Why Trump didn't shock me, and referencing your mom doesn't offend me
I have to be honest. When those tapes were released last week featuring presidential candidate Donald Trump saying horrible things about women’s privates, I listened in along with everyone else, waiting for him to say something unexpected. The only thing is, I don’t think I ever really heard that part.
Don’t get me wrong; I heard what he said. But were any of us really ever under the impression that he wasn’t capable of being that guy? Did we think that his public vulgarity was as bad as he got? In my experience, that’s not really how people work, let alone public figures. I’d honestly be more shocked if he wasn’t that deplorable behind the scenes.
Now that his comments have added yet another layer of intense bitterness to this presidential election—as if we needed more reasons to feel bewildered and frustrated—I am seeing several female friends of mine who make a point of never being political on Facebook suddenly posting thought after thought of outrage towards Trump. And understandably so.
Another theme that’s emerged is a related frustration aimed at the way some have tried to promote the dignity of women by suggesting men think of their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc. The argument here is that women have their own inherent dignity, because we are human beings, and not just because of our relationships to men.
This is a beautiful point, and as much as I hate the things that came out of Trump’s mouth (not surprised, but still repulsed), I love that we are talking about the dignity of women so much right now. I like seeing women, ones who don’t usually express their opinions publicly, take up their banners with messages about how wonderful we are! Yes, ladies!!
At the same time, though, I’m also not at all offended by those who reference women as mothers, wives, daughters and sisters as an effort to illustrate our dignity. I think this is because I don’t see these as simply roles in relation to men, or controlled by them in any way, but as callings in relation to God. He is the One endowing us with inherent dignity. To be a mother is to collaborate with our Creator in cultivating brand new human existence. To be a daughter is to be an heiress to God's glory, as being a sister is to share in that inheritance with others. And to be a wife is to be a living icon of Christ’s Church in the world.
There is so much honor in all of this, it actually makes a lot of sense to me to use these as examples of how uniquely dignified the feminine genius can actually be. These statements are simply saying, "Think of the women who powerfully affected you in some way other than sexually. Try to see that dignity in every woman." And I don't see what's so ignorant about that.
I do think that sometimes we can get confused about what honoring our inherent feminine dignity really looks like. For example, I will likely never be convinced that chemical processes which disrupt our bodies’ natural functions to render us artificially infertile will ever be an embrace of that inherent dignity so much as propaganda from the very masculine-centric ideology that feminists claim to oppose. And I will also likely never agree with the idea that being a strong woman means becoming more like a man. I'll never think of abortion as a women’s rights issue with no regard for the inherent dignity of the unborn human.
But I will continue to be unfazed by disgusting comments made by the likes of someone like Donald Trump, because He has my Heavenly Father to reckon with on every account, as we all do when we get so far off.
I will live in complimentary relationship with the men in my life, calling out their true dignity by genuinely living out my own.
I will encourage other women to see the beauty of their own feminine genius, and embrace it, rather than play games where we tear each other down for a superficial sense of power and strength.
I will be wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, writer, citizen, student, member, advocate, and whatever else it is that I may become in this life, because these are the ways that God’s own inherent love and dignity flow through my existence into the lives of others. And if someone happens to witness any of it, be affected by it, and be encouraged to use these examples to illustrate the inherent dignity of women—to call out the disconnected and bring them back into connection with the truth of who we are—by all means, there will be no complaints on my end.