I've been going to mass almost every day for the past 4 years (because I need Jesus pretty bad).
A couple of weeks ago, though, was the first time that at mass I heard an intentions like this, prayed by the priest during the Prayers of the Faithful:
"For the respect of women, the end of objectification and an end of rape culture."
I've probably attended well over 2,000 masses in my lifetime. And it took me to age 21 in a chapel filled with maybe 25 people, to hear a priest pray for the end of the objectification of women.
Let me get a little ranty.
The world is not fighting for women. They're just not. All of the media exploits our sexuality and though we're supposed to be thought of as equals to men, we're not. Largely, we're thought of as objects.
Once I was running without my headphones in because it was raining. I was wearing a tank top and shorts. It was hot. It was the middle of August. As far as workout gear goes, it was pretty tame. My shorts were pretty long and my tank wasn't one where you could see any parts of my sports bra. In the stretch of maybe 6 miles, I got honked at and hollered at multiple times. I guess I really never noticed before, because usually I have headphones in.
My friends and I were discussing the drinking culture, and both of the girls were like "I just don't drink a lot because, as a women, I know I can't. It's just not safe."
I was talking to a friend about a situation where it seemed like a guy just couldn't get the hint that I wasn't about him, despite me being pretty upfront about the fact that I wasn't interested in anything beyond being friends. She sighed, related the situation to hers, where at work, she gets nervous and panicky over a guy who just will not leave her alone, no matter how many times she tells him no, nicely or not. She says "It's so dumb, because either you take it and feel really uncomfortable and unsafe or you stand up for yourself and say no, leave me alone, and they call you a bitch."
For a lot of my life, I've lived afraid. Don't go to the bathroom alone, don't walk by yourself at night. Don't give guys 'the wrong idea' (what is the wrong idea??), don't drink too much, check your drink. A nervousness still creeps into my stomach when I'm alone with a man I don't know well.
I know a lot of the connotations of feminism these days tend toward the negative. But I think it bears repeating that I have never heard a priest pray for the end of the objectification of women until I was 21 years old. Frankly, the Church needs to do a better job of letting women know that they are protected and worthy of protection. Not protection like you are super weak and need someone to protect you from everything, but protection that says you have dignity, so much dignity, worth, beauty that is worthy of being fought for, against people with unsafe hands and minds and words.
I hope that my daughters hear it often or not at all. I hope they hear it often because it means that the men who are leading our Church are fighting for women. Or I hope they don't hear it at all because it isn't a problem anymore. But let's be real.
The world is voting between a woman who thinks ripping babies apart is a women's right and a man who speaks to women as something to grab by their genitals. The world lets college guys who rape off because of their "potential." The world is not for women.
Jesus, though. He's pretty on board with women. So His Church should be too. So, I hope, that at the end of the day, I hear more prayers for the end of the objectification of women.