I recently saw this hashtag about JoJo Fletcher, America’s most recent Bachelorette, on a friend’s Facebook post. Having watched several episodes of The Bachelorette, this young male writer was appalled by JoJo’s behavior and took to his keyboard to express his disdain. While I don’t believe the author of the hast tag meant to be unkind, I felt irritated with this young man because he broke a cardinal rule of Christian, gentlemanly behavior, which is…
… NEVER call a woman a tramp…
…or any other sexually derogative term.
There is something in our human nature that loves to stand back and judge, and for some reason a woman’s virtue is an area that takes a lot of hits. But it is wholly unacceptable for a man, or anyone for that matter, to cast aspersions such as “tramp” upon a woman for several significant reasons.
1) OUR CULTURE ENCOURAGES PROMISCUITY
We live in a highly sexualized culture. Everyday we see scantily clad women peering at us from billboards, smiling seductively from our television screens, standing in provocative poses on the covers of magazines, or strolling along our beaches wearing little more than a few strands of fabric. Designers create clothes that reveal. Surgeons provide services to make women more voluptuous. The music on the radio talks about the delights of brief sexual encounters. Porn is an everyday activity for both young and old. Our schools teach sex education graphically and even hand out condoms. Sex outside of marriage is promoted and expected. In fact, our culture has become so accepting of sex outside of marriage that NOT having it is viewed as weird, and virgins are rarities and freaks.
Thus, with so much acceptance of and encouragement to engage in pre-marital sex, do we really expect the young women of our nation NOT to have sex? And when they do, do we have the right to call them tramps?
I don’t think so.
These young women are just following what they have been taught. They are deceived, confused, hurting, and broken. Rather than looking at them as tramps, a more appropriate view should be victims.
2) MANY WOMEN BECOME PROMISCUOUS BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN HURT
From the time she is small, a girl dreams of Prince Charming. She imagines that one day her handsome prince will appear and sweep her off her feet and then they will live happily ever after.
But it isn’t long before that little girl grows up and is disillusioned and hurt. She meets a man who she thinks is her Prince Charming only to discover that he is seriously flawed. He uses her and then deserts her. With trembling hands and a bruised heart she manages to pick up the pieces of her dreams and begins a new search for another man, hoping for something better, only to have a similar crushing experience. And so it repeats in an endless cycle of love, get hurt, love, get hurt, love, get hurt.
I’ve personally known young women so devastated by the treatment of men that they were in love with, that when the relationship ended it took them months, even years to recover. And when they finally managed to crawl out of bed, make it through a few hours without crying, they began sleeping around because they desperately craved love and affection.
These broken, anguished women deserve our compassion, not our scorn.
3) WOMEN SHOULD NEVER BE DEFINED BY THEIR SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
When we call a woman a term like “tramp” it’s as if we are wholly defining her by her sexual behavior. It doesn’t matter if she is an educated, hardworking, kind, loving person, we only see the fact that she’s slept with several men.
But people are more than their sexual behavior. JoJo, for example, is a successful real estate developer. She is fun loving and outgoing. She is sweet and kind in her treatment of others. And she wants to marry the man of her dreams and start building a family with him. Yet the young man who labeled JoJo a tramp didn’t take those things into consideration before defining her. The only thing he could see was an attractive, and yes I’ll say it, sexy woman, kissing a bunch of different guys.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I agree with JoJo. I believe pre-marital sex is wrong and I’m not keen on women kissing so freely. But I can also look passed that and see the person that JoJo is beneath the pretty clothes and make-up, and I like her.
JoJo, and all women, are more than their sexual behavior, and to label them with unkind words because of that one aspect of their lives shows that the mental processes of the labeler needs changing.
4) LABELING WOMEN WITH WORDS LIKE “TRAMP” IS SEXIST
Despite the fact that we live in 2016, we continue to see inequalities between men and women in our society. This is especially true in the area of sexuality.
When a man’s virtue is called into question the worst he is ever called might be sleazy or a player. More often than not he is still said to be “sowing his wild oats” or “getting a little action.” (Hmm. Getting a little action? Didn’t the father of rapist Brock Turner call Brock’s behavior “action?”) There aren’t too many terms to describe a guy who, here’s another lighthearted term, plays the field. His behavior is winked at, but a woman’s sexual behavior still labels her a tramp. Or a floozy, bimbo, slut, whore, or a whole stream of disparaging words that have been invented solely to demean a woman. We may think women have come a long way, but that old double standard remains in place.
All the above words are sexist and should be omitted from the vocabulary of every decent human being, especially every Christian. And that leads me to my last point.
5) CHRISTIANS SHOULD NEVER BE NAME CALLERS
Everybody, at some point, has been guilty of name calling. I know I have. But I also know that God has called us to love, not scorn. While it is human nature to look at other people and see flaws and then want to point out those flaws, God wants us to treat the sinner (and hey, that’s all of us) with grace and kindness. That doesn’t mean we condone the sin or even keep silent, but it does mean that we treat people with respect and Christian love.
And men, I believe you have even a stronger responsibility to be kind and respectful. God has called you to be leaders. He has given you authority and He expects you to use your authority wisely. This means that a man should not be a condemner of women, but rather a protector and respecter of women. ALL women, not merely the women he deems virtuous.
The bottom line in this is that we are called to be like Christ, the God man who loved the sinful woman who kneeled before him weeping and washing his feet with her tears. We are called to Christ-like compassion and kindness, not to name calling and derision.
So before we pass judgment on women like JoJo, we must try to understand where they are coming from. And we must recognize that it is our duty to reach out to them in love, and help them to live better, God honoring lives.
And to any man who is tempted to call a woman a tramp, please remember this:
God has called you to be a gentleman.
And a gentleman, a TRUE gentleman, NEVER calls a woman a tramp.