When I was a kid growing up in the sixties, it was clear that girls did not have as many benefits or options as boys. Males controlled society and females helped them do it. Women complained that females who worked at “men’s jobs” were taking food off the tables of men and their families. Lines were drawn in the sand. It was acceptable for women to manage a family business but not a corporate one, and men could become chefs and teachers but not stay home to raise their own kids or cook evening meals.
In the seventies there were subtle changes and women became employed in significant but mostly silent roles in their communities. They could work in an office and teach Sunday school, but they were still largely excluded from boardrooms, pulpits and partnerships, where office walls and business meetings were peppered with pictures of naked women. It was quite common for TV and print advertisements to feature young female models in bikinis as they draped themselves over the products that were sold.
In the eighties and nineties things improved and professional organizations opened their doors to women who were intentionally encouraged to become involved in STEM (science, technology engineering and math) professions. The use of females in advertising as sexual bait became less obvious and slowly women were given the same work opportunities as men. The fashion industry flooded the market with women’s pin striped suits and satin blouses with bows at the neck in place of ties. Women carried brief cases and the marble floors in office towers cracked under the pressure of stiletto heels.
Women in the work force had become as tightly buttoned up as their masculine counterparts, and it was clear that the success of females in the work-place depended on their ability to mimic the culture of men. Females rose to the top of the food chain in corporate office towers, but mostly as designated hitters, where they were expected to remain reserved and in the shadows. They had to fight to be heard and became increasingly conservative in order to be taken seriously. They received very little respect and were expected to keep quiet about the obvious biases against them.
At the turn of the century, on January 1, 2000, the business community expected a worldwide, catastrophic collapse of computer systems, but the exact opposite happened, and computers didn’t just survive, they thrived. In the next two decades, fibre-optics and improvements in processor chip design, exponentially revolutionized the communications industry and increased the reliability and speed of the internet. As a result, the internet and cell-phone industries swung the doors wide open for people to publicly say and display anything and everything they wanted for all the world to see.
The revolution in technology removed bottlenecks and dictatorships that were once held by governments, businesses and the media. National and international boundaries melted away, and for most civilized counties, so did many of the barriers for women. As internet login wait times became almost instantaneous, so too did wait times for women to take charge of their own identities and destinies. What happened next however, was a surprise.
It wasn’t until women stopped trying to do and say the “right” thing that they came into their own power. In the greatest of ironies, it wasn’t until women purposefully began to expose themselves on the internet that the balance of power tipped. Women increasingly showed more and more flesh and posted as many naked pictures of themselves as they pleased. What was once considered a bitter pill of abuse and the bane of existence for feminists in the sixties, had become the power base for women in the twenty-first century.
While most women were still traumatized by exposure, a handful of woman made exposing themselves their life’s quest, and the public response was overwhelming and became the fuel that generated millions of dollars for them, many of whom generated more revenue than the GDP of some countries. Women had become wealthy, not by selling a physical product, but by posting pictures of themselves and their surroundings online. With the help of social media, their fame rose to the point where they could make or break multi-billion dollar brands with a single word or gesture. They were paid to be photographed leaving their apartments, to attend events, to wear designer clothes, and to post even the slightest hint of a product in their online profiles. The anthropological result of their exposure, was that they did not go unnoticed by the younger generation.
Female teenagers who had been sent home from school to cover up cleavage and spaghetti straps, had not only returned wearing less, but had waved legal notices to school boards and turned the tables on who should be ashamed of what. “Slut walks” had become the ironic vehicle for women to put men on notice, and to proclaim that showing skin was not an invitation to unwelcome cat calls or touching.
It appeared that the universe had more lessons to teach us about gender equality, and instead of females adapting themselves into a male stereotype, they instead forged ahead on a different path. Images of naked women had once again become main stream, but the tables had turned. Due to their bravery, lust, or just plain desperate need for attention, what seemed like two steps backward, meant that exposure was far less of a weapon than it used to be.
The cultural zeitgeist of immodesty had freed at least some women from shaming their own bodies, but how did that fit into God’s plan for our future? It appears that we had only begun the first steps of a fascinating balancing act. Today there is a whole new crop of young women who are posting pictures of themselves with their heads covered in religious veils and their bodies wrapped in layers of muted fabric. The fascinating part of the juxtaposition of the two groups of women, is that both claim “the freedom to choose” as their motivation.
Many years ago I was invited to supper at the home of a religious family and I was given a “doily”, a crocheted circle of cotton, to place on top of my head. I was quite young and did as I was told and barely noticed it amongst all the other unfamiliar formalities. For the host family, the doily signified that I was “very” less equal to the males around the table and that I should cover myself in shame before God. When I remember this event it makes me wince, because I am sickened by the thought that God treats women as a subculture to men, and yet I am profoundly respectful of the fact that this family chose to honour God as best they could.
What people wear or don't wear is between them and God. The motivation for what one wears is far more important than the actual clothes. Nature is an example of how a complex Sovereign mind thinks. In the beginning of time, humans wore light as clothing and in comparison to the textures and colours found in feathers, flowers and minerals, today’s humans have severely limited their self expression. To criticize someones personal taste and creativity in clothing, especially in worship, is to criticize God.
Where is the universe taking us?
The universe is not trying to create harmony between males and females as we know it, because the universe does not acknowledge our meagre definition of gender. When God "divided" Adam Version #01, into Adam and Eve, God divided a living diamond into two equal halves, and there was no side that had more or less value than the other. Humans compare males and females based on their man-made stereotypes, but heaven is only interested in how well each side reflects God’s light. When humans have harmony with God, then and only then will they have harmony with each other. Equal respect and equal pay is not a gender issue, it is an issue of justice. Limiting human potential, male or female, is the work of darkness.
God says that the end of time will be marked by:
1. the forging of earth’s weapons into farming equipment, and
2. by wolves and lambs laying down together in peace.
The universe intends to do away with the darkness that causes division, and this applies to gender as well.