Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Bikini-Wearing Christian Spokeswoman?

Look, I'm sick of all the Miss California stuff too- and I even posted on it right away.

But Doug Wilson has been reflecting on the foolishness of a beauty pageant contestant, parading herself in a bikini as part of the contest, becoming a spokesperson for Christian values whom we're suddenly all supposed to look up to.

And in that process, Wilson has had a lot of good stuff to say about how we think about lust, body image, etc. The best of his posts so far is this one from today. Go read it. It's well worth your time.

Here is my favorite part:
After posting a picture of a woman in evangelical leadership in order to demonstrate some of the more obvious incongruities, many of the responses from the men showed that they were battling against lust (good), but appeared to have no awareness of where the templates of the current ideal were coming from (bad). A similar thing happens with Christian women. Christian women resent being held up to that as the ideal shape, but not for the right reason. They don't resent it because they think is a ludicrous ideal, they resent it (or feel insecure about it) because they don't believe they can measure up to it. They resent the failure, which is not the same thing as opposing the standard. Resenting the failure is actually a way of accepting the standard, in this case a standard crafted by homosexuals. But I don't think the ideal woman should be crafted by homosexual designers the same way that first graders play with Mr. Potato Head.

Christian men fail to oppose the standard also -- they hold that it is in fact the ideal shape but that they oughtn't ever look at it. And they might succeed in their battle against lust, never ever looking, while the entire time they freely allow the world to dictate to them the shape of the objectum prohibitum.

NB: Wilson has gotten some flack for illustrating these "incongruities" by posting a picture of evangelicalism's spokeswoman in a bikini. I think it made his point well, but some suggested that he was fueling lust. Anyway, that's what that first sentence in the quote is about.

7 comments:

Johnnie said...

Them damn homos.

mruther81 said...

Give the woman a break. She was not presenting herself as a Christian spokeswoman when she responded honestly to the question. Bashing her beauty pageant participation smacks of legalism. Let's applaud the integrity of the response in the face of cultural pressure and not wag fingers at the brazen hussy.

Andrew Faris said...

mruther,

She has certainly made herself into a spokesperson now. I've seen, heard, or heard of her in a lot of different places now talking about her faith in God and how that made her stand up for what she believes is right. So she apparently is fine being one now.

Thing is, it really reflects more on the Christian culture's desire to have a voice to follow all the time, no matter the reason that the voice is popular. It's the same as when people flock to the newest book or church fad and throw all their chips in on its behalf. And what are Carrie Prejean's credentials? Well, she said what she believed was right to a hostile audience. That's fine and all, but that's her only credential we know of. And it's not like it was the gospel. It was just a comment about how homosexuality is wrong, and one couched in a lot of "Well at least for me" kind of language.

Further, I'd question what you mean by legalism. We can applaud the integrity of the response, but we can also question the integrity of showing off your body in a tiny bikini on national television. That is what she was doing, wasn't it? And doesn't at least something seem a little goofy about that?

Again, I'd refer you back to Wilson's posts on the matter. He's been pretty thoughtful throughout.

Andrew

Johnnie said...

Wilson's right to critique a woman who chooses to parade herself around in a bikini--or anything else--and participate in a beauty pageant. There are all kinds of reasons to critique that, Christian and otherwise, but given the fact that she IS making herself--or letting herself be made--into a Christian spokesperson, focusing the critique on the issue of Christian values is dead-on. However, Andrew, I'd be careful about going overboard on Wilson's "thoughtfulness." His laying the blame on "homosexuals" for women's body-image issues is just about the most stupid thing I've ever come across--not to mention grossly prejudiced and offensive. It doesn't even warrant debate, but are really to believe straight men have played no part in the creation of this "ideal" body type? And--even more disappointing--are to believe that YOU buy his thesis?

Andrew Faris said...

Johnnie,

Fair point- Wilson definitely takes that aspect of his post too far, though I actually think there is an interesting point there about who is controlling aesthetics.

To be sure though, heterosexual males have all too much to do with the wrongly ideal body image, and Wilson gets at that too.

I especially appreciated his comments about how we think about lust, etc.

Honestly, I missed the point that you argued against the first time that I read the post, and you definitely are right to critique that aspect.

Andrew

mruther81 said...

Dear Ms. Prejean,
We ask that you cease and desist any representation of yourself as a "Christian Spokeswoman."
We can find no record of necessary credentials on file. Moreover, your public appearance in a bikini and participation in a carnal "beauty pageant" were licentious and lascivious--prima facie disqualification for you to hold or express any Christian conviction, since your convictions are suspect at best.
If you ignore this warning and persist in your spiritual charade, we will be forced to denounce and condemn you vigorously until you relent and terminate your fraudulent practice of speaking as "a Christian." Christian indeed.
Sincerely,
Association of True Christians

Nate said...

Andrew,
Christians jumping on the band wagon is true. It is not her fault though but shallow christians who are at fault. The same emotions convinced christians to jump behind Sarah Palin and family as great christian models to represent the cause. True she may the lessor of two evils, look at them now. Obama may confess the wrong things, but his model for family is better than Palin's. Not that Obama should be a spokesperson by any means.
Palin is no longer a spokesperson but she was for a while and most Christians took it hook line and sinker.
Christian culture has a short attention span so miss America won't last long, but the standard is falling lower and lower. You can't be homosexual or pro-abortion, but you can have a dysfunctional family with children having children out wedlock or be a sexually objectified pageant queen as long as Christianity is the greater goal.
It's not that the Palin's and Ms Prejean are not christian, it's christians who glorify them for the media attention they received to a position of unofficial leadership. As if they are suddenly great voices and leaders for christians to follow. The logic would follow that as long as a murderer confessed Christian things and was popular in the media than he qualified as a voice for christian culture. We are not there yet, but the same kind religion shouted "King of the Jews" on Palm Sunday and a week later shouted "release Barabbas".