Huh? "God wears lipstick"? OK, Mr. Trying-To-Be-Cool. That was my first response to Chapter 1's title. However, by the time I finished reading, I got it. God DOES wear lipstick. Red, in fact. Or at least that's what Google Images says... and his lips are awfully girly... God's a woman, I knew it!
As I mentioned before, this is a Judeo-Christian book that talks about God quite a lot. I hope that that doesn't turn everyone off, because I would love to hear what all-o-yall have to say. Everyone play nice in comments! Let's discuss and listen - no trying to convert anyone or be silly - it's just a book. Except for you, Wrigley T - Lord knows you gotz some prayin' to do. KIDDING! Seriously, totally kidding - no hate mail. ;)
I am so excited to be talking about this book with you guys. I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time... and I read a lot of books. Maybe there's something to this nonfiction game... Anyway, an important key to the tone of this book lies in the Introduction - that THIS is often about THAT.
Certain events quite regularly stem from other events. My fight with a boyfriend might appear to be about a scorched omelette... when really it's about the fact that I feel he doesn't listen to me. Sex God posits that if we see sex as a perfect whole... then our spiritual and emotional connections to other people, God, and ourselves play an much bigger part than the act itself.
Chapter 1 Themes:
*Note: These posts will assume that you read the chapter - nobody wants to read a play-by-play synopsis, so study up, Lady! (or man... do men read blogs?)
Objectification seeks to strip others of their humanity.
The book uses a Nazi concentration camp as an extreme example of what happens when we de-humanize others. Bell says that the wrongs committed against the imprisoned were so much more significant than just the physically cruel conditions - the camps were specifically designed to strip prisoners of their innate humanness. In the book, a WW2 colonel talks about his experience liberating the camp. The most touching part comes when he says a shipment of bright red lipstick arrived at the camp and was distributed to all of the liberated camp prisoners. He said that lipstick did more to help those women's emotional devastation than anything else because the lipstick was a first step towards regaining their humanity.
When "She" becomes a "That."
Something serious happens when we objectify others. Humanity is about seeing people the way God sees them. I definitely see where I need to work on this in my own life. At heart, when I lash out at others or are rude or basically a big jerk, it's because I think the other's feelings don't matter. I am disrespecting the image of God in them.
Objectifying others damages ourselves just as seriously as it damages the objectified.
Bell tells the story of a womanizer who saw himself turn into a "monster." He became a master manipulator, identifying weak, troubled women that were easily influenced. He also talks about how the torture debate is quite silly because - how can you debate something that so clearly damages both the tortured and the torturer - dehumanization damages everyone. I am on board with this concept, too. Although it may seem that people that use and manipulate others are only hurting the victims... I completely see how this practice twists and turns the aggressor's inner workings, as well, disconnecting them from their own humanity and creating a shell of a person.
This chapter - to me - is great because it hones in on an extremely basic root... that most negative acts have a strong objectification element. I also see how the way a person comports their sexuality (in a "healthy" manner or in a manipulative sense, etc.) is often not about sex at all but about where they've come from and how they feel about themselves, God, and those around them. If I respect God... I am not going to be going out and treating others like trashcans. Lots to think about!
Weekly Practice: Instead of seeing labels like "disabled," "reject," "freak," or "invalid" - I am going to really focus on seeing only one label: "human" this week.
- First of all, do you have an opinion on the tone and direction of this book yet? Love it? Hate it? Don't care?
- Why do you think we choose to objectify others? Why is that a go-to?
- Do you think it's possible to objectify yourself?
- What does objectification mean to you? Do you have an alternate definition to Bell's?
- What does humanity really mean? No seriously?
- Any other themes/epiphanies/thoughts that struck you in your reading?
- And finally, girl needs a new lipstick - what's your fave brand?