Set-Apart Sexuality in a “Sex is Power” World

by Katie McCoy May 21, 2015

At the end of the 30-second commercial I wasn’t sure whether I should be laughing or blushing! As the on-screen ladies witnessed the dramatic duels of flying samurais and jousting knights, I heard: "It’s the cradle of life. It’s the center of civilization. Men have fought for it, even died for it. One might say it’s the most powerful thing on earth…Hail to the V!"

Yep, that “V." Maybe the theatrical marketing campaign of this popular feminine product wanted to reinvent their image. Perhaps they wanted their female consumers to feel pride in their product instead of the typical embarrassment of praying they don’t see anyone they know in the store and avoiding eye contact in the check-out line. Whatever the commercial intended to convey about the actual item, its message was clear: female sexuality is power.

The slogan isn’t alone in the recent slate of girl-power mantras. Last summer, über-celebrity Beyonce Knowles debuted the female-empowered anthem,“Girls Who Run the World.” The international hit single sent women across the globe chanting, “Who runs the world? Girls!” while she hypnotically droned, “My persuasion can build a nation, Endless power, the love we can devour, You’ll do anything for me.” For Beyonce, female sexuality is power.

While such eyebrow-raising media may seem to be just latest attempts in pushing the cultural envelope and challenging social norms, what they promote is not just a product, but a philosophy; not just a lyric, but a lifestyle. And, more often than not, we’re unaware of just how inundated with its messages we have become.

Within the statements that girls run the world and women should Hail to the V, are the subtle expressions of a worldview that is immersed in a feminist mindset.  Ironically, the whole “biology equals destiny” concept is what the feminist movement set out to fight against. It began some worthy social concerns, but it spiraled into spiritual extremes.  Rather than going back to how God’s Word defines our sexuality and gender roles, the feminist movement sought to re-define it for themselves. Among other things, women blamed the Bible, saying its “traditional” gender roles kept women trapped in unhappiness and oppression. Within a generation, feminism redefined all of reality according to the female experience. Their relationships and roles, their identities and ideas, every aspect of life was revised to liberate women from being defined by men. But it didn’t stop there.

The identity of God was also reinvented to reflect women’s experiences, even among Christian circles. One of the most shocking expressions of the feminist worldview occurred at the 1993 Re-Imagining God Conference in Minneapolis, an event by the World Council of Churches in which various Christian denominations gathered to “re-imagine what belief in God and life together in community means from a Christian-feminist perspective.” Participants chanted to God, “Our maker Sophia, we are women in your image, with the hot blood of our wombs we give form to new life…”[1] They went on to describe the mystical power of a woman’s biology in explicit and graphic terms. What was bizarre in 1993 is now mainstream in 2011. Hence, Hail to the V!

God designed male and female to be interdependent of one another, both equally made in His image, neither one superior to the other. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”(Gen 1:27, emphasis added).  If the ultimate purpose of human sexuality is to reflect the character and reality of God, then His original design for male and female was never the source of women’s inequality; rather, the sin-skewed erosion of it was. But with a misdiagnosed problem came a “solution” that was even further from the truth. “In meddling with sexuality we inevitably touch the person of God, for the creation of Man as male and female is mysteriously tied to the image of God.”[2] The result was not just female equality, but a pendulum-swing to the other extreme of female dominance. A woman’s biology became a world force that ran the world, controlled men and was worthy of worship, much like Paul’s description of people who “worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator,” (Rm 1:27).

The effects of the feminist movement have so saturated our everyday lives that we often don’t recognize the philosophy behind what we hear. As Carolyn McCulley explains:

Because it’s not a politically visible movement, many people are unaware of it, but not of its effects. Third-wave feminism [begun in the 1990’s] has contributed to the pornographication of our culture, to the immodesty of women’s fashions and behavior, to the celebration of women’s immorality in shows like "Sex and the Cit"y and "Girls Gone Wild," and so on. It is also decidedly anti-family and pro-pansexuality.[3]

It’s in this month’s hyper-sexualized headline of Cosmo magazine, the casual hook-ups of the Jersey Shore girls, and Lady Gaga’s latest provocative display. The “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” lifestyle tells us that self-objectification equals control, dominance, and power. It exchanges the power of purity for the belief that it’s powerful to be pornographic. But the world’s picture of the sexually liberated woman isn’t empowered at all; rather, she’s enslaved by the deception that becoming a commitment-free object of lust was all her idea.

The truly liberated woman is the one who recognizes her Creator’s design for her as a woman, goes against the cultural grain, and lives in the freedom of a set-apart sexuality.

Truth be told, you and I have likely bought into the “sexuality is power” message ourselves at one time or another. We don’t have to be chanting a girl-power mantra or fall into “womb worship” to miss the point of a set-apart sexuality.

Are you listening to the “sexuality is power” message in your interactions with men? Do you flirt  or manipulate your sexuality to get what you want? Are you like the wily, eyelash-batting woman of Proverbs 7? Or do you live the power of purity, like the confident, chaste and trustworthy woman of Proverbs 31?
Are you acting out to the “sexuality is power” message in your relationships? Do you take control in your dating relationships or your home? Are you manipulative in your speech and body language? Or do you live in the power of purity, as a woman with a “gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in the sight of God”? (1 Pet 3:4)
Are you wearing the “sexuality is power” message in your dress? Are your clothes revealing? Do you dress to attract attention to your body? Or do you live in the power of purity, by making yourself attractive with a life of good works? (1 Tim 2:10)

May we be women who boldly reject the “sexuality is power” message for the freedom, dignity, and true empowerment of a set-apart sexuality!