Msnowe's Blog

Pure Frustration

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 13, 2009

M.snowe was invited by a friend once to an event called “Theology on Tap, NYC.” She thinks you can glean what that event was all about: A bunch of Christians (mostly Catholic) getting together at a local bar to discuss how awesome  Jesus is. While it’s almost worthy of respect to see a youth ministry’s tactic of using booze to lure unsuspecting nonbelievers into bed with the Church, m.snowe of course opted out of such an event on principle. Well, her friend had linked to his ministry network in the invitation, and curiosity killed this cat … m.snowe had to take a peek.

On the outset, the ministry is straightforward catholic stuff, and nothing to write a blog post about in protest (at least, without criticizing the church as a whole, which is always worthy of a blog post). But m.snowe was more interested in the youth programs. The boy’s program was based on leadership activities, and is called ConQuest. Here’s the web site’s description:

“Conquest is a National network of leadership programs, clubs, and camps for boys and young men 5 – 16 years of age. Conquest trains boys to become self-disciplined and confident young men, Catholic leaders who possess moral integrity and are committed to improving the communities in which they live…while offering its participants challenging physical, intellectual and spiritual activities within an atmosphere of adventure.

Okay, fine. It’s all about leadership with fun physical activities involved. Also m.snowe knows for a fact that the people who run this are heavily recruiting major leaders in finance and business who are also catholic to fund and mentor these boys, and possibly help guide them through to the upper ecleons of business, etc. You know, kind of “keeping it in the family,” like the mob.

But what about the girls, you ask? Don’t they have a group or two? Why, yes, yes they do. It’s called Challenge. And here’s its description:

“Challenge is a club for girls to grow in virtue, friendship, and their Catholic faith. It’s a place for girls to learn about themselves by doing apostolic projects and creating a positive impact on family, friends, and the world.”

Okay, so first off, the boy’s group is a “networking opportunity” while the girl’s is a “club.” The girls get to “grow in virtue and friendship” while the boys get to become “confident.” While the boys are trained to be leaders, the girls are disciplined in how to calmly accept their subserviance and make everyone else happy.

What, you think m.snowe is being too harsh? Maybe. But you’ll agree once you visit this other group that they have for girls, called Pure Fashion. Its a group that instructs young Catholic GIRLS how to dress appropriately, and puts on fashion shows and “trains” them in all aspects of dress. From the overview on their website:

“Through an eight month Model Training Program that covers public speaking, manners and social graces, hair and make up artistry, personal presentation, and much more, Pure Fashion models learn the importance of living a life in accordance with God’s will and fostering a life of grace through purity of heart, mind, and body.”

“Social graces”? Is there still such a thing? The 1800’s called–they want their phrase back.

m.snowe finds this so laughable, she would like to highlight and comment on some of the best, most ridiculous (but also sad that some people are taking this to heart) “guidelines” for girl’s fashion:

“When buying clothes and dressing to express your personal dignity as a young lady: Remember that first impressions are important. People who never have the opportunity to speak to you can still see you. How do you want them to remember you?”

–A “Lady,” kind of like children, should be seen and not heard. Her clothes always tell you how smart she is. Sometimes, m.snowe wears a lab coat and glasses so people will assume she’s smarter than her regular Target dress would make her appear.

“Remember that individuals live in many different positions. People sit, stand, lean over, climb up stairs with others behind them, and sit at tables facing speakers, bosses, or teachers. How do your clothes or lack of clothes appear to someone seated alongside, above, and below you in all of your daily positions?”

–m.snowe knows that when she puts on clothes, she stands in a fun house room she constructed in her apartment made entirely of mirrors–so she is able to assess exactly how every angle of herself would appear to the observers from above, to the side, and from beneath (on the off chance a man with a hand mirror sneaks into the women’s restroom. I mean, you have to be prepared!).

“When going upstairs at work or school, a short skirt will show the upper thigh to those below you. This is not a body part for a dignified woman to openly expose in public.”

–There are no words. m.snowe wonders who in this world is possibly diginified. We’ve all shown some leg.

“Let the clothing be an advertisement of your dignity as a young lady. Be careful about dressing “grungy” even if it is modest. Typically, how you dress and how you behave will correspond. If dressed sloppily, one’s actions are more likely to be sloppy. If dressed like a young lady, you are more likely to behave like a young lady.”

–m.snowe dressed as a serial axe murderer one year for Halloween. It was bloody exhilarating!

All these freakish guidelines aside, the “pure” fact that women are asked to constantly think about how they are viewed by others, and not how they view themselves is really the black, bleeding heart of this issue.

In case you’re interested, here’s the link to Theology on Tap.   m.snowe is sorely disappointed she missed the session on “How Pornography Harms Relationships.”