When the Titanic sank about eighty percent of the men drowned because they gave up their place on lifeboats to women and children. They believed that women were special and should be treated that way. Why? What moved these men to act so heroically?
An old episode of “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” showed Gomer getting into trouble because he tipped his hat to a female officer instead of saluting her. When asked why he did this, he explained that this was a proper way to show respect to a woman. The officer punished him by making him do busy work in her office, but she was still surprised at his behavior. He called her “Ma’am.” He stood until she was seated and tried to help her into her chair. Finally she understood that he was treating her special because she was a lady. Where did he get the idea that women deserve special respect?
There was a time when women were treated special. Men tipped their hats to ladies. Boys said “Yes Ma’am” to older women. Men rose when a woman entered the room and gave their seats if there was no room for her. Young men asked the girl’s father if they could court her and treated her with dignity. Even worldly men who used profanity with each other would stop if a lady approached. Boys opened doors and men brought flowers to women. Were these manners just traditions, or was something deeper responsible?
The world did not create the idea that females deserve special treatment. Evolution, which says we are just animals, can never lift women to such a high place of honor. Islam degrades women by making them objects of man’s lust. The Equal Rights movements of the 1900s may have given more privileges to women but in the process took away the favor that had been shown to them for generations. Equal rights for women has turned out to be equal treatment of women, not special treatment.
Only the Bible can teach boys and men the right view of themselves and the right attitude toward women. The book of Ruth is a great example of how a man should regard a woman. Boaz admired and protected her good name (Ruth 3:10-14). He honored her poor mother-in-law with food (Ruth 2:18-20). He warned the men who were working in his fields not to disrespect her (Ruth 2:9). His entire demeanor toward Ruth is respectful. The New Testament also teaches respect for women. Paul told Timothy to treat “the elder woman as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity” (I Tim. 5:2). Peter said husbands are to give “honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel” (I Pet. 3:7). Husbands are to nourish and cherish their wives and be willing to die for them (Eph. 5:25-29).
There is of course another side of this situation. Sometimes young women complain, “I just want him to treat me special.” The problem may be his attitude, but these days she may be guilty as well. A woman must respect herself to be respected. If she tries to be as tough as a man she will receive equal treatment, not the special treatment she really wants. If she degrades herself by using obscene words, drinking, fighting, and having sex outside of marriage, she will never have the special attention she craves.
Ladies, God made you the way you are. Don’t be ashamed. Feel special. Not all men will respect you, but the right ones will.