This is Tim Benjamin’s article that appeared in The Evening Leader on Monday, Feb 10, 2020
I need someone to explain the women’s movement to me because I clearly have some questions. This article today is in response to the Super Bowl half-time show. I know I am a week late, but because of the schedule to get my articles in by press time, I missed responding to this last week. So, I know the Super Bowl is ancient history now, but I want to respond to it anyway.
At Wayne Street UMC, I work with many women. I have women on staff, half of my leadership team is women, and I have a whole army of women who volunteer in ministries around the church. They are powerful, strong, intelligent and outspoken. Not one of them seems to have a problem pointing out my mistakes, for which I give them ample opportunity to do so. I value their opinion on all kinds of things around the life of the church. In fact, I often seek out their opinion because I value it so much. I have no problem working with women or working for women.
During the Super Bowl itself, they had at least two commercials about women’s issues that I recall. I admittedly went to sleep after the half-time show, so I don’t know what aired after that. But the two commercials I remember were about women in space where they kept commenting on how much space there was up there. The message was about making space for women, I think? The other one was about women kicking field goals and the crowd cheering for them because they were women. Can women not kick field goals? Does that matter? I have never kicked a single field goal in my life – am I less of a man?
The message of these commercials were about empowering women. I don’t know what product either of them were selling, but I think I got their point. I too believe in empowering women in the same way that I believe that we should all be empowering everyone. I can remember times in my life when I needed someone to believe in me and what I could do. It meant so much for someone to give me that support. I firmly believe that is an experience that everyone needs to have from time to time.
Then came the half-time show. Was that empowering to women? Was what I saw going on there a positive view of women that needed to be promoted to anyone of any age of either gender in the audience? About 5 minutes into that spectacle, I had the urge to call my mom and apologize for watching it. I thought of all of the powerful women in my life and I felt embarrassed on their behalf. To reduce the women in my life down to that is a crime against the women I actually know.
I just want to say to the women and young girls who may have witnessed that soft core pornography televised on national TV: Real men think more of you than that. Sure, it took an impressive amount of working out, dieting, make up, costuming and cosmetic surgeons to make Jennifer Lopez look 25, but the value of a woman is so much more than that.
To all of you men of all ages who may have witnessed that brain-warping display televised on national TV, what would you think if that display was your mom or your sister or your current or future wife? Women are more than objects, even if they seem to think of themselves that way. We need to hold a standard higher than skin deep because the world we live in today has no respect for decency, morality or modesty. There was nothing sexy about what we saw because almost nothing was left to the imagination.
There is a reason that the part of the body that is associated with love is not your eyes – it is your heart. The eyes celebrate lust and reduce people to objects that can be used and discarded. The heart invests in people because we are created with awe and wonder by a God who sees infinite value in each one of us.
We don’t empower women with bumper sticker slogans or progressive agendas. We empower women when we appreciate who they are and respect what they have to contribute. The half-time show did neither of those things, I don’t care how much J-Lo smiled.