list to help.  Learn it.  Live it.

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Filed under Personal Reflection

Miss Representation

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. (Alice Walker)

The trailer below begins with this quote.  It reminds me of an anecdote I heard in seminary.  I don’t remember the exact details, so I cannot properly attribute the story.  My professor said (something like), “C.S. Lewis once said that, ‘Man’s greatest sin is pride.’ In other words, it is believing that being ‘made in the image of God’ is equal to that of being God.  This might be true, but another theologian said, ‘The greatest sin of man might be pride.  But the greatest sin of woman is lack of pride.'”

The video is about eight and a half minutes long.  It is worth watching.  Make no mistake, this is not a girls issue.  It is not a liberal issue. It is a human issue.  The objectification of women is damaging to both boys and girls.  Treating anyone as less than a precious child of God does harm.  It is the act of ignoring what is fundamentally true of all people: That we are ALL created in God’s image.

So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27, NRSV)

This is an issue that I’ve written about before in my blog Princess Paradox.  As a father of two daughters, I obviously have a lot of interest in how the media will affect their lives as they grow up.  As power as the media is, it is not more powerful than a loving relationship.  The movie is a warning.  It can help provide  a sense of urgency, and a better understanding of what we’re up against. It cannot be an excuse.  It is my duty as a father to make sure that my daughters know that they are smart, strong, courageous people that were created in the image of God.

I hope you take the time to watch this and go to the Miss Representation website to learn more.

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Filed under Media

Dude looks like a lady

The Fat Pastor at Hy-Vee

Okay, so maybe the title for this blog is hyperbolic, but when I went grocery shopping on Sunday evening with my nails painted hot pink, I felt a little odd.  And maybe it was just my imagination running away with me (another song allusion) but I felt like I had a few strange looks.  Its okay, I think I would have looked at me strangely too.  Picture this for a moment – a 6 foot 2 inch man with a big belly, a 56 inch chest and athletic-looking arms and legs wearing a pair of gym shorts, flip-flops, and a t-shirt, pushing a shopping cart with a 11-month old baby in it.  Then you see him reach for a bunch of bananas and you see it – hot pink fingernails, a few with purple glitter too.

I had to be a strange sight.  It was strange for me too.  Whenever I forgot that my fingernails were painted, I would see them out of the corner of my eye and have a double take – at my own hands!  It made me wonder, why?  What is so disconcerting about a man that – on the surface at least – is 100% masculine wearing fingernail polish (and what, I might add, does it mean to be 100% masculine?  Is that even a real thing?).

I mean seriously, was I somehow less manly because I was wearing fingernail polish?  Would someone see me wonder about my sexuality?  What if they connected my fingernails and the clergy sticker on my car?  Would they deem me unfit for the ordained ministry?  Nevermind the fact that my two most recent hobbies are playing football and boxing.  Did the color of my fingernails somehow change me?

To be honest, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions.  I’m not sure why I felt so out of place. Why does something as menial as finger nail polish seem to matter?  Why was I sure to remove it before I went into church on Monday?  It made me wonder about all sorts of gender issues.  What makes one thing feminine and another thing masculine?  Who defines these things?  It seems like some traits of gender are more about society than biology, but I think there are important evolutionary differences between our genders.  And why does crossing those gender lines make us so uncomfortable?  It made me think briefly of Jesus telling Martha to come and sit with him and the guys – breaking down important gender barriers. Like I said, the whole thing made my head spin a little, and I have more questions then answers.

The fact is, going out in public with my nails painted was probably one of the “manliest” things I’ve ever done.  My four-year-old daughter painted them.  When she approached me, the conversation went something like this:

“Daddy, I know that boys usually don’t where fingernail polish, but I think you should try new things.  You should try finger nail polish and see if you like it.”  She expertly used my own words against me.  I have told her dozens of times that it is good to try new things – whether it is food, games, or meeting new friends, I tell her all the time, “it is good to try new things.”  So how could I argue with her?

So I let her crawl up on my lap, and I helped her paint my nails.  Of course she picked out the loudest color possible.  She did a great job.  She was so careful and so proud of how great my nails looked afterward.  Later that day I was washing my hands, and she told me, “be careful Daddy, don’t wash the polish off.”  So I told her that I would probably take it off pretty soon.  She looked at me and said, “But I want you to wear it to church so everyone can see.”  I promised her that I would leave it on for the rest of the day.

That night when I was going to the grocery store, I was going to bring both girls.  I figured she would provide great coverage for me.  But then she decided to go with my wife, so it was just me, the baby, and my hot pink nails at the Hy-Vee.

Afterwards, I felt strange sense of pride.  I realized how silly it was to feel bad about how my nails looked.  It made my daughter happy, and she might always remember that lesson, “its good to try new things.”  I reinforced it to her in a very powerful way.  The next morning I told her, “Well, I tried it, but I don’t think I like it.”  She was a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to leave it on until next Sunday, but she respected that I at least gave it a try.  Plus there was a small consolation – I bumped into the head usher of our church at Hy-Vee, and he promised that he would “tell everybody.”


Filed under Personal Reflection

The Mouse is a pimp

At 1:39 into the clip, the dance begins. A beautiful woman is embraced by a tall, dark and handsome man.  He is behind her, with his head leaning in toward her face, which is accepting of this advance.  Their lips are mere inches apart.  He is wearing a dark suit, but no one is looking at what he is wearing.  She is the centerpiece.  The straps of her dress reveal softly rounded shoulders and a plunging neckline that accentuates her feminine curves.  It allows little, and yet much, to the imagination.

As the dance proceeds, the passion only intensifies.  Her back is left bare by her dress as the two twirl and glide along the floor with grace and beauty.  Her muscularly femine legs  are glimpsed with every lunging step, and every fanciful turn. They float across the floor until the dance comes to its climactic moment when he lifts her leg, places her foot on his shoulder, then twirls into the last pose.  She throws her head back in exhaustion.  He clutches her around the waist, keeping her close, lowering his face to her breast.

The beauty of the dance is certain.  It was a passionate dance, full of tension and emotion.  Their sexuality was at the forefront of every movement, but there is a disturbing twist.

The woman in the dance – the woman with the plunging neckline and sculpted legs…  The woman taken on this journey of passion, culminating in a climactic – even orgasmic – collapse of emotion…  The woman in this dance is 17 years old.

The woman, or should I say girl, in this video is Shawn Johnson.  She is an Olympic champion.  She is a beautiful girl.  She has spent much of her life training her body, gaining a superb mix of feminine grace and athleticism.  She is a role model for young women across the country  – someone to aspire to – someone to dream about being.  She, unlike so many females in the spotlight, is no waif.  She is a picture of health and fitness.  She has reached the pinnacle of her career, and shows no sign of slowing down.  There is no wonder that she is a front-runner on Season 8 of Dancing With the Stars.

I am disurbed however, by the way in which she is being sexualized.  After one of her dances, she was even told by the judge to be “more naughty.”  The host at least had the clear-mindedness to say, “she’s 17.”  But there is no wonder the judge got caught up in her sexuality, he is just a part of our culture that is doing more and more to sexualize young women.  One author calls it “The Lolita Effect.”

I had this discussion recently with some people.  One of the men said, “hasn’t this been happening for years?  Is this something new?  Wasn’t Brooke Shields sexualized when she was young, and Jodi Foster in “Taxi Driver”?”

My response was, “Yes, this has been happening for years.  The difference is, back then it was controversial.  Now it is being sold by Disney.”

The sexualization of young girls is big business, and it is mainstream big business.  Sex is being used to sell young girls and to sell to young girls.  Shawn Johnson is lifted up as the ideal American girl – so lets put her in a dress with a plunging neckline and have her simulate a passionate encounter with a man ten years her elder.  Miley Cyrus is idolized by millions of young girls, so let’s take off her clothes, drape her in a sheet and take pictures of her.

Some might argue, “Well, that wasn’t her doing that.  That was a manipulative photographer that tricked her into posing like that.”  Okay, even if I buy that (which I don’t).  Then how do you explain this:


In case you can’t tell from the picture, that is Mickey Mouse and Miley Cyrus’ breast about to fall out of her dress, and there are 16 candles on that cake – 16!

 Disney corporation pretends it stands for family values and presents its image as pure and ideal, but then gives us Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus and Shawn Johnson’s cleavage on DTWS.   A google search of Disney and sex reveals conspiracy theories about subliminal sexual messages embedded in Disney movies.

They are not subliminal.  The sexual images are right there in front of our faces – right there in front of the faces of our girls and boys.  There is nothing subliminal about Disney and sex. 

Why do we let them get away with it?  Why do we allow Disney to prostitute our young girls?  South Park has one theory.  And I tend to agree with them (but not completely).  Disney presents an image of purity and virginity while at the same time cramming sexual images down our throats.  

Disney is a corporation, and its purpose is to make money.  Does that make it evil? No.  It makes it a profitable business.  Disney exists to make money – nothing more.  The way that it makes money is to convince people that it stands for more than that.  I, as a consumer, can choose to consume their product or not.  My home is not a Disney-free zone.  But I assure you that when I do consume their product, I do so with my eyes wide open.

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Filed under Media