October 16th, 2011 by Jonalyn Fincher
Dale recently got his Jeep lifted. And to celebrate he took me for a 4×4 adventure in a playground of off-roading trails near Big Bear Lake, CA. It was at our second stop for fuel that I noticed a glossy poster at eye level, advertising Monster Energy drinks-another one of those raise-you-up-knock-you-down caffeine beverages.
This poster sported two full-lipped, open-mouthed women wearing little other than a pair of T-I-G-H-T boy shorts that looked more like low-riding thongs. I don’t remember any thing but enormous breasts on their tops. Were they wearing shirts? Their bodies were frozen as they rubbed against each other. Their eyes invited me to join them. “That,” I announced to Dale, in a voice probably too loudly, “is soft-porn.”
He looked over, grimaced, nodded and kept fueling up. I walked towards the door of the mini-mart, not sure what I was about to do. There was a young, attractive, smooth skinned man looking me up and down as I approached. My stomach felt like I was about to go on stage, all trembling butterflies and a shot of adrenalin (the kind that the Monster drink guaranteed) coursing through my veins.
“Can you tell me who to speak with about the poster on the other side of the door?” I asked smiling.
“Me,” he said.
I took a breath. Smiling and placing my hands on the counter, I took the direct approach. “I thought you’d be interested to know that the poster offends me.”
He was instantly taken back. Before I could explain, he told me, “It’s a free country, if you don’t like it you should leave.”
That’s when I noticed his accent. He wasn’t from this “land of the free.” He wasn’t even fluent in English, but he had learned how we have twisted the idea of freedom. What does freedom mean to you?
“It’s a free country” didn’t mean I was free, not really. I wasn’t free from seeing soft porn at gas stations and that means women are not free to NOT be sexy. Not anymore. That’s because freedom now means the ability to do any and everything to our bodies no matter what kind of crud we squeeze into our souls. Freedom means the denial that we are souls; freedom means looking up women’s shorts and down women’s shirts at their goods, in order to judge their sex appeal. Freedom means to treat women as a sexy piece of flesh because to most that’s all a woman is good for. Let’s face it, freedom has become a new kind of slavery.
What happened to freedom to do good, freedom to look a woman in the eyes, freedom to not be distracted by her spread legs clutching the can of Monster Energy? What about the freedom to not be a monster, a beast, no more than a lustful animal seeking prey? What about the freedom to dignify women beyond their bodies? Where did that freedom disappear to? I was thinking about this before I asked my next question.
“Do you care that it hurts women?” I asked.
He was confused, annoyed and completely insulted. How could it hurt women? He told me that guys like it. He told me women ask for copies of that very poster. He told me that I am the first person to EVER have a problem with it. I nodded to all of these. I wasn’t surprised that I was the first, at least the first with the brass to say anything.
“What happens,” I asked, “when women start thinking that being hot is the only thing valuable about them?”
I know he got my drift because he told me that I was hot so it shouldn’t bother me. I looked at him with flat, unimpressed eyes. It wasn’t really a compliment; he was trying to flatter me into backing down. He felt pinned and really didn’t want to talk about it. He was intelligent and winning, but he didn’t care a straw for my soul. He didn’t care or think about those two sexy women’s souls, how they had fathers and brothers, how they brushed and flossed those shiny teeth, how they painfully waxed their bikini lines to look good enough for their photoshoot, how they were one day going to be grandmothers who lost their hearing and their firm butts, how they had bad breath in the morning and beliefs and emotions and desires all day long, how they were worth more than a hot body, how they had more to do on earth than embellish a Monster. How I wanted to yell at him that he was a monster to see me like that and that the Evil One had duped him into seeing me as just another girl, a woman who was only good for eye candy and thrusting at with his penis.
I know the look he gave me. I used to crave guys eyeing me up and down like that. But now I’m free of that.
At that moment, the door buzzer rang, the door opened, a customer walked in. It was Dale who had finished fueling up and wanted a Coke, I was glad he hadn’t chosen a Monster.
Freedom means that we get to do what we were made for, not whatever we feel like in this moment. What were you made for?
We were made for love, not Monster love, but love that continues on when those women are old and flabby, love that picks up the broken pieces of our lives and mends us. We don’t have to exploit ourselves for love, not anymore. Why? Because we are already loved, we live with the King and he’s already given the kingdom to us. Why go back to the slavery of just being a piece of flesh? Our bodies aren’t tools to reel in the guys and girls; they are a material gift so we can set others free and grow in freedom ourselves.
Now who is really free? The guys and girls caught in porn’s tractor beam? The girls devoted to fashion’s next new thing no matter how low, how tight or how high? The people who have to buy more because THIS is “it” for fall? Are they really free? Or are the free ones the people who can turn the computer off, close the magazine, return the shirt, throw out the skinny jeans, turn on the lights and walk away?
If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.
Are you free?