Vol. 5, No. 5
~ Page 15 ~
One dictionary's entry on the word, degrade, includes these definitions: "To lower, especially in rank or degree; to debase morally." To apply the word this way is to speak to either the character or the perceived value of a person. To affix the word to the recent reality TV show, The Bachelor, is a debate at hand.
Viewers were treated to outtakes of a single man's search for a wife, in a world constructed to be anything but real. In the lap of luxury, the man dated twenty-some women and gradually narrowed the choices down to one whom he thought might be worthy to be his bride. Americans tuned in regularly to see who was ousted and who was picked. Ratings apparently did well as the tournament proceeded.
May the word degrading be used to describe the series? Did its premise degrade the value of women in a supposedly advanced society? What can one assume of ladies who would place themselves in such a situation? Were they each deeply in love with the bachelor? Or, were they tantalized by the exhibitionism of the thing? Had they no better options for relationships? Need they parade themselves as ancient maidens groveling for the favor of a self-aggrandizing emperor?
Where, in all of this, is modern society's push for respect for women? For years, women's groups have sought better status for their gender. Females wanted rights equal that of males. Great progress characterized the twentieth century. Then, the twenty-first starts with this. Where are the organizations to cry foul? This spectacle surely would draw protests in such an enlightened society. Had not American leaders just recently justified their ousting of a fundamentalist government partly on the basis of their inequitable treatment of their wives and daughters?
Whatever the conclusion in the individual's mind, the experience effects the observation of useful lessons. A woman's value in the sight of her Creator is equal to that of man. Roles and responsibilities may differ (1 Timothy 2:8-12; Titus 2:1-10; Ephesians 5:22-33), but in Christ, "there is neither male nor female" (Galatians 3:28). Also, Christianity has done immeasurable good in advancing the cause of women. Christ broke cultural mores to speak publicly with even a known immoral Samaritan (John 4). His apostles charged that tender care -- not despotism -- should characterize a husband's treatment of his wife (Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:7). Further, the principle of treating one as one would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12) overrides any inclination a man may have of mistreating his wife. It forbids the abuses that, ironically and tragically, even those claiming Christianity have sometimes inflicted upon femininity. Christ's message, practiced properly, escalates the treatment of women to the equal status their Creator intended.
All of that leaves one asking the question, "If an individual knew the Savior's love, would that one still subject oneself to the humility of hanging on the whim of a mere fellow human?" May a high regard for fellow humans multiply through the country and the world, and be reflected in the media.