The culture’s cheapening and commodifying of sex has swept over us like waves of multiple tsunamis which have erased so many of the previous moral landmarks leaving us on terra incognito. Thus the outrage at the sexual shenanigans of men like Weinstein and Lauer and Cosby caught me by surprise. I was caught unawares that there could be a serious backlash against men behaving badly when men and women behaving badly has been the big push of Hollywood and the internet and culture in general. When women are objectified and made to play the role of pleasuring men who are not interested in their persons but only in their bodies, and when sexual libertinism is undermined by male sexual license (where women are objectified and oppressed) there will be a visceral reaction in spite of the philosophy (sexual libertinism) embraced so wholeheartedly.
Over against the perceived amorality of sexual libertinism that has helped to mask male sexual license is the feminist movement dedicated to the full personhood and dignity and equality of women. Our culture glorifies two opposing trends – women as objects and women as subjects. The #MeToo movement is the inevitable flashpoint of two opposing trends equally promoted. It is object becoming subject and acting instead of being acted upon. The #MeToo movement is what happens when the rock of sexual libertinism meets the hard place of a woman’s dignity.
The unrestricted freedom of sexual libertinism becomes constraint and force when it expresses itself as male sexual license. When there is freedom, both male and female are subjects, but when freedom is removed and force takes its place, the female as subject becomes the female as object. Thus the #MeToo movement. But here’s the dilemma from my perspective, as long as women promote sexual libertinism, they will play an active role in fueling male sexual license. Fallen nature, unconstrained by the Holy Spirit and natural law, has no brakes. As casual sex is glorified and celebrated, male sexual license will make an object out of the one who desires to be subject.
Male sexual license was certainly on the prowl when the nation was informed by the Judeo-Christian ethic, when there was a “Thus saith the Lord” lurking somewhere in the background acting somewhat as a constraint. In contrast, the #MeToo movement is a “Thus saith woman” and it doesn’t carry the same authority and therefore will do nothing to curb male sexual license – men will only become more cunning. The ethic of sexual libertinism, the very ethic championed by so many women, serves to make women ongoingly and increasingly vulnerable to objectification and therefore oppression and exploitation. One may think that the principles of sexual libertinism and the principles upholding the dignity of women are philosophically compatible, yet the practice of sexual libertinism works against the principles of the Feminist Movement. The principles of sexual libertinism undermine the dignity of both women and men.
Am I saying that women are the reason men behave badly? Yes, I am to a point. But I think that for the most part women are unwitting co-conspirators in a philosophy of life that doesn’t take into account the fallenness of human nature. To me, the Achille’s heel of Communism was not only bad theology, but bad anthropology – it didn’t take into account the fallenness of man. Their utopia turned into a gulag. The #MeToo movement is a testament to the bad anthropology of sexual libertinism. The utopia of sexual libertinism serves only to enlarge the gulag of oppression and exploitation.
Wow, Tim! This is so deep. First of all, thank you for this article. I had to do some research just to understand some of the concepts in the article. It’s also so packed in, I had to read and re-read very slowly to understand each sentence. Good description and commentary on the philosophy that I wasn’t aware of until now (Sexual Libertinism). It’s amazing today how many articles describe this “sexual libertinism” as things just “now” being studied by scientists and we don’t understand it yet. Yes we do. This is nothing new. Sexual sin has been going on since the fall of mankind. The real problem is knowing what the true nature of mankind is. As Christians, we know that the true nature of mankind is evil, which is a curse inherited from Adam and Eve. These sexual issues have already been acted out all throughout history and God has already commented on it as well as given us a solution to it through his Holy Bible. We all just have to read it and follow it.
Jim Clark says
I agree, the fallen nature of man explains our depravity, and a development of a moral code that extends license to whatever behavior we desire, or feel unable to escape. This describes my pre-christian life, I get it. The culture will continue to suffer these issues as it move further from Jesus. They will also require more restraint from human government. As Patrick Henry said in his famous “A Call To Arms”, the culture is fashioning the chains of their own enslavement.