Jane Austen is rolling over -- a discussion of womanhood and what it means to be a man

"The most incomprehensible thing in the world to a man is a woman who rejects his offer of marriage."
Jane Austen, Emma

I am sorry to say, but this entry applies to real life (thankfully a rare occurrence). It's bad enough when us ladies have to deal with the modern, untamed, unshowered, unruly, and sex-obsessed boys. The opposite extreme of unrealistically idealizing woman can actually be just as demeaning, especially since it occurs with men who should know better.

According to St. Louis Mary De Monfort, when a man treats Mary with indifference, he is rejected by Christ. Jesus respected Mary's word at Cana, because it is a woman's right to give her consent, even when it comes to God. God even asked Mary for her permission to send His Son into the world using her as a vessel, which implies her immense dignity; God gave Mary the right to say no, even though the consequences would have been extreme.

Yes, a woman is subject to her husband. But she is subject to her husband -- not all men. No man has the right to tell her what to do unless she allows him that privilege. It is man's role to protect the physically weaker sex; it by no means undermines her strength in other areas, such as virtue, purity, prudence, wisdom, intelligence etc. It is not through lack of purity or self-control that she needs protection, moreover; rather, it is because she is more vulnerable physically, and must often bear the shame of an action that she did not even consent to. St. Joseph, before learning the truth, sought to protect Mary's reputation. This shows that, regardless of a woman's virtue, it is man's role protect and respect women before judging them, regardless of their culpability or fault.

Moreover, it is customary (traditionally . . .) for a man to ask a lady's consent to dance, to go on a date, or to marry her, not from a social technicality, but because it is a woman's inherent right to approve or reject the man who she will be subject to for the rest of her life. A man has to earn a woman's trust if he wants the right to take care of her, and this need to earn her trust is what teaches him the meaning of true chivalry. However, if a man treats a woman disrespectfully, for instance, calling her a feminazi for speaking her mind, he has no concept of chivalry. Just as a man treating Mary with indifference loses Heaven, a man who treats a woman with indifference and disrespect loses her trust, and thereby he loses his his capacity to be a gentleman. It is a woman's right, and it always has been to reject a man if he doesn't suit her. Until a woman allows a man to be her lord and master, she is the one who has the authority. And even in marriage, she has authority, although it is a passive one -- non-critical, yet strong; and a marriage cannot survive so long as the man does not respect and appreciate the woman and all the beauties God has given her (which includes an intelligent mind and a strong will); not only because this lack of appreciation causes strife in the family, but because it causes the man to lose his manhood, for it is the wife's trust that makes it possible for him to be a man.

Even in literature, woman were idealized, not only as something that woman should aspire to, but as a reflection of the internal beauty of their nature.

A man who, in convoluting the idea of Christian femininity, treats a "common" woman with indifference, and judges her for having an opinion, and is idealistically waiting for one of the elves from Lothlorien to suddenly appear on his doorstep accompanied by angels and winged horses, is in for a very long wait. What he doesn't realize is that, the more virtuous the woman, the more she will reject someone who doesn't know how to respect women. The only kind of girls they will get are ones who are so painfully insecure that they are willing to put up with abuse rather than suffer rejection. Why else would a woman want to attach herself to a man who constantly puts her down for her intelligence?

Notice how, in the above picture, the knight kneels before the woman to receive his knighthood. The only other time we kneel is before God, or when we are being blessed by a priest. We don't kneel before God because He is subject to us; we kneel before God because we are asking Him to help us become who we are more perfectly. And this is why a man kneels before a woman when he proposes; because she has the power to make him become the man that God intended him to be.

Motherhood Challenged?

The recent events of the mother who was kicked off of the airplane makes me want to complain, and also write something on my blog, especially since I've run out of other things to talk about.:)

Just focusing on the practical standpoint, does anyone have the right to tell a women how and when she should feed or not feed her child? What could justify such a thing? The child was 22 months -- a little older than some, but by no means unheard of for a child still breastfeeding; 1-2 years is generally the norm. Moreover, I've seen many a child throw a hissy fit when they are covered when they are trying to nurse, and I've seen woman become much more exposed in the process of trying. The mother probably knew this, but probably didn't feel it necessary to tell the stewardess this because, frankly, it was none of the stewardess' business.

But the stewardess has at least a point. I'm not arguing that women should flaunt without any scruple or discretion (modesty should always rule, when practical). Moreover, some people can handle "exposure" better than others. Period. Even for other woman, too much information can be unpleasant. It is important, regardless of ones beliefs, to respect others, and behave accordingly. It's simply common courtesy.

However, even when a woman is discreet when she is breastfeeding, is an objection to it still justified? This leads to a more serious, and telling, question.

We live in an era where there are few people who enter into marriage not having seen the naked body of the opposite (and same) gender first hand, or at least in a graphic movie. You go to the beach where woman who look more provocative covered in flimsy and stringy material than they would if they were sunbathing in the buff. I have had guy friends tell me how disturbed they were when, going to the pool, they saw virtually everything because the woman's barely existing bathing suit was barely staying on. People make sex-tapes of themselves, and then watch the sex-tapes of others (regardless of their consent). Woman are told not only to accept the fact that men "need" porn, but we are encouraged to encourage them to pleasure themselves with it. I remember being 16, riding in an airplane, and traumatized by a woman next to me who was reading Cosmo, pausing on the most graphic pages so she could study them thoroughly (I doubt she would have been kicked off if she refused to stop reading it). Why, then, does a woman have to be "courteous" and cover herself up in front of people who regularly stare at breasts (and more!) for the sake of both arousal and entertainment?

If you think about it, of all the sexual organs of the body, the breast is the only one that is actually beautiful, or at least it is the least offensive. But it isn't the sight of a "sex" organ in public that offends. It is because our culture has sexualized the breast to the extreme, and therefore the sight of a child being fed from the breast is disturbing. Breastfeeding is a purely natural act; and it is the convoluted perception of sexuality that causes us to be disturbed when see a pure and innocent child gaining nourishment from something that, in society's mind, has become so perverted.

What not to do while driving.

I don't recommend this . . .

The Irony of Piety

It's funny when you actually decide to buckle down and attempt holiness. You say, "God, do whatever it takes to make me overcome this or that flaw, to do my duty, to go wherever I need to go in life. God, point me in the right direction, and I'll follow."

And then he puts you in a position where you have two choices: accept God's Will and be at peace, or reject it and be miserable. He's making it easy for you. He's showing you the right direction. He's actually quite clear about His intentions. It's the moment you've been waiting for. Why, then, does God have to drag you kicking and screaming?

Piety seems easy, but only so long as we are in control of our own piety. Thing is, true piety has nothing to do with us doing anything. It has to do with completely letting go, and following. We ask God for the grace to love Him, and to abandon our will to His, but we don't pay attention to the fact that we are often asking for the grace because want to be in control of our pius actions so that we can take credit for them.

That's why we often choose misery and anguish over simple acceptance of God's Will. We know that accepting God's Will will bring us peace, but we have such a tight hold on our desire to be in control that we will essentially throw a temper tantrum. We're like the little girl who won't eat her mashed potatoes, even though she is fully aware that by not doing so she will not get her jello. It doesn't even matter whether or not she likes mashed potatoes. But someone is telling her what to eat, and how to eat it, and that is the bone of contention.

Often we complain about God not being clear, not showing us exactly where we should be; then He does, and we say "Sorry, wrong answer God, try again. I want You to tell me where I should be, but I reject your current analysis of what I should do, and I want a new one."

We ask for piety, but we forget what we're asking for. He always answers when we ask; ironically, it's the fact that He answers that causes us to object.

Santa Therese di Lisieux, prega per noi.


As winter approaches, poets often like to take the time to reflect on the beauties and mysteries of the earth in winter as it sleeps beneath a blanket of snow. Not going into the lack of original thought that usually goes into such accolades, as a Virginian, I have a slightly different take on this lovely season.

Perhaps it was because I had actually taken the time to enjoy autum, unlike in previous years where I was either more concerned with work or with school (I still work, but I've recently learned to ignore that fact), but the bare trees took me by suprise. For all intents and purposes, it's winter.

By winter, I don't mean the winter that you see in movies like "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," with lovely blankets of snow that keep us home and force us to notice it and enjoy it.

I'm talking about a Virginian winter. Sometimes cold, sometimes hot, so no matter how well you plan you will inevitably find yourself dismantling or adding to your outfit throughout the day. And the trees! A nudist colony is an ugly sight in the human world, and it's an ugly sight in the natural world too. In our post-fallen state, all of the created world, not just man, should simply not be left naked. Animals have fur for a reason. People wear clothes. That is because nakedness is such mass quantities will always be unappealing, and that's all there is to it.

Snow is there to cover what cannot cover itself. Modesty makes beautiful what is ugly. And then it should melt just as the leaves come out, so we never have to be left with the ugly naked trees. Of course, that's when Virginia decides that it's a good time to dump a blizzard on us. Right when we're tired of the cold, i.e. in March when it's supposed to be getting warm, it snows. Pretty, right? But then it melts just enough; what doesn't melt looks dirty, and what does melt freezes, making driving something that only daredevils should do.

It's a good thing that Virginian winters have Christmas is all I've got to say. And the ACLU wants to take that away from us too. They should live in Virginia for a winter before saying whether or not we should be allowed to have something to look forward to in this dreary season.

I love Virginia. It's just that 24 winters in a row have taken their toll, and the time had come to vent.

The White Stag returns

When all is said and done, it's always important to remember that there is still some magic in the world.