My generation has grown up with access to readily available pornography on the Internet, camera phones with the capability to share indecent photos, and strip clubs with doors wide open to men the second they turn 18.
But beyond that video camera, that naked photograph, and that stripper pole is a woman. The problem? Our society chooses to view her as a sex object with no other value. The even bigger problem? Many of these women choose to believe it.
This summer, at Wayfarer Christian camp, my youth group had the opportunity to help speak value into many of these seemingly “dirty” and “worthless” women. I’ll admit, when I stepped foot inside a church for a service project, I wasn’t expecting to be writing scripture and notes of encouragement to strippers. I grew up in a religious household where it was taught from the start that premarital sexual relations was a sin. It pains me to admit that although I try to be open-minded and nonjudgmental in many cases, it came as almost second nature as a person who lived by God’s word to ostracize those who work in the sex-industry. It’s a taboo; we all know that there are people surrounding us watching porn, asking for nude photos, and going to strip clubs (including Christians themselves, believe it or not), but we don’t do anything to change it. Well, this summer, Axis Student Community delved into this issue head-on.
The fact of the matter is we’re all sinners. Sin stems from human imperfection, and for many of those working in the sex-industry, a lot of that human imperfection includes a lack of self-worth and feelings of loneliness. During our service project, we were introduced to BeLoved Ministries, an organization dedicated to caring for those affected by the sex-industry, including strippers, prostitutes, strip club managers, sex trafficking victims, average people addicted to porn, etc. We, as teenagers, were asked to write letters of encouragement for strippers that they would hang in their lockers at the club. Following the initial shock, we hesitantly grabbed a pen and a sheet of paper. At first, I was at a loss for words. What do you say to someone who takes off her clothes for a living? To someone who doesn’t understand that she is worth so much more than her body? To someone who doesn’t realize that she is a daughter of God? The words began to flow from my fingertips, spewing out verses of how God mends the broken, loves his children, and values us more than we can possibly fathom. It became easier and easier and soon enough I began to picture these women, victims of society’s sexual obsession and degrading view of the female body, and felt my heart break. I was wrong to view them as anything less than a human being just like me. Just because I grew up in different circumstances doesn’t make us any different.
It’s time to curb the way we think about the sex industry. We can’t keep turning a blind eye towards the problems facing this nation in regards to female worth and sexual immorality. This misogynistic industry thrives off of degrading women’s self worth. To put an end to this, we need to begin speaking value back into lonely, self-conscious girls who have feel as though no one cares at them at a young age. Boys need to start acting like men; rather than texting a girl asking for nude photos, as if that’s all the girl is good for, they need to be sending them messages of encouragement and love. Rather than attending strip clubs for a night out with the guys, they need to spend some time delving into the Bible to understand how to be a faithful boyfriend or husband. Rather than contributing to the very industry that destroys the self-worth of so many females by objectifying their bodies, they need to view them as a child of God.
It doesn’t stop with the men, however. Everyone, males and females alike, needs to stop demonizing the sex industry. Instead of viewing it as a filthy business that hypersexualizes out-of-control women, as so many religious people tend to do, we need to humanize those involved. They are people and most importantly, children of God.
If you are interested in donating any money or time to BeLoved ministries, visit their website here to find out how you can actively seek to make a difference in someone’s life.