Marx Sisters

SAHM vs. WOOTHM
Marx Sisters by Elizabeth at Startling the Day
The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

I have the typical, boring opinion on the question of “Should moms stay at home or work outside of the home?” Just like some women are called to a single vocation, some are called to the religious life, and some are called to married life, I believe we are called to contribute to our families in different ways.

Of course, I still believe we are biologically better-equipped for some duties within a marital household, namely those related to bearing and raising children, but men have a great importance in that area as well.

La dee dah, see? Boring and very politically correct.

So let’s talk about Marxist Feminist theory instead.

Bigger, more skirt, please.

I’ve watched six episodes of “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” in the last two weeks. These people fascinate me and before I write you a dissertation about them, I’ll to focus on their strict adherence to traditional family roles. Women marry quite young, some as young as sixteen, and enter a life similar to every “traveller” wife: one centered on taking care of the husband, cooking, child-rearing, and extensive cleaning.

Seriously, these women put sponge to every surface of their homes, everyday. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Their husbands earn the money, have a lot of fun at pubs, and, in their words, “own” their wives. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and anthropologically point out that we do not have a full understanding of their culture in order to call this regressive or stunted. It’s vital we also point out how extremely rare divorce is in their culture.

Marxist Feminist theory feels responsible for sticking up for women after centuries of what its troubadours believe to be wrongful oppression based on societal structure (rather than any relation to biology). This theory holds that a patriarchal, capitalist society demeans women because it enslaves them in the home to perform duties for free that men would otherwise have to hire employees to complete.

Old-timey headache

Marxist Feminists believe women are not properly compensated for the traditional roles they hold, so its supporters believe that as many inequalities between men and women should be flattened out as possible. In other words, it seems these theorists would be at least partially happy to see women receive salaries from their husbands, appropriate for the work they do in the home.

Call me crazy, but that sounds like capitalism more than Marxism.

Here, Marxists try to explain, in capitalist vocabulary, their belief that a lower value is placed on a woman’s day than a man’s and the translation is muddled.

The lasting issue with this theory is that it discourages women from entering a lifestyle Marxist Feminists define as the poorly-valued role, a stay at home mother. Marxist Feminist theory states that, no, it was the  patriarchal, capitalist society that shaped the role to be lower.

However, because the Marxist theory presents no alternative, they shame women away from being stay at home mothers, lest these women accept a shameful label of settling for a regressive lifestyle.

If a card-carrying Marxist Feminist could get their hands on one of these gypsy girls before walking down the aisle in her teens, he or she would try to convince the bride that her life can have more meaning in the eyes of the men of this world. If she could just NOT perform the slave duties thrust upon her as a wife and stay at home, cleaning, cooking mother, she could be much happier and more highly-valued.

Apart from the point that some of these women really do want to live their vocation in the traditional way, perhaps the young bride would have sense enough to point out the unspoken enslavement of the crazed person trying to shake her into the 21st century.

If you’re doing something to spite someone else or to be seen as more valuable in the eyes of a society, who’s the real slave?

Alpha Delta Upsilon Lambda Tau

Admonishing the Sinner
Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

I hate this one. I hate it because I’ve been admonished for things in the past.

At which point in our lives have we been admonished most often for our sin? Childhood.

And we’re all under the false impression that onset at age 14 or so that we’re past a “stage” of being admonished. Graduating to the next stage is like being inducted into a life fraternity:

“Welcome to the club, fellow adult. Now that you’re one of us, follow our lead, turn around and give those younger folks a piece of your mind. This is how it works.”

By virtue of having more birthdays or making a few responsible life choices, we feel we’ve crossed a divide and so unwarranted advice or admonishments fall on adultified, deaf ears.

Beyond the Huckleberry Finn, pseudo-adulthood syndrome from which we all suffer, we get defensive when someone admonishes us.

If my sister calls me out on gossiping, I am ready with a quick retort about how I’ve heard her gossiping, cussing, maliciously hiding small mousetraps in the cereal boxes, or putting salt in the sugar jar. Don’t you dare tell me I’m doing something wrong when I can easily find dozens of things YOU do wrong. So there.

Both of these mindsets, wolves in sheep’s clothing, sound pretty childish when written out. See? I’m admonishing myself right now. The truly Adult Club way of handling an admonishing situation is to take a deep breath, ask myself if the person point out my faults might be right, as annoying as that might be, and correcting my behavior.

Often the only people who feel comfortable admonishing us also Love us — which, as any Peter Pan can tell you, makes it all the more annoying and hard to hear. However, in Loving us, they also wish us to be better. That’s a valiant truth about relationships, adult or otherwise.

When it comes to admonishing those who don’t know that well or stepping out of our comfort zone to admonish others on more serious sins, we listen to the Holy Spirit. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if your actions are “Loving,” one way or another.

Would it be Loving of me to yell out across the road to the pro-choicers standing and holding their signs in front of an abortion clinic that they are advocating for murder of innocent babies? Would that do more harm than good? Should I engage in a dialogue with them, instead?

I venture to determine that, in most cases, the Holy Spirit, wouldn’t ask someone to use hurtful, loud words in this situation. It might depend on the personality of the “admonisher” on how exactly to handle a situation like this, but that the Holy Spirit would assuredly ask us to be Loving in our actions.

As an active member of Alpha Delta Upsilon Lambda Tau, I vow to try to remember the Holy Spirit is the real helper in these moments. God will give me the grace to handle them the way He wishes, both when receiving and dolling out the admonishments.

It’s my job to remain like a child.

Chastity Carnal-val

Review: The Virgin Diaries on TLC
“Chastity Carnal-val” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

The greatest on-screen defense of chastity I’ve seen was in episode 12, season 4 of House, MD. The episode featured a Hasidic Jewish bride who collapsed at her wedding. The Hasidic duo were unable to consummate the marriage due to medical tests and certainly had not touched prior to their wedding day.

At one point, the bride was in shorts and a tank top for a medical test and her new husband said he needed to respect her and look away while she was in such a state. He said he imagines his wife thought the first time he would see her “bare” would be in the bedroom, “celebrating their marriage.”

A doctor politely said, “Given the circumstances, I’m sure Roz would sacrifice her modesty to have you with her.” To which the new groom replied:

“Please, don’t do that…You think it’s sweet that I care for her modesty, but that it’s archaic and ultimately irrelevant. Our traditions aren’t just blind rituals. They mean something, they have purpose. I respect my wife. And I respect her body.

I’d much rather see more bows in respect for those values in secular television shows than the spectacle of “Virgin Diaries,” which looks like a carnival for unsexed folks.

Let’s be honest, because I’m a virgin who hopes more people might find fulfillment in chastity, I’m going to be defensive about a “reality show” on a cable network showcasing virgins.

Another showcase: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding show

I admit, as I’ve never been all of the way on the other side of the “aisle” on this topic, my opinion is tainted. However, if we can rely on statistics as a guide, the opinions of the producers, feature reporters and much of the laughing audience are also tainted.

To clarify: I’m not condemning those who don’t choose a chaste lifestyle. Believe me, I don’t always get it right, and it would be wrong to think I could ever know anyone else’s mindset or situation.

How easy it is to get fired up over this television show. Watching the commentary and talk show hosts banter on about it makes it obvious that this country, and probably the world, seems to think the people in this show are to be giggled at.

“If it’s half as good as the promo, I think they have a very big hit on their hands,” said Jimmy Kimmel.

Bingo. It’s a hit. The unbearably uncomfortable few seconds of first kiss footage were a producer’s dream!

Just like the iPad solved the chunky laptop problem for a moment and Blueray raises the standard for home movies, someone came along with an idea for a new television show to attract audiences.

Why do people like to watch the Jersey Shore? Because they are outliers to the rest of us who don’t know what that world is like. The concept of choosing (or not successfully pursuing) a premarital sex life is as bizarre to most Americans as the frosted-tip-orange-skin-rude-behavior lifestyle is to me.

We could be the virgin version of these fine people

Being a virgin after the first semester of college is a mythical lifestyle.

I have not seen an episode of the show all the way through, but I’ve watched the TLC-made promotional videos and the episode teasers. In one, we see the couple walking hand-in-hand, discussing the process of their wedding night, from wedding attire, step-by-step until they consummate their marriage, intermittently cut between scenes of them on a see-saw.

Please, TLC. I know you’ve hit network gold with this foreign concept, but handle it with a little professionalism and intelligence. See-saw?

If I put myself in the shoes of those who find the concept laughable, I can understand their grinning quips about how the newlyweds “can’t keep their hands off each other” after the exchange of vows. However, if I may put my cynicism hat on, this reaction shows that it is hard to believe this show can ever be a helpful tool for those who want to share about the benefits of chastity.

We virgins who choose to abstain before marriage aren’t simply “keeping our hands off each other” — it’s just too hard to do so blindly, especially in the twenty-first century. I know I’m trying to make a gift of myself in the most intimate way possible, to one man. Alice von Hildebrand calls it the “intimate sphere,” because the terms “sex” and “making Love” have lost impact.

When I think about how supremely personal the “intimate sphere” will be, I can’t imagine why these two virgins would volunteer a camera to document the final weeks and moments leading up to it, leaving the interpretation of an innocent jaunt on a see-saw to the editors.

I guess it’s still up to those in the trenches to spread the message, via grassroots.

What do John Mayer and the Catholic Church have in common?

Fr. John Corapi and the importance of Christian witnessing
“What do John Mayer and the Catholic Church have in common?” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

John Mayer is at least $600 richer because of me, not that he needs it. I’ve been to nine John Mayer concerts over the last ten years and I own every track he has ever written or on which he has played.

But I haven’t heard his voice in twelve months.

More than a year ago, John Mayer lived up to the reputation I always knew he deserved and acted like a jerk in an interview. He spoke inappropriately about his ex-girlfriends, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston, and burned himself into our memories forever as the musician with a dirty mind, bad taste, and loose lips.

You can see why I was so attracted to him.

I didn’t stop listening to him on purpose; remember my past: I have been a devoted fan for almost half of my life and I wouldn’t boycott his music because of his off-stage behavior.

However, every other time one of his songs would come on, I would skip to another song or change the radio station. I lost my taste for his music because I could not disassociate his music from his words.

The situation with Fr. Corapi is two-fold. He lost his revered reputation because of an accusation and the Church was once again stained by scandal, though they tried to distance themselves from it immediately.

The difference between my former music idol and this situation is a matter of innocence vs conjecture. However, both John Mayer and Fr. Corapi and the Catholic Church are stained with the same results. John Mayer definitely said the awful things that he said. We don’t know if Fr. Corapi did what he did, but in both cases, the connotations of the figures are corrupted.

Another difference: importance. John Mayer will still sell records and his image is unrelated to faith or salvation. The Catholic Church has seen 2000 years of scandal and unrest, yet it still survives.

According to a PEW study, roughly 10% of all Americans are “former Catholics,” perhaps the largest identifiable demographic of “faith.” This is scary.

I know several former Catholics who left in the face of scandal. They made decisions that are far more complicated than I can imagine, so I’m not condemning them. The truth is, however, they left Catholicism in a time of unrest.

We need to be like this, standing strong among the secular.

On a micro scale, I know many “former Catholics” who left for reasons that seemed to be unrelated to the scandals. When I speak with them and they mention “growing up Catholic,” they seem to brush it off as if they grew up in Alaska and now they live in Hawaii.

It was just a change of address. The teachings were just too ridiculous, like the weather was just too harsh, and a move was necessary.

I venture to guess that these individuals grew up in a home and decade where the teachings were THUS, The End. Take it or leave it, no explanation needed or provided.

We’ve confronted hundreds of these decades over the centuries and we’ve seen millions of faith-casualties fall in their wake, so this is a reasonable guess.

It’s time to stop making these snap decisions and to stop fostering an environment that allows uninformed people to exile themselves.

Micro

Yesterday, I attended one of my great aunt’s funerals, over which her priest brother presided. He is the most “conservative” priest I’ve ever encountered and I know his preachings turn off a lot of listeners. He asserted that he would not “put [his] sister in heaven today, because there is a reality of Purgatory that the Church has taught for 2000 years.”

The tension in the church was palpable. At the Wake the night before, my great aunt’s son spoke about his mother sending him a sign of a bluebird to let him know she was in heaven with his father. He asserted that she was in heaven and my great uncle the priest asserted that she probably was not.

Rather than explaining the teaching of Purgatory as the Church teaches (including the complicated concept of time and how it is a human relativism) the priest ticked off a lot of people on a sad day. These moments that priests have to approach their sheep on a micro level are critical for the Church’s image.

The macro situations involve scandal and accusations, like those of Fr. Corapi. We lose brothers and sisters in the Church to both because of a weakening of our community. We, the survivors, can’t give up.

If you occasionally miss Sunday Mass, if you go to daily Mass, if you occasionally go to Mass: let this be our call to help bring others back. We are a community, one billion strong, and if we let our brothers and sisters stand on sand, we run the risk of following them.

Ask questions, learn more about the faith from several Catholic sources, listen to those parts of the Mass you might glaze over, pray 5 more minutes today. Take some steps and think of it as a rescue mission for your friends and family.

You’ll be there when they have questions of their own. We’re in this together, so start the hike back to Christ’s Church.

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.” –Matthew 5:11

Be decent to each other

Catholic Modesty
“The Gucci Awakening” by Julie at The Corner with a View
Never Give Beauty Another Negative Thought” by Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
“Be decent to each other” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!


If this is your first post you’ve found on this blog, WELCOME! Please enjoy and consider subscribing to the RSS feed for more!

I have begun and erased about three versions of this post and I cannot narrow down why it is to hard to write.

1. Modesty of dress is not something I feel qualified to quantify with inches, measurements, and levels of cloth tightness.
2. Modesty depends on the venue and purpose of one’s outfit.
3. Men and women play roles in the perception of modesty. 

Men are more visually tempted; that is not anti-feminist and I’m not giving men an excuse. It’s a biologically significant difference between men and women.

Women’s Achilles Heel(s) is their romance-craving ears. Romance novels sell like wildfire, burning up women’s sensitivity to modesty. The seduction in those books appeal to the female attraction to “ideal” romance.


The simple fact about modesty is summed up in the Catechism:

2522. Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love.  It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled.  Modesty is decency.  It inspires ones choice of clothing.  It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity.  It is discreet.

Duggars and naked people

The Duggars are a non-contraception, non-natural-family-planning family who became the first modest dual-baseball-team-sized group to hit television.

The girls won’t wear pants (except when volunteer fire-fighting) and opt for loose skirts that fall below the knee and modest t-shirts. All of the women have long, simple hair and fresh faces without make up.

The men and boys won’t wear shorts because, as the Old Testament reads, “the thigh is nakedness.” They certainly don’t go to the pool without their elbow-to-knee swimsuits.

Mrs. Duggar explained that the girls wear swim dresses, like the ones pictured at right, because men “have a hard enough time keeping their minds in the right place.” Essentially, they want to keep everyone focused on what is most important: the inner beauty and appreciating your brothers and sisters in Christ for who they are and not how attractive they can be.

The Duggars are an extreme. They hold to extremely modest qualifications extremely tightly (unlike their clothing, har har har). Their actions stand at the exact opposite of nudists who, paradoxically, have similar reasons for what they do: achieving equality and returning to nature.

The Duggars aim to prevent one sex from influencing the other by way of their sexual desires, so they wear modest clothing. Nudists try to achieve equality by allowing everyone to strip down to their “least inhibited” state: their birthday suit. Though they are on opposite sides of the spectrum, these two camps use their dress (or non-dress) as a statement to point to their inner person.

Brass tacks

I won’t recommend going to the Duggar extreme and I certainly won’t recommend going to a nudist extreme…

This is a topic of contention among modern Catholics, but I do think that women have a responsibility to dress modestly for the sake of men. Men have the responsibility of acting modestly and not flirt with every woman they meet, seducing them the same way a revealing outfit visually seduces men.

Women: Before you get dressed (especially for somewhere like Mass), ask yourself why you’re choosing the outfit. If the answer leans toward wanting to attract someone with your body in a way that may harbor their ability to be attracted to your person, consider a costume change.

Modesty doesn’t have to be synonymous with avoiding looking good. Really attractive women can still be attractive, thus inciting lust in some people, when they dress modestly. Thus, it’s to your discretion where you draw the line.

Men: Before you engage your flirty-touchy routine with every woman you meet, consider how easily our ears are seduced. If you’re going to flirt, flirt with intention. With one of us.

If the goal is to make the greatest impact on our world, the way we fit into the message today is essential. Why cut corners?