Guarding My “Feminine Mystique”

This morning, I was out and about running errands when I suddenly realized it was Saint Patrick’s Day and I was not wearing green– *gasp*! Henceforth, I decided to pull into a mall I passed by on the way home. I was on a mission: find something cheap, cute, and green.

I hit up some of the usual suspects: Macy’s, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe. There were lots of cute and pretty dresses and skirts– at least, they seemed cute as they were hanging on the rack. Off the the fitting rooms I went.

“God, I love this! How is there not more fabric here?” B

“Beautiful print, but why is this not longer?”

“Why is this *so* see through?”

“If the wind started to blow… if I had to bend… *sigh of defeat*… this just won’t work.”

“I… Can’t… Breathe.” (translation:  “This is too tight.”)

These are a few phrases that I whispered under my breath in the fitting room. It’s days like these that leave me wondering how any of us women are able to protect our feminine mystique in this world.

The Lord whispers to my heart that I possess a feminine mystique that is inherent to the beauty He has created me with as a woman. My feminine mystique is the elusive entity that intertwines my soul with my body in a most delicate yet potent manner. Genuine femininity is neither about solely the body or solely the soul—it is about the body and the soul intertwined. Society seems to place an overemphasis on the body, however—leading us to be completely amiss about what genuine feminine beauty is.

Short shorts. Mini skirts. Low cut tops. Low rise jeans. Lace and sheer fabric that are nearly invisible. Throw us a bone, fashion industry!

It is as if you want to clothe us in immodesty, and nothing else. We need more options. Society seems to be telling us that to be cherished and to be loved, we must turn heads with our bodies.

“Be hot. Be sexy.”

“Strut your stuff, girl!”

“Turn his head! Turn their heads!”

Then we find ourselves asking: “How can I look attractive but just not push the envelope?” And I question myself: Why, o why, am I even asking this silly question?! I deserve to be called beautiful for all of the right reasons, not hot for compromising my sense of self respect.

“You are so pretty today” or “You are so beautiful”these are the comments that make me melt inside.

Ladies, we deserve better than boys who know how to lust. We deserve men who know how to love. We deserve men who see us as dignified beings with intertwined bodies and souls: with a feminine mystique that is meant to be honored, protected, and cherished.

On Deciding to Love

The culture I have grown up in has told me that love is a feeling. It just happens. You fall into it. Then you drop out of it. Love is a state of being. A noun.

But Jesus Christ, in His living and dying for me, teaches me that love is a decision. And more importantly, love is a verb. Love is something that you do.

According to Jesus, love is not something that you receive, fall into, or drop out of — all of which are out of your control. Love is something that you are always capable of freely doing.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #1766 defines love as a verb as well:

To love is to will the good of another.” All other affections have their source in this first movement of the human heart toward the good. Only the good can be loved. Passions “are evil if love is evil and good if it is good.

The Catholic Church has also taught me that love is Someone. It is Jesus Christ, He who lived and died for me! One of my favorite chapters in Scripture, 1 John 4:7-8, reads:

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

The culture that I live in has taught me to live for my own success: for my achievements and a prestigious career.

But my achievements and a prestigious career can only take me so far. How much recognition, wealth, and power will it take till I am finally satisfied, if those are the only things I live for?

The culture that I live in has taught me to make a significant other or a spouse, or even my parents or children, etc., the very center of my world and the core of my being.

But if I make those that I love the center of my world, how long will it be before I go crazy from realizing just how badly they can fail, because humans always fail– even the best of us? At times, I will fail those that I love quite miserably as well.

These very reasons are why my hope lies not in the culture of death before me but in the culture of LIFE. My hope lies in Jesus Christ, Love Himself! In Him and in His promise, I will never find disappointment, depression, or death, but only fulfillment, joy, and LIFE. Only He can fill my very center; only He can fill my core.

As a Catholic young adult in a world that increasingly shuns the Divine, I am excited and invigorated and ready! The Black Eyed Peas in their smash hit ask: “Where is the Love?” I want to shout it out to my generation: “Love is right here, in the Holy Eucharist! Jesus Christ is Love.”