This lent, one of the endeavors I have dedicated myself to is a challenge called skirting-up. It was a suggestion from the ladies who started the website femgenius.com/ and the basic idea of this is to physically show and remind the world, and yourself what it means to be a woman. In our culture today they question of who a woman is being threatened in fashion, in identity, in the defecation of the woman body. This is the moment when I think we should look to the almost saint John Paul II and his concept of “New Feminism”. Another wonderful, inspiring, and strong woman Church Leah Jacobson writes beautifully about this in this article, but one of the points that stuck with me the most was that as women we have a special and crucial role in the Church. Every woman has certain unalienable traits such as empathy, emotive capability, subjectivity, communication skills and intuition, and although men may also have some of these traits, God has emphasized these things in women for a purpose. Woman we have a purpose! We are all meant to be mothers, if that is spiritually or physically. It means we are called to serve people in a way that only a mother can. It is being emotional and compassionate and sympathetic all things that our success driven world says are weakness but as women we know at the core of our being that success is not what matters, but people and relationships are what matters.
This also means being aware of and using our bodies in a proper way. One of the greatest evangelization tools that we have is beauty. True beauty is undeniable, captivating and engaging. When we find something truly beautiful if it be a sunset or a rose, we instantly become caught up in the moment, realizing that there is something bigger then ourselves. I remember a couple years ago when the movie High School Musical came out and my family, as we often did, made a movie night of the event. During the movie, one of the moments that stuck with me to this day is something that both of my parents immediately recognized and pointed out. As we were watching the movie, when one of the side characters, Kelsey came on the screen my mom said “wow she is beautiful”. Now this was a character who was not emphasized as a main character or leading “beauty”. One could say this girl was not noticed by the world. She was not wearing the flirty dress or the tight sparkly clothes yet my mom immediately was captivated by her beauty. Not only my mom but my dad immediately agreed and from that moment on I too was captivated by this beauty. She was not beautiful because of what she showed off to the world, but was beautiful in dignity and regality.
This is not the only example today, one of my favorite examples of undeniable beauty is princess Kate. She was more talked about and admired beyond any T.V. star because she has undeniable class and beauty that is reflected in the fact that she dress herself with dignity as a princess. Guess what?! We too are princesses, and we seem to know this innately when we are young, but as we get older we tend to forget. Why? Don’t we want to be treated with that respect that dignity? Don’t we yearn to be recognized for our beauty? Well we can be! Dress with dignity, dress with purpose dress like a princess worthy of respect and wonder. It really works!
In my Lenten journey so far I have noticed a difference. If it’s that one extra person who opens the door for me, or if it’s the way I treat others because I am embracing my dignity and womanhood, dressing in a way that is modest yet “girly” helps establish our roles as women in the world. Therefore let’s leave the short-shorts for wearing under our dresses and skirts, and the same goes for leggings! Why not show the world what really matters; that we are proud of the great gift God gave us as women and start embracing this amazing beauty. The Catholic Church gives us such amazing role models of strong women who were not afraid of this gift and realized that their identity rested in the very fact that God made them women. St. Joan of Arc, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Cecilia all amazing strong women who knew that being a woman is a gift from God. So ladies let’s show the world beauty by dressing beautiful, by loving others like mothers and by embracing our femininity and upholding our bodies rather than scandalizing them.
Look at this signing nun and tell me that’s not captivating beauty!
Want more awesome stuff on being a woman read this letter to women from JPII! Do it! Its great!