Men and Women: Why can’t we just Get Along?

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 Disillusionment and alienation between the genders is everywhere, in and out of the office.

An article titled, “Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?” was just published in The Atlantic.  In it, writer Liza Mundy recounts multiple stories of intelligent, accomplished women who’ve risen steadily in the fast-paced world tech world of Silicon Valley, all the while having to slog through persistent inappropriate treatment by male coworkers.  One veteran software engineer in her 30’s recounts how…

 

“she’d made a point of ignoring slights and oafish comments. Awkward silences, too. Over the years, she’s experienced—many times—the sensation of walking up to a group of male colleagues and noticing that they fell quiet, as though they’d been talking about something they didn’t want her to hear. 

"Maybe, she says, it was being at tech conferences and hearing herself, now the ‘elder stateswoman,’ warning younger women to cover their drinks, because such conferences—known for alcohol, after-parties, and hot women at product booths—have been breeding grounds for unwanted sexual advances and assaults, and you never knew whether some jerk might put something in your cocktail. She couldn’t believe that women still had to worry about such things; that they still got asked to fetch coffee; that she still heard talk about how hiring women or people of color entailed 'lowering the bar'; that women still, often, felt silenced or attacked when expressing opinions online.”

 

The article is upsetting, and though it doesn’t claim to represent all of the hi-tech, hi-pressure world of Silicon Valley, it paints a bold portrait. 

Ongoing dysfunction.

I worked for years in the secular marketplace, and witnessed all sorts of similar incidents; sometimes I was the subject of the harassment, sometimes I was a bystander & watched it happen.  Now, though, I work largely in the Christian sector, and so perhaps I have a perspective on both universes — sacred and secular — that is unusual, because I’ve seen both sides. I can do the work and talk the talk in business and also in Christian ministry, and one thing I know for sure:  women are better treated in an environment where God is acknowledged.

The Atlantic goes on to say, 

“that the tech industry would prove so hostile to women is more than a little counterintuitive. Silicon Valley is populated with progressive, hyper-educated people who talk a lot about making the world better.”

I think that’s it exactly.  Our culture, in its eagerness to throw off the shackles of what it sees as “repressive Christianity,” has instead fallen in lock step with the progressive, academia-exalting world of elite America,

thinking it holds the secret to peace between the sexes. 

Judeo-Christian morality has been shelved as “archaic,” while gender fluidity and sexual freedom are championed.  Women as wives and child-bearers are primitive, but abortion is that contemporary sacrament of independence that can never be infringed upon.  Women shouldn’t work at home!  A woman’s worth should be found in the marketplace, because finding it anywhere else really doesn’t count.

But where has the progressive War of Women gotten us?  We now have more women than ever pursuing careers— in tech, in the arts, in medicine, in education — but the fracture between men and women hasn’t been mended. Yes, women can get the jobs, but once they’re IN them, all the same jokes are whispered and walls of resentment grow higher and higher.  Women still aren’t valued — yes, they can have great jobs and sleep with whoever they want (because of course they can ameliorate or abort whatever consequences arise) — but it’s not the same thing as being VALUED.  And, I believe this: value only really, truly comes from someone else KNOWING that you were made, and are loved, by God.

 I’m not saying the Christian workplace is perfect.  There are misunderstandings all the time, and even willful antagonism.  In some places there still exists a subordination of women by men with a twisted view of “maleness,” and women sometimes play at sexuality, when they should use their brain instead.  Still, though, in spite of all the rancor and all the difficulty, let me say this:  I’ve been treated better — I’ve been valued MORE as a person, as a worker, as a woman in the Christian culture, than in the secular one.  People are more fair, more encouraging, and more supportive— and why?  I’m not sure.  This could just be my story and nothing else.  But I don’t think so.  

Our larger American culture has thrown the baby out with the bath water. 

In our eagerness to free women — and believe me, I appreciate those who fought for women and our right to vote and work and mean something in society — we’ve tossed out the differences that makes us special.  In our eagerness to matter in culture, we’ve exchanged truth for a lie.  We can’t paper over our femininity; we can’t act like men so men will take us seriously.  We can’t eschew the gifts of singleness, or marriage, or motherhood, because those are parts of who we are.  And that uniqueness is what we bring to the workplace, and why women add so much to it.  And why men should want to have women in it.

But here’s the bottom line:  when no one believes there’s a God who made anything or anyone, when everyone you work with is nothing but a chance collision of amino acids, something happens.  We use each other.  We limit each other.  We cease to get it.  Because we as humans need a God.  He changes how we look at ourselves and our responsibilities, and He changes how we look at each other.  The person in the cube next to you, or in the pew next to you, or in the bed next to you is CREATED, specifically and personally, and they have VALUE— for no other reason than that.  

God help us — men and women — to treat each other well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy EmmonsComment