The other day, a friend sent me an article that contained a video on what I call the thingification, or objectification, of women.
At the end of the video, the long-time feminist activist, Jean Kilbourne, proposes that the answer to this cultural disease is ‘education and awareness.’
Image not Centerfold
Well taken, but the million dollar question is — education-in/awareness-of what?
David Bentley Hart to the rescue. In a 2005 article called The Anti-Theology of the Body, Hart argues that the unique conception of human dignity that arose in the West, rooted in the belief that human persons are created in the image of God and bear infinite value, “has a history.” That history, Hart contends, is the history of Judaism and Christianity, and any attempt to salvage such an exalted view of human dignity apart from its Judeo-Christian tradition’s theological foundations is fraught with peril.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ, God made flesh, has the power to rewrite our culturally diseased script, to replace the pornographic view of the human person with an iconographic one; to exalt (in this case) the woman from servant of the thing to daughter of the King.
If it is true, as Pope Benedict said in his inaugural homily, that ‘each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary,’ then it is true that any reduction of the irreducible richness of the person is an affront to the Word who authored the script.
“There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel,” Benedict continued. To be surprised by the beauty of the God-stamped, embodied soul is to be surprised by the beauty of Christ.
This is the core message my wife and I hope to bequeath to our sons and daughters: nothing more beautiful.
Dad to Dad
A final word. I’d like to say to any man who has a daughter, who is also a father and not just a progenitor: You should, upon even the most fleeting reflection, be utterly incapable of viewing pornography. How unspeakably vile to consume images that reduce other fathers’ daughters to objects bound in servitude to savage humanity’s basest, most putrid quest for pleasure?
No true father ever would, ever could.
Here’s Hart’s article, and here’s the video: