I have been somewhat disturbed and frustrated lately by the lack of respect for the dignity of women. There are constant messages from society that degrade women and minimize us to objects for use and pleasure. This goes beyond “men objectifying women” and has evolved into us as women objectifying ourselves. Sometimes I feel like if we truly understood our beauty, dignity and value as women there is no way we would settle for living in any way contrary to affirming that.
After hearing several teens mention it, I checked out a popular music video that has become a hit on YouTube. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything deep, or transcendent or spiritual just going off of the title alone, but I have to say I was unpleasantly surprised by just how bad the video was. After 5 seconds of watching it (because that’s all I could stand), I said out loud to myself “Really?!”
Is that what we as women have to do to get attention from men and feel like a woman?
As degrading as that video is, it irked me to see that it has more then 200 million views on Facebook…
I sometimes wonder what our world would be like if women lived authentically. Authentically, meaning true to what we were created for. At our core, we as women are created by God for beauty, virtue and love. And, at our core these are our the deepest desires.
It is scary, at times, what we will do to feel beautiful, desirable and loved. Because of our own wounds and brokenness, we often misdirect our desire towards things that are not satisfying or lasting. Trust me, I have been there. I have based my value and happiness on material things, attention from guys, approval from people in my life all to feel loved and what I was left with was feeling empty, tired and desiring something real and lasting.
Once I really started to understand what it means to be a woman, I felt a sense of identity and purpose that I hadn’t felt before. After starting to embrace my value as a woman, I didn’t have the desire to dress immodestly or objectify myself because I wanted to live out what I knew to be true in my heart, that I am a daughter of God.
The amazing thing is that when we seek to live out authentic femininity, we receive what out heart’s truly desire: peace, joy, purpose, love. The even more amazing thing is that each and every one of us as women was born during such a time as this for a specific purpose. We have the ability to change society through simply being a woman and living out what that truly means.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said: “When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble 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.”
We have the power to inspire nobility, virtue, goodness and love in others through our own witness. So yes, we can misuse our femininity to turn heads and get millions of likes on Facebook, but we can also allow our femininity to inspire what is good and true.
So… where do we start?? Well… the answer is simple, but not easy. We learn to find our identity as a daughter of God. Each and every woman is called to be a daughter, sister, wife and mother. But, the foundation of every relationship is daughter. Once we really start to grasp how much God loves and adores us as His daughters, we are able to have meaningful relationships with other people. It is that love of God that shines through us to others (if you need a little reminder of how much God loves you, read Psalm 139). Finding our identity as daughters of God is a process that takes our entire lives. But it is from that true and real relationship that our true beauty and dignity as women flows from.
So, if you want to change the world….or do something meaningful…or influence the lives of others, be the woman that you were created to be!
Be who you were created to be and YOU will set the world on fire -St. Catherine of Siena
Margaret works full-time for a parish as a Pastoral Associate of Theology of the Body and Evangelization. She graduated college with a degree in Social Work and Theology, and has been involved with youth and young adult ministry since she was a teen. She also loves cooking, running, reading, spending time with family and friends and dancing! Margaret speaks to various audiences and ages on Authentic Masculinity and Femininity, Theology of the Body, Finding Identity and Purpose and Chastity.