In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations (and the ongoing presidency of Donald Trump), women everywhere are posting their own stories of dismissal, discrimination, harassment, and assault. Yesterday we came across one from a source one would not immediately expect: a female pastor. And yet, even within a supposed “sanctuary,” women are often not safe or equal.
We asked if we could republish this pastor’s post, and she graciously allowed us to do so. Here, then, is the “Me Too” post of Rev. Lauren Jones Mayfield.
I’ve started a “me too” post several times now. Do I tell of the casual statements like, “You’re too pretty to be a pastor,” or the more direct ones like, “I hope you don’t cover that up with a clergy robe today.”
Do I tell about the repeated car honks during my daily jogs? Or how I can’t event sit on the porch at a local coffee shop to read a book without multiple men stopping to ask why I’m not smiling as they intrude?
Do I tell about the day my hospital chaplaincy co-worker said no one could focus on the pastoral care I was giving when I wore those “special white pants?” (They were conservative business wear.)
Do I tell about how absolutely over-the-top furious it makes me that my 11-year-old daughter has been taught that her school dress code bans leggings because “they distract the boys?” Or how she isn’t allowed to wear normal shorts to church camp for similar reasons?
Do I tell how I’ve been cat-called by at least one congregant at every church I’ve served? Not to mention underpaid repeatedly.
Do I risk sounding bitchy because I’m annoyed how chivalry and chauvinism have been confused with politeness—I can open the door by myself.
I have deleted my post many times because these examples are so, so, so very mild. No one has touched me (in these instances). And no one has been hurt (physically).
But as I continue to see the “me too” posts from dear women whom I adore and those who I don’t even know, and as I read of deep woundedness from all participants in our misogynistic culture (LGBTQ friends and victimized men and children included!), and as I know of so many stories that are not safe or appropriate to tell on social media, I post now with lament.
Yet I also post with a deep, reverberating hope that says we will not go back. We will persist. We resist this part of our society that claims women are up for grabs.
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]We resist this part of our society that claims women are up for grabs.[/tweet_box]
Through the collective power of solidarity and vulnerability, a force that is greater even than patriarchy, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia combined will continue calling us into a more whole space of love and justice and woke-ness. And so I also post with communal strength. You go girls!!!
For all of these realities: me too.
(Comments? Thoughts? Add yours in the comment section at the bottom of the page.)