Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Where do you think you learn what makes a woman sexy?"

I saw this quote come across my Facebook feed, and I was interested. Coincidentally, it gave me the lead in to the post that I have been trying to write for a week or so now. Score for me.

The quote comes from an interview Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave on The Colbert Report, and they are discussing JGL's latest movie, Don Jon. You can view the clip here.

Don Jon is a movie about a man that can't relate to people on account of all the porn he is watching and the girl that he is chasing who incidentally can't relate to anyone because of romcoms. I don't really feel like getting into the thought that romcoms are as destructive as the pornography industry. Okay, maybe I do feel like it, but life, you know?

Last week, I posted a link to a fantastic article from Verily on the ol' Cathofeminism FB page (What? You STILL have not liked the page? Stop. Do it.) You can read it here. One of the aspects of this particular piece I liked, was that it does address that the movie sheds light on porn being problematic... by showing porn. Hmm.

Now. Back to JGL. I think he is implying here that men figure out what is sexy through porn. Now, if I am wrong, help me out. Is this true?

Where DO we learn what makes a woman sexy? It is an intriguing question in the year 2013, for sure. Children's toys imitate sexy. TV tells us what is sexy. Commercials tell us what is sexy. Is there anything out there that does not tell us what is sexy?

Thanks, NWF for the link!

If you did not watch the clip, Colbert responds with, "The Bible." I really enjoy the way he is able to diffuse and redirect questions, and this made me laugh, but I find that the original question is still haunting my thoughts.

Where DO we learn what makes a woman sexy? Rather, where SHOULD we learn what makes a woman sexy? There was a powerful piece posted over at NWF that is relevant to this discussion. Our kids learn from us, their parents. Their primary educators. They see everything we do and don't do. While I cannot answer this question entirely, this is what I hope for when it comes to my children:

I want them to know that their parents are in love. I want them to see how amazing and beautiful it is to meet, fall in love with someone that gets your obscure music references and sense of humor. I want them to see that love, marriage is a vocation. It is not always easy, but it is more than sex. It is more than an orgasm. It is more than attraction or lust or the heat of the moment. I don't want my sons to have to learn about attraction and love under the limits of "sexy" or pornography. I don't want my daughter to contort or contain all the amazing things about her into the limits of "sexy" or pornography. 

Where are our children learning about these things?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Catholicism, Vocation, Women and the Three T's.

While I do have a theology degree, I do not consider myself to be an expert in Catholicism. I love my faith. I live my faith. I study my faith and acknowledge that there are things I do not fully understand, but, fortunately, I have my entire life to grow in my understanding. This post will center on the dignity of women and the call to time, talent and treasure and how I see it relating to my vocation as a wife and mother. It might not be in that order, or coherent for that matter, but the two subjects are closely related for me, and I can’t seem to write on one without the other clouding my thoughts.

While the thought of women on the altar for any reason is controversial in some Catho-circles, I have pretty much grown up in the church seeing the many different ways women contribute to the body of the Church. I chose not to be an altar server, but I really did enjoy the fact that I was able to go to daily Mass when I was in Catholic school because I was able to cantor and lector. After a few years, I realized that I could not read sheet music and the older I became, the more important it was that I be able to do so if I wanted to cantor! I stepped down from that role, but participated in the Youth Masses in high school in various roles: greeter, lector, usher. In college, I thought more seriously about the call for time, talent, and treasure. As I had relatively no treasure, I became involved in the Catholic student center and signed up for various ministries, including catechist. I am happy to say that I spent a great deal of time in my twenties serving the Church in as many capacities as I possibly could.

Now that I am a mother, I feel my free time disappearing. The time, talent, and treasure I have to give is increasingly limited. It truly breaks my heart! I see calls for catechists, lectors, and volunteers. It is really difficult to answer these calls when you live hours away from family in a new state, with three children that are not yet school age. I am assured that the time and effort I spend teaching my children what it means to be Catholic is a more than adequate substitute at this time, but the yearning to be further involved has not been shaken. Will I ever find a balance that quiets that yearning? I am not sure. I still feel new to this! How does one’s vocation influence the time, talent, and treasure that is available? I would love to see this further explored in homilies. If anyone out there in the blogosphere has resources to share, please do!

In this same vein, my Church seeks to uphold the dignity of every human person, and part of this is that everyone, EVERYONE, has a way to contribute that is important. Most significantly, (for the purposes of this blog) the dignity of women. There is no place that I experience this more fully than in the Church’s teachings on sexuality. Come on now. The Catholic Church has documents focusing on the damage pornography doesto relationships (with an emphasis on the relevance to the dignity of women), the importance of true feminism, and the story of Christ himself draws attention to the importance of women. (Link and Link.) I have always felt embraced by the Church. I see the many ways that my contribution as a woman is of the utmost importance. I realize that extremists can twist and manipulate things to show how anti-women the Church is and how the submission of women in a patriarchal structure is God’s way. I do not see an accurate view of the Catholic Church in either of these visions.

 I have had encounters with difficult priests and laity. I have never seen those encounters as an accurate representation of the Catholic Church.  There were abuse scandals in the parish I grew up in. There were priests and sisters that were not positive role models for me just as there were laity that were not positive role models. There were times I encountered the miserable politics of parishes. There are times I felt discouraged, but there was clarity in these experiences that told me it was human imperfection, not faulty Catholicism that caused the problems. There is truly nothing more upsetting to me than to see individuals portraying the Church that I know and love as some sort of hate mongering, judgmental, pedophile ring. It is infuriating for many reasons, but mostly because the faults of us that make up the Catholic Church reflect so poorly on an institution that is so pure and good.

To try to wrap things up, here is the post in sum:

 I love Catholicism.
 I love the many ways that women especially can be called to contribute and be a part of the Church.
  I struggle with appropriate ways to be involved with the Church.
 I am deeply saddened by the way our fallen nature reflects on my faith.
I love Catholicism. Bunches.