I did not think I would have to write this non-review. I thought someone else was gonna. But the Catholic/Christian BlogoTwitteroFacebookoNewsosphere was silent. And nature abhors a vacuum. Basically the feedback I got on this movie—in general—was light-hearted, giggly positivity, and serious, laudatory reviews.
Although the plot (SPOILER ALERT!) is that "Mike" eventually gets out of stripping--um, is THAT why people are going to see this movie? Is THAT why this film was made? So audiences can learn a lesson about getting out of the stripping industry?
I read some time ago that Channing Tatum had been a male stripper in real life (I guess he couldn’t have been a “female stripper”—but NOTICE HOW WE HAVE TO MAKE THAT DISTINCTION: because male strippers are NEW and UNNATURAL.) I am not saying that female stripping is “natural” (and it’s certainly not “good”), only that the way men and women approach sex (and each other) is DIFFERENT. (Read on.)
New? Chippendales were established in 1979. Geez, why did it take so long? Because the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s ushered in the fallacy that men and women are EXACTLY THE SAME. Women can objectify men now, too! Wow—what progress!
The Sexual Revolution told women that they can now “have sex like a man.” Because, you see, the male paradigm is the only good paradigm! Feminists, in wanting to be just like men, “have what men have,” unwittingly labeled women’s ways as inferior, and set about obliterating the feminine. But it gets worse. Women imitated BAD MEN. (If we wanted to be men, at least we could have imitated good men.) We imitated men who were cads, tools, players—promiscuously using/abusing women. But we turned the tables and did it to men, doing extreme violence to everything feminine in us, shutting off all our feminine voices and instincts and wisdom.
Women are the fairer sex. Women are the most beautiful thing that God ever created (the “crown of Creation”). In the sexual act, men initiate the gift of love and life, and women receive it and return it in love. This is not inconsequential. The body is not inconsequential. This “fact of the act” carries over into the male/female difference socially, spiritually, psychologically. We now have plenty of science to corroborate this. It's not natural for men to exhibit themselves in a sexual way as the "prize" to be gained.
Men’s sexuality is external to their bodies. This means something. Men are all about externality, and learn to “be a man” through various external benchmarks in their lives and through mentoring by 1) a father or father-figure 2) buddies and 3) their beloved (woman). Men’s brains compartmentalize. Men use the two sides of their brains alternately, not at the same time. Men are visually wired to be sexually stimulated first by the physical.
Women—who are the Keepers of Life—and as John Paul II says are “specially entrusted with the new person [i.e.,babies],” naturally see the whole person, and not just body parts, and are interested in a holistic relationship, not just a physical experience.
It is said that men simply fantasize about beautiful bodies, while women fantasize about men they know.
|Caution: Harvey has no problem|
with sex before marriage.
Of course. It just doesn’t happen as easily as it does for men. Unless, of course, we train ourselves that way, make a habit of it. I’m always surprised by the surprise men express over the fact that more and more women are using porn (and, of course, becoming addicted to it). Perhaps men are surprised because 1) they know that women are naturally more sexually integrated—because we’re wired that way 2) they are counting on women to give them/lead them in good examples of chastity (NOT double standard stuff, but genuinely “civilizing” them). Highly recommended reading: the very end of Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” (about how men might seem to fight it, but they really do want women to “civilize” them—this is not saying that they’re brutes, but…well, just read it.)
I was recently with some extraordinary young adults—men and women--who are in Catholic evangelization ministry. Here’s what the men had to say about the women: “They change us, just by being around them.” WOW. And the way these men looked at these women was unlike anything I had ever seen. Purely. With longing. With admiration. Seeing the whole person. WOW.
THE VIRTUE OF CHASTITY MEANS INTEGRATION OF BODY AND SOUL
“Chastity” does not mean “celibacy.”
Celibacy=abstaining from sexual activity.
Chastity=the integration of body and soul. Chastity=integrity of body and soul. Chastity=purity of body and soul according to our state/vocation in life. So married couples practice chastity also.
Purity=seeing the image/glory of God in the human body and treating it accordingly.
There is such a thing also as “emotional chastity” which women in particular need. Women fantasize in order to get an emotional high, but we often create incredible worlds of drama and unrealistic expectations that dribble into and disrupt our actual lives. And sins can be committed interiorly, as well!
WOMEN’S FANTASY LIVES
“If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” –Jesus (Matthew 5:28). Of course His words apply to women lusting after men, as well. SAY WHAT??? You mean we can sin inside? Interiorly? Without actually carrying out an action? Oh yes. Jesus was verrrrry clear about that. Our inner world is REAL. God sees everything inside of us. Our thoughts are real behaviors, real interior actions. “The things that come out of the mouth proceed from the heart, and it is this that defiles a man.” –Jesus (Matthew 15:18). “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” –Jesus (Mark 7:21).
People say that “Jesus didn’t say much about sex.” Yeah, but what he said was REVOLUTIONARY: so revolutionary that we’ve chosen to just ignore it!
Trashy romance novels are called “women’s porn.” Why? Because, again, women emphasize/enjoy the narrative, the dialogue, the story, the emotional interplay that goes along with sex. It’s just as damaging and addictive for women as visual porn is for men. Perhaps erotica like “50 Shades of Grey” can help married women “loosen up” to enjoy sex more with their husbands, but what is happening in the very act of reading the book(s)? A friend of mine, a woman involved in S&m (lowercase “m”) for many years, firmly believes that the fascination with S&m today is because women are not living their feminine receptivity, but are behaving like men even in the sexual realm, and so the missing “receptivity” is coming out in this form.
THE SPOUSAL MEANING OF THE BODY
The Bible and the Theology of the Body tell us that we (the bodies that we ARE) are in a spousal relationship with the Lord.
“For your Maker has become your husband” (Isaiah 54:5).
"I will espouse you to me forever; I will espouse you in right and justice, in love and in mercy. I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord" (Hosea 2:19).
“The body is not for immorality, but FOR the Lord; and the Lord is FOR the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13).
“You have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
And our bodies ARE us, they are not something outside of ourselves that we can use as we please. What we do with our bodies we do with our souls, what we do with our souls we do with our bodies. It cannot be otherwise because we are one person, not a soul/body split. I do not HAVE a body (like a disembodied self that “has” a body-possession-thing), I AM a body. The human person=body and soul, together forever.
And this ain’t to scare anyone, it’s just a fact: BECAUSE we are ONE person, body and soul, a unity in duality, our body will share in glory or dishonor in eternity. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.” –Jesus (John 5:28-29)
As Christopher West (“Mr. TOB”) is fond of saying, there is, of course, an obvious horizontal dimension to “the spousal meaning of the body.” A man’s body makes no sense without a woman’s body and vice versa. Therefore, by design, we are made FOR another. We are called to make a “sincere gift of self” (Vatican II’s “Gaudium et Spes,” 24). Whether or not we are married, men and women must collaborate and harmonize our differences. “The future of civilization depends on what he will be for her and what she will be for him” (John Paul II).
THE FALSE “GIFT” OF “MAGIC MIKE”
The way men and women are FOR each other, the way they GIVE to each other is DIFFERENT. Men, like Jesus, lay down their lives for their bride, as Jesus did for His Church. The masculine becomes a victim for the feminine. “This is my Body, given up for you.” The gift is total, whole-hearted. The Eucharist is true nourishment for body and soul. The “gift” of “Magic Mike” is not a true gift. It is not a “sincere” gift of self. It requires no sacrifice. There is no nourishment given. It is anti-fruitful. It is withholding. It is not real. It is a tease. It doesn’t satisfy, but only torments and frustrates. It is empty calories. It is a chimera. It is toxic. It is poison.
BUT I’M MARRIED. I CAN HANDLE IT.
All the MORE reason you shouldn’t go see “Magic Mike”! You’re not only cheating on God, you’re cheating on your hubby! And, guess what. Nobody can “handle it.” Nobody is so jaded that they can tell their minds and bodies not to be effected by erotic images. It’s NOT mind over matter. We’re not wired that way. And it’s not a sign of “maturity” to go to films like “Magic Mike.” Maturity means responsibility. “Magic Mike” is nothing if not irresponsible. Unless you have a serious medical problem where your libido is incredibly depressed, your body WILL react to the images presented. Not cool. Your body-person belongs to God, and your hubby.
Because we do not understand that our interior lives matter so greatly, and that everything “proceeds” forth from our interior life, I’m afraid we do not cultivate our inner life, we are not careful to protect our inner life, our imaginations, our hearts. Our entitled, narcissistic society tells us to “go for it”! Go for EVERYTHING we “feel.” To deny any impulse would be to warp and repress ourselves. Even as a nun, who has so many helps to “the spiritual life,” I inadvertently had this kind attitude about a lot of things until I read this amazing blog post by a “recovering lesbian.” To sum up, she talks about the impulses she has to cruise lesbian bars when she’s traveling on business. She says, basically that she has decided that she will “SHUT DOWN EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY IF I HAVE TO, because I will not be part of causing Him pain who endured so much for me.”
Wow. Her post literally changed my life. Eventually, we should become more in control of ourselves, have more self-mastery than to have to revert to emergency “shut-downs.” But still: if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. FOR Him. For those we are vowed to. For ourselves.
What else is an “occasion of sin” if not going to a movie like “Magic Mike”? What are our bodies doing, ladies, as we sit there drinking in the gyrating, semi-clothed images of gorgeous, buff male bodies? Is it not a form of masturbation?
BUT I’M CELIBATE. I NEED TO EXPERIENCE THIS STUFF VICARIOUSLY.
If love between a man and a woman is the most natural and basic way to grow as a person, to grow spiritually, to get to heaven, then I need it in my life somehow!
Ah! We have caught Satan in one of his subtlest lies. Gotcha! If the above subtitle is true, than nuns and priests (and singles) even MORE than married couples should run to see “Magic Mike”! Of course, let’s also remember that “Magic Mike” is presenting the body/sex in a totally hedonistic, consumeristic way, so…what constructive lesson would ANYONE learn from it? But let’s just go with this little whisper from the Enemy for now.
We must remember that all human love is modeled on Divine Love (not the other way around). When Jesus showed up looking like us, He was not made in our image: we were made in His image. Yeah. Think about it! Mind-blowing, isn't it?
Us celibates? We go directly to the Source of ALL love. To Love Itself/Himself. Yes, we are “missing out” on the most glorious plan of God for those called to marriage (and John Paul II says that celibates need to really grasp the greatness of what they do NOT have), but—unless marriage is in our future--God alone is more than enough. Celibacy (temporary or permanent) is a great test of our faith, hope and love, and God will not leave us hanging us out to dry.
As one of my seminarian friends says: "My celibacy is for others. I get up in the morning for others." There is great joy in living for others.
|"Joyous celibacy with you [the pope], like Christ, for the Church"|
“We celibates should be loving more every day! We are not to let our hearts dry up! We are to love more and more!” –Blessed James Alberione (Founder of the Pauline Family) www.MediaApostle.com
As Christopher West says, we are so hungry for information about the body! REAL information. Theological, mystical information, God’s story about the human body! If human beings have the capacity for God (which we do), and our bodies can receive God’s Body (Eucharist), then we interface with God! We interface with the Infinite! We have the capacity for the Infinite! And now we have the food we want not only in the Eucharist, but in the boundless Theology of the Body! Eat up! John Paul II cracked the physical AND metaphysical code of love and life. He mapped the human/divine love genome. He found the Higgs Boson “God particle” of humanity. OK, enough with the pathetic scientific metaphors.
WHY ARE WOMEN SO DEPRESSED TODAY?
I think it’s because we are so out of touch with our feminine bodies, our feminine souls, and are doing violence to them and trying to imitate men to be happy. Or we’re trying to be men AND women at the same time. It’s exhausting and impossible. I bought into the “be a better man than the men” feminist rhetoric a long time ago and have spent years extricating myself from it and trying to hear my “irrational, illogical, weak, inferior, sentimental” feminine voices/instincts. And you know what? They are none of these things! Just different! And it has been SUCH a relief to hear them and follow their bidding!
And furthermore! Ladies—if you are really honest, really in touch with your deep-down femininity, you will see that you are so needy. And it’s OK to be needy! You need so much love and affirmation and attention because God made us that way. So you MUST go to HIM first and let HIM tell you how much HE loves you and how beautiful you are to HIM because God’s love is the best and HIS love never changes. THEN go to your earthling guy.
RECLAIMING TRUE FEMININITY
How do you get started reclaiming your true femininity? Listen to your body. Listen to yourself. Listen to God and the Mother of God. Trust your body, trust yourself, trust God and Our Lady. Hang out with other women who listen to their bodies, themselves. The feminists were so right to name their groundbreaking book “Our Bodies, Ourselves
.” They GOT that they are all one thing!
I know this will sound strange, but read John Paul II’s “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.” He’s drawing on millennia of theology, biblical studies and common sense. Helped me. And he is ardently defending THE RIGHT OF WOMEN TO BE WOMEN. Everywhere in society. AS women.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PORN AND ART
But isn’t the naked human body beautiful? Why can’t we look at it and appreciate it? You're right! The human body is sooooo beautiful that it should only be seen by one other person (in an erotic context) who is committed to you for life—to love you for life. To reveal one’s body is to “give” it. To look at it is to “receive” it. Or rather to give and receive the WHOLE PERSON. Why do young people commit suicide when their sexting goes viral? Because their very “selves” have been “given” to the whole world against their will!
Works of classical art, instead, “lead the viewer through the body to the whole personal mystery of man. In contact with such works, we do not feel pushed by their content toward ‘looking with lust,’…in some way we learn the spousal meaning of the body, which corresponds to…’purity of heart.’” –John Paul II
“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.” –G.K. Chesterton
BUT THERE ARE SOME GOOD MESSAGES IN “MAGIC MIKE”!
We’ve already established that it’s soft porn, it’s a form of “adultery” (even if you’re single, because you are in a spousal relationship with the Lord), but if that’s not convincing enough, this was a Twitter convo about "Magic Mike":
THE TRAGEDY OF “MAGIC MIKE”
When I first heard this movie was coming out, my heart sank. A new low for the mainstreaming of soft porn. Channing Tatum, besides being an incredibly talented actor (I was totally impressed when I saw him in “She’s the Man,” and just continue to be impressed with all his roles)--has a huge teen/young adult following. And of course, they’ll all be watching “Magic Mike.” “Magic Mike” further legitimizes and normalizes (male) stripping, exhibitionism, public nudity, hypersexuality, depersonalization, anonymity, separating sex and love, separating love and life, everyone belongs to everyone, the body as plaything.
PREPARING FOR THE OPPOSITE OF MARRIAGE
Sleeping around while I’m is young is not: “Getting it out of my system!” “You’re only young once!” “Just having a little fun!” It is training for the opposite of marriage. (Or as one young person said: “Sex before marriage is sleeping with someone else’s future spouse.”) If I want to be a soccer player, why would I go to basketball camp? Even right up to the wedding we have this custom of strippers at bachelor parties and now male strippers at bachelorette parties. Really?? So the wedding day will be a magic wand to suddenly make me faithful to just one person? It will erase my STDs, and the memory of all my other sexual partners, sexual escapades, etc., and I won’t even want them anymore? Marriage in this scenario sounds like the proverbial ball and chain. What a drag! No more fun! Instead of training for true love and true sex, our culture is busy preparing for the “opposite of marriage”: infidelity and divorce. We need to be in training for true love and true sex! “Nothing like the real thing, baby….” Totally worth not just "waiting" for, but "being in training" and "preparing" for.
Sex (of whatever kind) outside marriage is ADDICTIVE. Sex within marriage is BONDING.
--Why is a nun always talking about sex? 1) Because sex is the “signs of the times” and we had better darn well be talking about it. Our silence is destructive and damaging (especially for our young people) like a grave sin of omission. 2) There is nothing dirty/bad/naughty about sex-as-God-intended-it. 3) Blessed John Paul II the Great led the way with his “Love and Responsibility” and “Theology of the Body.” 4) Theology of the Body IS the New Evangelization AND the New Catechesis. It is method and content.
|"Sometimes we feel guilty because we are."|
--Why is a nun always* talking about sin? Because sin is real. And it’s bad. And it hurts us. And it’s mean. As “Sister” from Late Nite Catechism sez: “Sometimes we feel guilty because we are.” Guilt is good! It’s an indicator that something is wrong! And then we can do something about it! Yay, guilt! Just like we get aches and pain as symptoms that something is wrong in our bodies. But of course we need a healthy conscience, not a lax or scrupulous one. That’s why we need “formation of conscience.”
--Something that helps me look away immediately when porn pops up on my computer, or when I’m tempted to “use” others’ bodies in whatever way for my own selfish gratification is this: I REFUSE to do that to the dignity of another human being. Or my own.
--When I talk to teens about Theology of the Body, I play devil’s advocate and say: “As long as I WANT my body to be used, as long as we MUTUALLY AGREE to use each other’s bodies, it’s OK, right? Or, if a prostitute or porn star gets PAID and they’re OK with their bodies being used, it’s OK, right? As long as we AGREE, WANT, CONSENT, then everything’s OK, right?” They really, really struggle with trying to answer this because today’s mantra is: “As long as I CHOOSE it, anything goes.” They have no concept that some things are just wrong in themselves and it doesn’t matter how we FEEL about them, or what we CHOOSE in regard to them—they’ll always be wrong.
“If selling yourself is as much fun as this movie makes it look, what could be wrong with it? The answer is that once you’ve sold yourself, losing yourself may not be far behind.” –Owen Gleiberman, movie reviewer for “Entertainment Weekly”
--I tell the teens: “We give other people their dignity even when they don’t want it. Even when they WANT to be used for whatever reason: money, pleasure, or because they don’t know they have dignity.”
--Who are the “sexiest” men alive? Family men. They are hidden deep within families. They are men who love their wives and children fundamentally, freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully. They are the kind of men that women (who are truly in touch with their femininity) want. Why do you think women bemoan: “All the good ones are taken”?
There’s nothing more beautiful than when I look out the window on a Saturday morning and see a Dad with his little boys all in Cubs’ gear at the bus stop heading to a game. Kind of breathtaking. And what about those Dads who ACTUALLY SET FOOT IN THE AMERICAN GIRL DOLL STORE with their little princesses? Huh, huh?
--“The language of Christianity is the Body.” –@AndreasWidmer (former Swiss Guard who wrote the book “The Pope and the CEO”)
--Bodies R Us
*Actually, I hardly ever use the word “sin.” Go ahead. Search this blog. You’ll see. :]
Pls, pls, pls! Everyone read. About what porn does to women who use it. "What I wish I knew BEFORE I started using porn" (from Lauren Nicole Dubinsky @laurendubinsky--Hollywood insider)
MUST READ: "A Virgin Explains Sex" (not me: some 26-year-old chick in Tampa Bay [who have an excellent NHL hockey team, BTW]) http://www.tampabay.com/news/perspective/why-im-still-a-virgin-at-age-26/1236657