It’s likely that some of you will take offense at the title of this post. But if you read through the post, it’ll certainly make more sense in the larger context. But for what it’s worth, I was intending to entitle this post, “Fortunate to Have a P*nis” and maybe I should have but ultimately, I just didn’t want to receive too many rebukes and tense emails. Seriously, who wants emails about genitals?
Seriously, it’s not my intent to be sensational or even controversial but simply to make an important point.
So, what is my point?
I am fortunate to be a man.
Or to put it in other words, I’m fortunate to have a p*nis.
As I recently preached at my church or in another blogpost about the silence of women in the Church, there’s great privilege and power in simply being a man. This is why I contend that the treatment of women is the oldest injustice in human history. We can talk equality and equity all day long and while we can acknowledge how far we’ve come, we still clearly live – even in 2011 – where there’s great advantage in simply being a man.
Consider this statistic from UNICEF and UN:
Women give birth to 100% of the human population. In addition, women do about 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the world’s food, but earn 10% of the world’s income & only own less than 1% of the world’s property. [You can also read more about these statistics from The Global Poverty Project.]
If the average distance to the moon is 394,400 km, South African women together walk the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back 16 times a day to supply their households with water.
Or how about the story of Sahara, a woman I met in Kenya who walked nearly 200 miles to escape a devastating drought.
But it’s not just situations in the developing world, it’s also here in the home front.
Case in point? Compensation. While these numbers need to be taken in light of context and factors such as industry, maternity leave, expectations, etc., the inequity in compensation still needs to examined:
That’s because U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008, according to the latest census statistics. (That number drops to 68% for African-American women and 58% for Latinas.)
But industry doesn’t tell the whole story. Women earned less than men in all 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the Census Bureau in 2007 — even in fields in which their numbers are overwhelming. Female secretaries, for instance, earn just 83.4% as much as male ones. And those who pick male-dominated fields earn less than men too: female truck drivers, for instance, earn just 76.5% of the weekly pay of their male counterparts. Perhaps the most compelling — and potentially damning — data of all to suggest that gender has an influence comes from a 2008 study in which University of Chicago sociologist Kristen Schilt and NYU economist Matthew Wiswall examined the wage trajectories of people who underwent a sex change. Their results: even when controlling for factors like education, men who transitioned to women earned, on average, 32% less after the surgery. Women who became men, on the other hand, earned 1.5% more. (via Time Magazine)
My point: I’m fortunate to be a man or to put in anatomically, to have a p*nis.
The mechanisms, systems, institutions…the whole matrix…gives clear advantage to men. Just consider some of the recent destructive news and controversy surrounding men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (the ex-chief of the IMF), Bishop Eddie Long, and Congressman Anthony Weiner.
It’s not my intent to condemn these fellow men to eternal judgment. Nope. Not at all. But I do have a point:
What would have happened to these individuals had they been women? What if we were talking about Anne Schwarzenegger, Diana Trump, Dominique (?) Strauss-Kahn, Bishop Ellen Long, and Congresswoman Angelie Weiner?
Jim Wallis nailed it in one of his recent posts, entitled Zero Tolerance, about this inequity and injustice:
It’s a constant storyline in the media involving powerful men in politics, sports, business, and even religion: Men behave with utter disregard for the dignity and humanity of women — using and abusing them at will, and somehow believing that they are entitled to do so. These men seem to think that the ordinary rules of decent behavior do not apply to them. We have a never-ending cavalcade of disgusting stories about men cheating on their wives and mothers of their children; abandoning old wives for new ones; serial philandering as a way of life; sexually harassing and assaulting women; and even committing rape. But when all is said and done, the perpetrators are still playing basketball, football, and golf; they are still running for political office, and are still at the helm of the institutions of the economy, and even the church…
As the secret stories are revealed, there is great interest and perverse excitement in the media. The pain and suffering from the women involved, and the invisible hurt of the children, are brushed aside. Instead, the women are subtly, and sometimes directly, blamed. And sometimes, in all-male circles, there is a wink and a nod, and, most disgustingly, even a little envy of the powerful men who get to break all the rules when it comes to women. The primary outcry is from other women who, in the name of equality and dignity, lament this continual pattern of abuse.
During Biblical context and during the times of Jesus, the Pharisees and other religious leaders prayed numerous times each day. It is reported that customs dictated they pray at least three times/day. And during their prayers, they always thanked God for three specific things (amongst others I suppose):
- God, thank you that I am a Jew and not a Gentile.
- God, thank you that I am free and not a slave.
- And lastly…God, thank you that I am a man and NOT a woman.
This is why the Gospel of Christ is so powerful and important.
His death not only reconciles sin but his life reveals the true reflection and way of the Kingdom. The apostle Paul captures this vision of the Kingdom so compellingly in Galatians 3:28 when he subverts the dominant worldview through the lens of the Kingdom:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Such powerful words. Such beautiful vision of what God intended and promises to restore. And so with that vision and path in mind, may we all work together to create a more just world where we can honor and celebrate the unique ways in way God created us rather that using our differences to manipulate, exploit, and rule over.
Even in my personal brokenness and inconsistencies, I covenant to keep being an advocate…
but in the meanwhile, I’m blessed to be a man. Or anatomically speaking, that I have a p*nis.