I was watching television recently and a commercial came on. In this advertisement there was a beautiful young woman, probably around 28, who was dressed in a summer dress that swung with her hips as she walked past other men and women on the street. The men, of course, turned to look at her as she passed by while their female partners kept walking towards their destination. This woman, smiling as she went, then had the words "Modern Muse" placed over her as a title of "role". At the end of the commercial the term used by the unseen speaker was "inspiring". I was left "hmmmmm'ing" to myself wondering what it was about this woman that was supposed to be noticeably inspiring. Was it the way the men were so inspired to notice her and possibly pursue her if the movement of their partner didn't remind them that they had been heading somewhere and with someone that apparantly mattered to them? Was it the way that she had chosen her clothing and perfume that was supposed to inspire the public to purchase? Was her beauty, like that of Helen of Troy, supposed to inspire speechlessness? I wasn't sure and after many days of reflecting upon this inspiring woman I am still not sure.
What I am sure about is that this ad does not sell truth to individuals who value truth; truth of dignity and inspiration, especially of women. I have no finger to point. The ad is doing what it was meant to do and that is to make a woman want to do whatever she needs to do to look like that, walk like that, dress like that, and smell like that so that she, too, can gain that type of reaction from men. It is a billion dollar industry within our culture. I only have a "call out" to my sisters in Christ to seek out the fullness of their created dignity and to present it as inspiration to all who come into relationship with them. Young girls need to "see" and "hear" the women in their lives who will let them know in their individual ways what it truly means to be Spirit inspired and live inspirational lives as co-stewards of the earth and all that God has created to dwell upon it.
Beauty has been distorted in my life time. My mother was beautiful with her downy head of white hair and her short stature and Jergens infused soft, nursing hands. Her deep chocolate French eyes mesmerized me the day before her death. She loved God and she loved her Catholic faith filled with Sacrament and holy writings. She promoted prayer and reflection especially during Advent. She brought comfort to all those she ministered to in her nursing career. She was poor and yet had a sureness about her, most of the time, that spoke of knowing that many material things just did not matter in good Christian woman's life.
I never knew my grandmothers but I knew my husband's grandmother and mother. They, too,were inspirational in their love for family, food, and acceptance of hard work. They laughed and loved cards and good jokes. They talked of hard times and perseverance. They could demand silence from the children and yet be ver attentive at times of tears all the while teaching them ways to survive and survive well.
I have also known Sisters of St. Benedict who helped me to learn through my early education. I think of their inspiration fondly for the living of their monastic lifestyle kept me "wondering" about the choice of ways of living and loving God. There was sternness and love; generosity of time and talent and willingness to explore the theology of God.
So many inspiring women....women of other religious families, women who own businesses, women who haven't been able to have children who have sought ways to bring some a mother's love, women who lead, and women who write. Few of these women, though, have clarified their spiritual life's journey and given it to our culture and the world as gift. It is time. It is like a pregnancy that has become overdue. Each day that goes by without its birth is a day of longing that affects all of us women and leaves us to the mass produced, commercially created inspiration of the muse.
Rise up women of God and let the world know who you are. Walk, talk, and breathe God's direction. Enter into discernment and grow in your understanding of His creation of you and the will He has for your life today. Go forth and serve the Lord and inspire all who see you today. AMEN