by Adelaide Holmes
March 6, 2020
Many Christians hesitate to call themselves “pro-woman,” and women are suffering because of it.
In a culture dominated by identity politics, many Christians are reluctant to claim any identity outside of the gospel of Christ, especially one that has been deeply politicized. But regardless of these concerns, it’s time the church understands that the principles of being “pro-woman” are not in conflict with the gospel call. The broader principles of being “pro-woman” are found throughout scripture, and our culture desperately needs to hear them. The longer we stay silent, the more women will suffer on our watch.
The church needs to understand that being “pro-woman” is not just a secular concept. If we look at how the “war on women” attacks woman’s humanity, we can see that Scripture supports being “pro-woman” in its larger context.
Being “pro-woman” is largely understood to be in favor of equality for women. Scripture supports a view of mankind that is incredibly value-giving to men and women equally because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). This means that men and women have inherent value because they are more like God and represent Him to the world more than anything else in God’s creation. Because of this, some think that the church should simply be “pro-life” or “pro-humanity.” They’re right. The church should champion these values. But the problem is that women are especially under attack in our culture and around the world. Thus, being “pro-woman” should mean that we advocate for their protection and respect because they are being specifically targeted.
There is indeed a “war on women,” as the Left likes to say, but the nature of this war is gravely misunderstood, and its effects are dangerous and deeply dehumanizing. It comes from how cultures value women, and how they treat them.
In much of the world (and in America as well), women are often objectified as the means to gratify the sexual pleasures of men. Pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking are just a few examples of practices that continuously shape the culture’s view of women and sexuality. Pornography teaches viewers that the sexual abuse and torture of women is normal and desired by them. Prostitution teaches culture to view women as commodities that can be bought “made to order.” If she won’t comply, she can be forced (as women in pornography often are). A study of prostituted women in Washington, D.C. showed that 44 percent were raped, and over half of them were physically assaulted and threatened with a weapon. Another study in 2018 found that 61 percent of prostituted women experienced “traumatic brain injuries” while in prostitution. Sex trafficking goes even further and teaches that twisted sexual fantasies can be pursued regardless of age or consent. In the United States, teens that are sexually exploited usually begin between the ages of 12 and 14. These women are coerced into sex trafficking to meet the sexual appetites of men and their traffickers, who have turned sex trafficking into a $99 billion per year worldwide horror show.
Pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking tell a narrative that a woman’s value is in what she does sexually. As these institutions and practices spread and become normalized, their influence engulfs those who they hold captive, and it infiltrates the culture that our daughters grow up in.
Little girls grow into teenagers believing that their worth is something they must fight for. Teens grow into women believing that beauty is an action, not a state of being. To prove their worth, they jump in bed with men who have been conditioned by pornography to view women as products to be used, disrespected, and forced to perform or endure grotesque, porn-shaped sexual fantasies. This is the nightmare that our children grow up in.
This is the real “war on women” that the church needs to fight.
The church needs to fight to end pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking, which are all linked. While these are political battles, they are also cultural, and there are tangible things that can be done. The church needs to help rehabilitate women who were once victims of this exploitation and help men who were once captive to this darkness. Pastors needs to teach on a biblical approach to sexuality in marriage. Christians need to fight for this God-given truth: all people are made in the image of God and worthy of respect.
Women don’t deserve respect simply for what they do. They deserve respect for who they are. As Christians, we can share this value-giving truth with a sexually broken culture. This “war on women” thrives on the lie that a woman’s worth is based on her actions. As we recognize International Women’s Day this Sunday, March 8th, let us be truly “pro-woman” and remember that until our culture understands the intrinsic value and worth of all women, there will always be a “war on women.”