Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Fool, Rushing In

Modern pop music and female fashion seems to reflect an entire generation without daddies. Women don't want to be lovely or beautiful so much anymore, but rather they want to look "hot." And songs suggest that male comments about body parts are compliments (rather than deserving of an open-handed slap in the face). Sadly, young ladies think objectification is the closest they can get to admiration since they had no fathers to truly love them. I think, if we can convince them to reject the counterfeit and accept nothing less than a husband who will truly love them, they can raise daughters who right understanding of how they should be loved.
Dr. Jacqueline Harvey

Reflection – OK, so I’m fully aware that I’m taking my life in my hands by broaching this subject. Modesty, I have come to learn, is more or less the third rail of Catholic blogging, as this very amusing post demonstrates. Anyhow ‘fools rush in where angels dare to tread’ is basically my motto in life, allowing for ‘foolishness’ being a good thing, which is a stretch, I realize. So here goes.

First, I have no intention of addressing specifics of ‘what to wear’. Those who know me personally would laugh me off the Internet if I did that. If I am an idiot-savant, clothes and fashion are on the idiot end of the scale. It’s a steamingly-hot muggy day here in Combermere, and I begrudge no one the swath their body in as little fabric as decency allows.

Really, what I want to talk about, and what this quote from one of my spiritual directees, which she 
posted on Facebook and which I reproduce here with her permission (Hi, Dr. Harvey!) deals with is this other aspect of the question.

Namely, the rampant eroticization of our culture and the deep spiritual void this bears winess to. I write about this in The I-Choice in the chapter on privacy and the exhibitionist quality of human life. There seems to be a hunger, a craving to be looked at, acknowledged, to grab the spotlight, to get people’s attention.

Sadly, for young women the quickest easiest way to do this is by nudity or semi-nudity. It is not the effect that they have on men that is my primary concern here (guys, sorry, but take responsibility for your own lust, OK?). It is what they do to themselves that saddens me.

To reduce your body to, in a certain sense, ‘bait’ to attract the admiring looks or attentions of men, to use the reality of human sexual wiring to get something you want from the world, some kind of affirmation or attention or… well, whatever—this is a terrible debasing of one’s own dignity.

And it bears witness, as Dr. Harvey says, to a deep lack. She identifies it as a lack of fathering, and statistics certainly bear out a terrible problem in this regard. It seems to me, though, that the father in the home is meant to be a bridge to the Father in heaven. We have, in other words, a strong, loving, tender, affirming Presence in all of our lives, who gazes upon us continually, not merely in our flesh but in our very personal being, our innermost self, and gazes upon us not with lust or selfish desire, but with infinite mercy, care, and even delight. ‘The Lord delights in his people’ we pray in the psalms.

It is recapturing this sense of the Father’s love that is the deep healing of our need for love. Even in good family situations where mom and dad did OK, there is a craving for love left unmet. We need to make contact with God, and live in that contact, that living communion.

And that’s Jesus, what he came for, what he is doing in his gift of the Spirit. And that is why the growing eroticization of fashion and behavior is so disturbing to me. Not because I have occasions of sin all about me as a result of it (that’s my problem, not yours), but because there is a deep poverty, a deep spiritual pain that is evidenced by all of this.

Of course this love and this mercy can only be communicated to our brothers and sisters if we love and are merciful towards them. We are the Body of Christ in the world, and the love of the Father must flow through us to all. And this is our great challenge today and always.

1 comment:

  1. I guess there are always a few crazy people out there.

    But linking women's fashion to their paternal roots is a bit of a leap, I think.

    Pretty women are criticized almost as much as the ugly ones. Part of the rebellion , I think is just about that. Why should it matter what we wear so much?

    I am sure Dr Harvey is right about a lot of things, but here she has it wrong


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