As I begin to read Letter to Women By Pope John Paul II, I stop before paragraph 6 and marvel at the sexual dangers of women's lives around the world. I wonder, do we really have it good in America? I mean compared to women in other parts of the world, we do have a lot more freedoms like voting and job success, education opportunities and the like. But as far as American women are concerned, with all that we have been given, are we still slaves?
Prior generations of women have worked really hard for us to have what we do. We need to be thankful to their sacrifices. Yet I ask: are American women happy? Are we happy as a result of all these freedoms? Are we living our dignity? Are we more loving? Are we living true womanhood? Or are we slaves to societies expectations of women? More specifically, are we slaves to consumerism and exploitation? The exploitation Pope John Paul II seems to be referring to is the actual physical exploiting of the female for sale and profit. But isn't that the same thing that our capitalistic society is doing to all women?
The exploitation of females sexuality can begin or end in the home. What we literally "buy into" will direct our selves and our homes. The clothing we wear, the TV shows we watch, the jokes we laugh at, and the way we communicate with ourselves and others, especially our children has the effect of leading females either into increasing sensuality or rightful dignity.
I have personally encountered every single one of the examples in my own life. From immodest behavior and dressing, to speaking ill to myself, to telling my daughter she "cannot," and watching movies that reek with impurity! It has all been part of my life. As I began to seek God more however, the realization of what I have been doing became clearer and clearer. I had to change if I desired God to lead my life and give my children an upbringing in true dignity. To begin this it meant modesty of body, eyes, ears, and mouth. It meant a fashion change. It meant a mind change. It meant learning what makes a women truly beautiful and changing my life to better model true beauty and dignity. I invite you to delve ever more deeper into this discovery and recovery of modesty and freedom from consumerism.
I will end with a true story I was told by a kind shop owner. We were talking about husbands and
wives and got on the topic of what is beauty. She said that one day a man came into her shop looking
for his wife. He wanted to buy her something and she was going to meet him there so she could show him what she liked. The shop owner asked what his wife looked like. The man proceeded to tell her about the bright eyes, and beautiful smile, how she walked so gracefully, and her hair and cheeks. The shop owner was amazed because this man's wife sounded gorgeous. She told him she had not seen anyone with that description in her store that day, but she will keep her eye out. He thanked her and said he would come back later. As the day went on, the shop owner looked for this beautifully described woman. But to no avail. Instead, she saw a very simple, plain woman come in and look around for a bit. The woman came over to the shop owner and asked if her husband had been there looking for her. The shop owner realized with heartfelt emotions that the husband had been describing the woman's real beauty that came from within and was shown to him in her devotion and dedication to their family, hard work, and kindness. (Here it is good to read Proverbs 31)
Are you free to be a true woman? You and I will be free when our beauty shines from within and not
be described according to society.