Okay, I'm actually going to stay committed to blogging this time. I hope. I've got lots on my mind, tons of thoughts to share. Today's topic: womanhood.
Over this weekend, my university hosted several performances of a show called, "The Vagina Monologues". My initial, gut reaction was shock over the vulgar bluntness and disappointment as the description reveals promotion of immoral acts such as masturbation, orgasms, and lesbianism. However, upon learning of a friend's involvement with the show, I decided to probe it deeper to try to gain a better understanding of the organization behind it.
Side note: I must admit to never seeing the show; before you get all over me and start on the "no judging until you try it", I pose the question: if you knew a show promoted acts that directly violate teachings from your religion, would you feel required to sit through the performance? Since I have chosen to not view the performance, I will not attempt to review it. My intent is more to reflect on authentic womanhood and chastity/purity and see if VM fits either category.
In visiting the official website, I realized I actually agree with the mission of V-Day as they primarily strive to end sexual violence against women - great! I am all for preventing these horrendous acts. My opposition to the VM lies in their methods and in the sexual behavior they seem to condone. The website repeatedly states that another intention is to foster dialogue about sexuality - well here's my take on it, as a devoted Catholic.
True female empowerment lies in recognizing our beauty and God-given dignity as His beloved daughters. While it is true that having a vagina is a key characteristic of being female, true womanhood goes far beyond that particular body part, it even goes beyond sexuality. Yes, there IS more to life than sex. I understand how tempting sex can be and how over-emphasized it is in our 21st century society.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it quite simply: "Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes" (CCC 2351).
Sex is beautiful. Sex is sacred. Yes, Catholics do see it as a positive! However, if used incorrectly, this inherent good can be made evil. God originally intended sex to imitate the love of the Holy Trinity - the outpouring of love between two to make three. Likewise, a husband and wife are called to give themselves entirely to one another to create a third (and a fourth and a fifth - however many God wills, which the couple finds out through prayer and discernment). Does sex involve pleasure? Yes! God did not want the husband and wife to dread their responsibility to continue the human race. Is every human being entitled to that sexual pleasure? No. And herein lies the complication. Apparently word got out about the pleasure and the desire for that pleasure grew to the point that the original sanctity of sex now lays mostly forgotten. It's now just so ordinary and common.
I'm a virgin - yes I said it. Anyone who knows me probably is not too surprised. Yet, I mean it more in general - that I've gone through four years of college without ever hooking up and to be honest, I have no real desire to have sex with anyone other than my husband. And no, not just because my religion tells me not to - I can still think for myself. I know of all the possible complications - pregnancy, STIs, and all the emotional effects. Why put myself through that? If the whole point of sex is to permanently bind a husband and wife together (through the hormone of oxytocin), why bind myself to a guy to whom I am not married?
Women - be strong, pure, and virtuous! In the words of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:
"To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women."