Both Men and Women Can Be Sexual Predators

Men accused of sexual taint continue to be beheaded by the media, falling like aristocrats trundled to the guillotine. The latest in the tumbrel full of miscreants to go under the blade is Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC’s Today show for sexual misconduct. Apparently, Lauer’s tribe numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

Or more.

But just as it seems every man is a predator and every woman has been wrongfully fondled, there is a small cloud on the horizon that augers a storm. The cloud may portend a new revolution.

Revolutions often begin with questions about truth and reality. What is the truth behind the accusations? Are men automatically guilty if accused? Should we consider whether women can be as predatory as men? Are all the accusing women innocent victims? Are none of them looking for power or money?

Maybe there is a little room for realistic cynicism.

As Angelo Codevilla recently pointed out, “Men, but mostly women, have been trading erotic services for access to power since time began.” As he observed sexual power plays during his eight years on the Senate staff, “Access to power, or status, or the appearance thereof was on one side, sex on the other. Innocence was the one quality entirely absent on all sides.”

Codevilla’s point is that all sexual transgression, including bargaining and power mongering, is held to be entirely the fault of men. But not all can be blamed on what radical feminists see as an inherently detestable and predatory patriarchy.

Women can be just as predatory as men, sexually and otherwise. Though assigned invisibility by most contemporary feminists who have a vested interest in the myth of women as always and forever victims of men, Phyllis Chesler and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, both cool-headed analysts, have shown that women can be as cruel and heartlessly manipulative toward men and other women as men can be toward women and other men.

Yes, we must recognize it has been and still sometimes is the lamentable truth that women unfairly have been considered the chief sexual polluters of men and society in general. Some medieval (and even contemporary) theologians’ discourses on the temptations the fair sex present to men more than suggest women are more sexually predatory than, as well as inferior to, men.

Such ideas about women began much earlier than the Middle Ages. Tertullian (160-220 AD) addressed women, saying, "Do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? You are the devil's gateway… you are the first deserter of the divine law… on account of your desert -- that is, death -- even the Son of God had to die."

St. Jerome believed “woman is the root of all evil; Eve in paradise was a virgin… virginity is natural and marriage (and sex) comes after the Fall.” (Parentheses mine.)

The theological reasoning goes something like the following: Eve was not able to resist temptation and so was responsible for Adam’s and mankind’s Fall. All women after Eve bore the consequences of her sin, and all had her predatory sexuality and accompanying weaknesses and sins, one of which was that of a seductress who tempted men into the sins of lust.

Alas, not all such reasoning about the inferior and inherently subordinate status of women is in the dim past. Some contemporary theologians such as Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem, whose ideas are influential in evangelical and reformed circles, insist women will be eternally subordinate to men, as their status of subordination is characteristic of the eternally submissive relationship of Jesus to the Father within the Trinity. For Grudem and Ware, equality of redeemed men and women is not possible even when men and women are resurrected to eternal life. Both men appear to have succumbed to contemporary sexual/gender identity politics as a necessary characteristic of the Godhead. At least Aquinas averred women’s resurrected bodies were as redeemed as men’s. Their unorthodox view concerning the position of women in Heaven vaguely resembles the idea that in Paradise, there are seventy eternally submissive virgins available to men who attain blessedness.

To the credit of some feminists, secular and religious, many have strongly objected to the distorted image of women as inferior to men and as the chief locus of sin, sexual or otherwise.

Thank God.

However, as the current frenzy over the sexual abuse of women begins its descent into sexual McCarthyism, too many contemporary feminists are erring by now assigning the vice of lust almost entirely to the lustful hairy beasts of the male sex, and to the always suspect, but ill defined “patriarchy.” To put it another way, the sins of lust and aggression now have too often been attributed almost solely to men. The predations of women like the pedophile Mary Kay Letourneau, who was convicted of the rape of her twelve-year-old student, are somehow regarded as anomalies.

For some feminists, the idea is that all will be well if and when the patriarchy is destroyed and if and when the sexually rapacious white male is deprived of power.

In sum, as is the case with extremists who believe the evil of racism is part of the genetic makeup of whites, particularly white males; feminist extremists believe men, particularly white men, are automatically predisposed to sexual predation and seldom, if ever, contain their lust. It is assumed that women are never -- well very rarely -- predators and are to be automatically assumed victims because men have power, the original sin of the patriarchy. Therefore, mere accusation is legitimately enough to condemn any male. Emotional distress is enough to bypass evidence and the rule of law.

Blaming one sex as more intrinsically disordered than the other ignores the fact that each sex is as inclined to evil as the other. As Chesler and others have pointed out, there is more than some truth to the accusation that women are just better at hiding their transgressions than men and that they often direct their worst toward members of their own sex. Ask any woman whose marriage has been destroyed by the pretty young thing at the office just who was preying on whom.

Sin is remarkably evenhanded phenomenon.

The capacity for evil lies in the hearts of men and women. Men are not guilty just because they are men. Women are not guilty just because they are women. Some men are guilty of predation. Some women are guilty of predation. Both can be guilty of using sexual shortcuts in order to achieve power.

If there’s to be an overhaul of the dead end of the sexual revolution we are now witnessing after decades of descent into sexual degradation, it has to start with the idea that though men and women are equally corrupt -- each in their own ways toward each other and the members of their own sex -- both are redeemable.

The true sexual revolution has never been attained. What we are witnessing now is the dead end of the purely negative sexual revolution begun in the 60s, during which time equality of the sexes was increasingly measured by the calculus of equal degradation, with “Everyman” and “Everywoman” being urged to continue the inexorable slide into the lust-filled second circle of Hell.

Christianity has always held out the hope of redemption for both sexes -- equally, both here and in eternity. It offers the hope of both sexes’ redemption and the restoration of equality between the sexes. It urges both to be imitators of Christ.

Sadly, even within the Christian Church, doctrine and cultural practices mitigate against the Edenic and Heavenly ideal. The Church has never taken the ideal of men and women as created equally in the image of God and as equally coheirs of the Kingdom of God with enough seriousness to model those ideals here on planet earth; instead the Church has most often taken its cues from the world.

But all is not lost.

We can hope the spiritual revolution necessary for approaching ideal relationships between men and women and with their God at least will look nearer to Eden than it presently does; and that it might even approach the Heavenly ideal of men and women standing together as redeemed equals who are united to God.

Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton theological Seminary, which awarded her its prize for excellence in systematic theology. She is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her thoughts have appeared in many online magazines. She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com

Men accused of sexual taint continue to be beheaded by the media, falling like aristocrats trundled to the guillotine. The latest in the tumbrel full of miscreants to go under the blade is Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC’s Today show for sexual misconduct. Apparently, Lauer’s tribe numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

Or more.

But just as it seems every man is a predator and every woman has been wrongfully fondled, there is a small cloud on the horizon that augers a storm. The cloud may portend a new revolution.

Revolutions often begin with questions about truth and reality. What is the truth behind the accusations? Are men automatically guilty if accused? Should we consider whether women can be as predatory as men? Are all the accusing women innocent victims? Are none of them looking for power or money?

Maybe there is a little room for realistic cynicism.

As Angelo Codevilla recently pointed out, “Men, but mostly women, have been trading erotic services for access to power since time began.” As he observed sexual power plays during his eight years on the Senate staff, “Access to power, or status, or the appearance thereof was on one side, sex on the other. Innocence was the one quality entirely absent on all sides.”

Codevilla’s point is that all sexual transgression, including bargaining and power mongering, is held to be entirely the fault of men. But not all can be blamed on what radical feminists see as an inherently detestable and predatory patriarchy.

Women can be just as predatory as men, sexually and otherwise. Though assigned invisibility by most contemporary feminists who have a vested interest in the myth of women as always and forever victims of men, Phyllis Chesler and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, both cool-headed analysts, have shown that women can be as cruel and heartlessly manipulative toward men and other women as men can be toward women and other men.

Yes, we must recognize it has been and still sometimes is the lamentable truth that women unfairly have been considered the chief sexual polluters of men and society in general. Some medieval (and even contemporary) theologians’ discourses on the temptations the fair sex present to men more than suggest women are more sexually predatory than, as well as inferior to, men.

Such ideas about women began much earlier than the Middle Ages. Tertullian (160-220 AD) addressed women, saying, "Do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? You are the devil's gateway… you are the first deserter of the divine law… on account of your desert -- that is, death -- even the Son of God had to die."

St. Jerome believed “woman is the root of all evil; Eve in paradise was a virgin… virginity is natural and marriage (and sex) comes after the Fall.” (Parentheses mine.)

The theological reasoning goes something like the following: Eve was not able to resist temptation and so was responsible for Adam’s and mankind’s Fall. All women after Eve bore the consequences of her sin, and all had her predatory sexuality and accompanying weaknesses and sins, one of which was that of a seductress who tempted men into the sins of lust.

Alas, not all such reasoning about the inferior and inherently subordinate status of women is in the dim past. Some contemporary theologians such as Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem, whose ideas are influential in evangelical and reformed circles, insist women will be eternally subordinate to men, as their status of subordination is characteristic of the eternally submissive relationship of Jesus to the Father within the Trinity. For Grudem and Ware, equality of redeemed men and women is not possible even when men and women are resurrected to eternal life. Both men appear to have succumbed to contemporary sexual/gender identity politics as a necessary characteristic of the Godhead. At least Aquinas averred women’s resurrected bodies were as redeemed as men’s. Their unorthodox view concerning the position of women in Heaven vaguely resembles the idea that in Paradise, there are seventy eternally submissive virgins available to men who attain blessedness.

To the credit of some feminists, secular and religious, many have strongly objected to the distorted image of women as inferior to men and as the chief locus of sin, sexual or otherwise.

Thank God.

However, as the current frenzy over the sexual abuse of women begins its descent into sexual McCarthyism, too many contemporary feminists are erring by now assigning the vice of lust almost entirely to the lustful hairy beasts of the male sex, and to the always suspect, but ill defined “patriarchy.” To put it another way, the sins of lust and aggression now have too often been attributed almost solely to men. The predations of women like the pedophile Mary Kay Letourneau, who was convicted of the rape of her twelve-year-old student, are somehow regarded as anomalies.

For some feminists, the idea is that all will be well if and when the patriarchy is destroyed and if and when the sexually rapacious white male is deprived of power.

In sum, as is the case with extremists who believe the evil of racism is part of the genetic makeup of whites, particularly white males; feminist extremists believe men, particularly white men, are automatically predisposed to sexual predation and seldom, if ever, contain their lust. It is assumed that women are never -- well very rarely -- predators and are to be automatically assumed victims because men have power, the original sin of the patriarchy. Therefore, mere accusation is legitimately enough to condemn any male. Emotional distress is enough to bypass evidence and the rule of law.

Blaming one sex as more intrinsically disordered than the other ignores the fact that each sex is as inclined to evil as the other. As Chesler and others have pointed out, there is more than some truth to the accusation that women are just better at hiding their transgressions than men and that they often direct their worst toward members of their own sex. Ask any woman whose marriage has been destroyed by the pretty young thing at the office just who was preying on whom.

Sin is remarkably evenhanded phenomenon.

The capacity for evil lies in the hearts of men and women. Men are not guilty just because they are men. Women are not guilty just because they are women. Some men are guilty of predation. Some women are guilty of predation. Both can be guilty of using sexual shortcuts in order to achieve power.

If there’s to be an overhaul of the dead end of the sexual revolution we are now witnessing after decades of descent into sexual degradation, it has to start with the idea that though men and women are equally corrupt -- each in their own ways toward each other and the members of their own sex -- both are redeemable.

The true sexual revolution has never been attained. What we are witnessing now is the dead end of the purely negative sexual revolution begun in the 60s, during which time equality of the sexes was increasingly measured by the calculus of equal degradation, with “Everyman” and “Everywoman” being urged to continue the inexorable slide into the lust-filled second circle of Hell.

Christianity has always held out the hope of redemption for both sexes -- equally, both here and in eternity. It offers the hope of both sexes’ redemption and the restoration of equality between the sexes. It urges both to be imitators of Christ.

Sadly, even within the Christian Church, doctrine and cultural practices mitigate against the Edenic and Heavenly ideal. The Church has never taken the ideal of men and women as created equally in the image of God and as equally coheirs of the Kingdom of God with enough seriousness to model those ideals here on planet earth; instead the Church has most often taken its cues from the world.

But all is not lost.

We can hope the spiritual revolution necessary for approaching ideal relationships between men and women and with their God at least will look nearer to Eden than it presently does; and that it might even approach the Heavenly ideal of men and women standing together as redeemed equals who are united to God.

Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton theological Seminary, which awarded her its prize for excellence in systematic theology. She is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her thoughts have appeared in many online magazines. She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com

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