By Kathryn Gibbs| Guest Blogger
Photo credit: Flickr
Recently, all sorts of media attention has been given to the physical features of Kim Kardashian as well as the latest Victoria’s Secret fashion show. In a world that seems to praise women for their bodies, it is often difficult as women to truly know that we are enough without looking like that – without having a flawless body, a certain bra size, a specific waist line or a unique physique. Although any woman has the power to try to turn one man’s head with the “right clothing” and “sexy demeanor,” it takes a certain woman to turn a man’s heart. It takes a certain woman to turn a man’s heart, which always starts with virtue. As a woman myself, I do not know about you but I would much rather be able to turn the heart of a man than his head. That sounds more attractive anyways, right?
We are programmed as ladies far differently than the men around us and it is no secret that men are visually oriented, meaning they can take in a lot through their eyes. This can be a beautiful thing (just imagine how much a man takes in when he sees his future bride walking down the aisle!) but it can also be a bad thing (just imagine how much a man takes in when he searches the internet, with the click of a button, given free-access to pretty much anything). As women, I think we know men can focus in on what they see, which is why you will find all sorts of females dressing to impress at most bars on a Friday night. However, I think women should also know they are created as so much more than an article of clothing and if we don’t know that, it is time we get started! As one woman, you have the influence to determine how the men around you will look at you – how they will perceive you; how they will understand your own standards; how they will know what you tolerate and what you do not let slide. Ladies, we have the power (not the malicious, evil laughter kind of “power”) but the God-given, inherent power of our dignity as females to hold ourselves to a higher standard than what we may be assuming is normal or fair for men to reach. As a woman, you have the power to say:
“I don’t need to capture the attention or affirmation of that guy I am interested in – I can be okay with myself regardless if he notices me tonight.”
“I can believe that my body is something sacred, something not to be degraded in but something to be loved in” (and I can uphold my own self-worth even if the other girls around me seem to discard their own).
“I can wear something different tonight than what I was going to wear because guys probably won’t be looking at me as much as they will be looking at my body.”
Rather than use our dress to diminish our dignity, we should be using our dress to reflect our dignity. Instead of using our bodies to our own advantage, wondering who will pay us attention or interest, we should use our bodies to their advantage, knowing that the good men out there want to see us as more than a collection of body parts stored in their minds. The good news is that, as a female, you have the power within you to inspire and shape the men around you. Whether you are hanging with your guy friends, out on a date, spending time with your boyfriend or just getting to know someone, you have the ability to tell the men around you – “this is who I know I am and these are the standards I hold myself to.”
I bet, as women, if we held ourselves to higher standards, men would follow suit and do the same (because, well, they would have to.) Besides, your worth is so much more than any filtered picture you can upload on Instagram or Facebook sporting a bikini or showing off your cleavage.
You are not to blame for every man’s impure thoughts and actions, however, you can certainty influence or prevent them for happening based on how you conduct yourself as a woman. I’m not suggesting turtlenecks are the way to go but if you gradually allow yourself to be cheapened, chances are that the man who is interested in you will start to see you as less of a person to love and more of an object to use. Regardless of whether you realize it or not, every day as a woman, you get to choose how you invite the men around you to step up. You choose how much of yourself you want to reveal and how you uphold your own dignity and you get to do that as a beloved daughter, made in the image and likeness of True Beauty who is God Himself. What a gift this is. Besides, I am sure the virtuous men out there will find it refreshing that a woman like you cares more about attracting someone through the goodness of her soul and the depth of her personality as opposed to the amount of skin she can show. Men have what it takes and we need to make sure we are doing our part in helping them love like Christ, while affirming their goodness and strength along the way. May we reflect on all these things in our hearts, with the Our Blessed Mother as our model, knowing that we have the great reward (and task) of imitating Her as authentic women!
P.S. You are enough.