It’s been a rough couple of weeks in this election cycle. Granted, it’s been a rough election. I dread looking at the news in the morning, wishing that I could avoid seeing the new ways people are being attacked, both through words and actions. It’s been a rough election.
I’ve been thinking about sexism a lot during my YAV year. It’s hard not to considering how much of the news is about the ways that Donald Trump continues to put women down again and again. I open the NPR app on my phone and read about Donald Trump talking about sexually assaulting women, and then I open Facebook and read about how “words are just words!” But I’m here to say that words aren’t just words. It could just be me, but words cut deeply. Words live with me, and it’s a whole lot harder to figure out a way to send them out of my head.
Tonight I watched Michelle Obama’s speech from last week in which she responded to the video of Donald Trump on the Access Hollywood bus, and it made me think about all of the things that have been said to me in the church, the things said that make me want to cover up.
“I could barely pay attention to your sermon because your legs are so distracting!”
“You’re a cute little girl with a cute little figure!”
“You look like you’re ready for a hot date!”
“You do know that that cookie is fattening, right?”
These are just a few of the comments made to me over the few years in college that I worked as an employee at a church. Several of those were made while I was shaking hands after worship. After each of those comments, I found myself thinking, “It’s alright. Once you’re ordained, you can wear a robe. Maybe if you’re covered up, people won’t say these things. Maybe then they’ll just comment on your hair.” Isn’t that screwed up? I think it took me until the last few weeks to realize how screwed up it is. I am angry that my first thought is that I need to cover up. I am angry that I feel anxious about the comments about my body more than I am anxious about what people will think of my sermons.
What kind of church are we creating for the girls and women who are a part of it? What are we doing? I’m genuinely fearful of what will happen if this “words are just words” mentality continues.
I want to cover up. I want to hide my body so that maybe men will stop making comments that make me feel uncomfortable. I want to cover up the body that God created, and I want to cover up because I’m afraid. And that’s not okay. We’re better than this, y’all. Why don’t we act like it?