I have always labeled myself a “feminist.” I believe wholeheartedly in supporting, empowering, and creating space for equality. Incredibly strong women raised me, and I intend to carry on that tradition. It is a privilege to advocate for women around me. I recently returned to an oil change location in a busy part of town. I chose this location solely because I had an amazing experience working with a woman there. She’s in a career that’s categorized as a “man’s job.” This woman had an impact on me, so I wanted to support and encourage her.
Glamorization of Stripping
As a millennial during the pandemic, I became infatuated for a period of time with Tik Tok. During this, one of the most defeating things I came across on this platform was deemed “Strip Tok.” Women would post videos, allowing viewers to “get ready with them for the club” or show “how much money I made last night” while displaying thousands of dollars. They glamorized this lifestyle as being in control, having the money they needed, and selling it as feminist empowerment. They portrayed a false sense of security for young girls who may feel they have no other choice with their futures.
Unfortunately, I can understand the appeal to young minds. The false sense of empowerment and making a “choice” to use your body in any way you want is your “right.” We live in a culture and a time in history that sex has become more accessible than ever, especially with the internet. Relationships have become extremely transactional––I have something you need, and vice versa. We see our girls and women constantly trading sex for food, shelter, drugs, and to maintain normalcy in their lives.
Love and Validation
I spent the first 2.5 years of my time at RAHAB working with teenagers. In the beginning, while getting to know these girls, we asked them what they wanted to do with their lives. Far too many said they would just end up stripping. After spending time investing in these girls, learning their hearts, their fears, and their past trauma, we saw they were desperately searching for love and validation. They just didn’t know His name yet.
At RAHAB, we believe that healthy, Christ-like love is the intervention for the women we serve. We consistently show them the unconditional love and grace of Jesus, without needing to shout His name. We have seen God redeem these women time and time again. Their hearts soften to who He is. When given safe space to stock up “tools for their tool belt,” such as education, life skills, and freedom from fear, their mindset shifts to feeling empowered and truly desiring more for their lives.
Although I’ve deemed myself a feminist, I’d like to consider myself a “Jesus feminist.” Not someone who supports any and all choices women make, but desires to empower women the way that Jesus did. Women in scripture who glorified God were honored and celebrated. I want every woman I come in contact with to feel beautiful, loved, and seen for who they are. Not valued for what their bodies have to offer.
May we continue to support the women around us, no matter how different they are. And may we aid Jesus in the breaking of chains and shaking off the lies of the enemy.
By Katie Sponseller