this is, firstly, an apology for my missing december post :/ and my pledge to post twice in january, to make up for it. time got away from me, as usual. but I’m sitting here sick in bed for the last couple days and finally had some ideas coming together for a post.

I was reading an interview of a famous french photographer/artist/fashion-person/art-museum-curator, etc. I won’t even bother to mention who it actually is because anything you would find online about him is not something I would want to share (not gems, that’s for sure). it gave me little confidence in the morality and quality of modern art exhibits when I saw that he’s a curator for the paris MOMA.

well, here’s the excerpt of the interview that I wanted to talk about. the 2 voices will be referred to as INT for interviewer and GUY for the guy he’s interviewing.

GUY: Every man should be a playboy, no? It’s the nature of man, right?

INT: I don’t know, my wife might have something to say about that.

GUY: Every man should celebrate and seduce women because women love to be celebrated and seduced.

wow. the attitudes of this guy, the things that shape the ‘truth’ and reality of his life, were sad to me, let alone the way he completely brushed off the interviewer’s rather timid and legitimate concern about the feelings of women, especially the women that men have commitments to. not to mention right and wrong.

women love to be celebrated for who they are – which are divine daughters of God with infinite inherent worth that has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that they are royalty, despite appearances, or even behaviors. we are what we are, something that the adversary tries so hard (and often succeeds) to make us forget.

elder ballard said it so well:

“It is, unfortunately, all too easy to illustrate the confusion and distortion of womanhood in contemporary society. Immodest, immoral, intemperate women jam the airwaves, monopolize magazines, and slink across the movie screens – all while being celebrated by the world.

Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction – easily the most pervasively dangerous message the adversary sends to women about themselves.”

many women today think they are empowering themselves by being immodest and immoral. human physicality and sexuality is an important part of our eternal identity, but it’s not the only thing worth pursuing, or that makes us valuable, or the only thing we can give to the world. it’s a sad vicious cycle that they’re trying to gain respect and worth by abusing themselves, by agreeing with lies, and expecting and encouraging those attitudes in and treatment from men.

in addition, I then find many latter-day saint women fighting that image  – of silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless – by focusing on disproving those things through a priority of worldly success. I have often struggled myself with giving up that tug-of-war with Satan and the world. they’re not going to listen to me. but I can testify through my actions and who I am. I can make my priorities celestial and focus on proving myself to me and my Heavenly Father, which is really the only opinion that matters.

BYU Women’s Resource Center has had an excellent ongoing campaign this year about Recapturing and Redefining Beauty, as well as supporting women with eating disorders, loved ones of those who struggle with pornography and sex addictions, reproductive health, and combating violence against women – which you may think is something of third world countries and ages past, but is a prevalent, pervasive problem of gender attitudes and behaviors right here and now. check them out:

it’s hard, because you can’t live in neutrality. if you don’t know about your true identity, it’s hard to just be neutral about your worth, because you either know the truth, or you believe the horrible lies that satan has spread throughout society about our worth. which makes it all the more important for people to know. I approve! of positive movements both inside and outside of religion that are trying to combat negative self-worth and self-image.

and you know, just knowing the truth isn’t enough – as I have learned. you have to be actively reaffirming to yourself your true worth, or you suddenly realize that you really believe some of those lies. I never thought I had problems with self-esteem until I realized how hard it was to even consider some of the truths as compared to the lies I believe(d).

the gem here is that we can know the truth and continually reaffirm it. prophets have revealed and the spirit will confirm the divine worth and purpose of each of us, men and women alike. we can ask God how he feels about us and then strive to live that and remember that every day. we can ask Him as often as we need to, and He will tell us again just how much we mean to Him. speak out where you can, men and women. share those truths. build others up. and if people won’t listen, share it through the way you live.

thoughtful and hopeful,