There is a video going around about Dustin Hoffman's experience in filming the movie "Tootsie". He expressed an ephiphany that I would have never guessed could happen to an actor in the course of filming.
In Hoffman's own words: ""I think I'm an interesting woman, when I look at myself on screen, and I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character, because she doesn't fulfill physically the demands that we're brought up to think women have to have in order for us to ask them out. . . There's too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life, because I have been brainwashed."
To Hoffman's credit, I am impressed with his insight and his bravery in speaking of it. And I hope that his ephiphany will influence young men to view women differently with more respect and acceptance.
At Wordgazers Blog is a write up about it in which the author says: "To an extent rarely, if ever, experienced by men, a woman's identity, status and social approval are a function of how she looks. This is why female leaders and politicians' clothing and hairstyles are often the subject of media discussion, while male leaders and politicians are almost never subjected to such scrutiny. This is why women on magazine covers are usually in some state of undress, while men most often appear fully clothed. This is what sociologists call "the male gaze."
Frankly, I think this "male gaze" way of thinking is part of the curse and system of patriarchally denigrating women as slightly less than men and slightly less than human. When Christians begin to really "get" the fullness of God's love in creating humanity in His image, in sending the Holy One who is the Word of God as the Messiah and sacrifice for our human wickedness in order to bring us back to true relationship with God and living properly as creatures of His image, THEN it becomes increasingly difficult to continue to treat women as less than men.
In my opinion, the fact that this "male gaze" way of thinking and treating women continues within the ranks of Christian men and women is a sign of the lack in our churches of deeper intiamcy with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Our churches have too much secular thinking in them and too little spirituality. Perhaps, it is yet another sign of the end times that the Word of God can be well preached or taught but there is much less discussion these days in how to live deeply within true spirituality. In fact, how many today even take the time to wonder what true spirituality is and how to live it. Our after church discussion these days is less often about God and His desires for one's life, than it is about our jobs, our financial and physical woes, and other things of our secular lives.
What can we do about all of this. And who is willing to care?