If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? (Num. 12:14)
It is an inarguable truth that in almost every culture, women are expendable and considered lesser than men, but this is more pronounced among people of color where gender hierarchy exists and is rigidly practiced even in families.
This practice is evident even among God’s people the Israelites, so much so that when the LORD chastised Moses’ sister, Miriam, He alluded to the practice.
Whereas women are considered less than men in these cultures, for some unexplained reason, nevertheless, the cultures link family and society honor to the women, but not necessarily in a good way.
For example, when warring cities, towns and countries clashed, the warring armies raped the women of their opponents as part of their conquest tactics…if the women are ‘dishonored’ by rape, then that community has been humiliated.
In these cultures, men bargain their way out of tight spots by offering their daughters and wives for the sexual pleasure of their enemies. Women are used as pawns in political and economic treaties.
Whereas her male counterpart has much latitude for indiscretion and misconduct, a woman’s conduct is strictly monitored because any act of indiscretion dishonors her family of origin or society. Yet, one would expect that if the honor of family and society rests on the shoulders of women, women would and should be highly respected and their word and place in such societies, highly revered. But that is not the case.
Every culture that ties its honor to women and women’s sexuality practices the opposite-they subjugate, dominate and make women second place to men.
One would wonder then, why such practices attach the word ‘honor’ to their trading and defiling of women…?
Husbands dominate, physically, emotionally and financially abuse their wives in order to establish and maintain their male and family honor…
Fathers shun their daughters in order to maintain their personal, family and society honor…
Women cannot exercise choice in whom they marry, where they live or what careers they pursue, what faith traditions to practice, what to wear or how to dress…neither do they have the right to reject decisions made for them by the males in their lives (Jud.11:30-31, 36-39)
Why is violence against women and oppression and subjugation of women deemed the right way to establish and maintain a family’s or society’s honor???
These practices effectively silence women and emphasize to women that they don’t matter and have no personal agency and they are just pawns, subject to the whims and decisions of men in the larger scheme of things.
We need families to re-examine their mental attribution of worth to the female child – to see her as they see the male child, rather than subjugate and deprive her of liberties in the name of honor.
We need societies to settle their own scores without using women as bargaining chips or pawns and if a human sacrifice must be offered, offer another man, not a woman!
But more than anything else, we need people of color families and societies to recognize and truly attribute equal value and worth to the woman of color’s voice because that’s where the problem lies – the denial and robbing of the woman of color of her voice!
The woman of color has no say in such families and societies and her voice wouldn’t be missed if she were no longer there. That is why she’s the one who’s sacrificed, defiled, traded and pawned away, etc..
Let’s truly attribute honor to the woman and girl child of color by making her voice count.