There’s More Than One Way to Objectify a Woman

While I was looking for podcasts to listen to at work, I came across The Catholic Underground. The word “Underground” gave me hope

The best women have to offer?

The best women have to offer?

for something subversive, a hope which remained sadly unfulfilled. Instead, I got the same old party lines rife with contradictions. (You can listen to the whole show here, but I can’t say I recommend it unless you have 75 minutes to kill and want to do so listening to three guys shoot the breeze and occasionally mention something relevant to Catholicism.)

One of the news items discussed is the Gates’ Foundation’s new technology that puts birth control on a microchip. The article I just linked is the one referenced in the show, and a link to it appears on the show’s page, but one of the hosts made sure to include the disclaimer that the website supports birth control “for all of the usual, silly, illogical reasons” that they’ve gone into before.

When it comes to Catholicism, there’s not much that raises my ire more than three men sitting around calling birth control “illogical” and “silly.” I could fill a whole post with a rant about that (I sort of already did here and here), but that’s not what I’m here to write about. Not exactly.

Later in the show, the hosts discussed brain research showing that when men view images of tools and images of scantily clad women, the same brain area lights up: the area associated with using objects to attain goals. (When men viewed images of attractive but fully clothed women, the brain response was more complex, involving more systems). The hosts used this as an opportunity to bemoan the habit of seeing women as “objects” rather than as full people. I concur that this is unfortunate, even sinful, and that spiritual people especially should avoid cultivating this habit.

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Birth Control: Where Everyone Has an Agenda

I’ve been wanting to write about birth control for months, and the fact that the Supreme Court is debating whether secular employers have a “right” to deny certain kinds of contraception in their health care plans seems as good a reason as any to finally do it.

I have beside me a pamphlet my mom, a public health nurse, gave me in disgust — she works on a daily basis with crisis pregnancies and parents whose kids pay the price for their own unpreparedness to be parents. My mom has always felt that birth control is a Very Good Thing, and she made sure I always knew that the Church had no right to make this decision for her, for me, or for any other woman.

The pamphlet is: “Contraception: Abortion in Disguise“. It attacks hormonal contraception and IUDs for their potential abortive effects — that is, the fact that they can effect change in the uterine lining that makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant, in contrast to success rates for the same issue. It also includes long sections on the risks various contraceptives can pose to a woman’s health, including everything from headaches to breast cancer. But never fear, there is hope! The pamphlet ends with a quote from Dr. Rudolph Ehmann, who says, “The only course which will do justice to the complete human being in a dignified manner is, in my experience, Natural Family Planning.”


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Breastfeeding in Church Brings Congruence to Church’s Sexuality Teachings

Pope Francis seems to make news so often that I’d never get any work done if I clicked on his picture every time he comes up in my Yahoo daily stories. But “The Week”‘s January 14 article, covering Pope Francis’ endorsement of breastfeeding in church, made me heave a sigh of finally.

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NFP and the Elephant (or the babies) in the Room

Disclaimer: Since people are bound to make assumptions about my sex life based on anything I write below, I find it necessary to state upfront that I am in no way opposed to Natural Family Planning — my husband and I incorporate it into our own marriage. What I AM opposed to is other people thinking they have the right to make sexual choices for all people, and for all couples, especially when the reality of this particular choice is very often glossed over or misrepresented.

When I was in college, I told my mom that when I got married, I wanted to practice Natural Family Planning. My mom said, “Good luck with that — that’s how we got Jessica.” Although my parents deeply love and would never express regret over any of their children (some of whom were more “planned” than others), my mom’s message to me was clear: If you plan to practice NFP, plan to have a baby.

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