I’m currently working on a writing assignment where I discuss the messages of femininity, beauty, and romance in Disney Princess movies. As I reminisce the ways I loved these Princess movies as a child, I now realize something so wholesome and real about the beauty and nobility of these stories–especially in their romantic scenes.
Obviously, (I mean, let’s hope) Disney movies geared towards a young audience won’t have any scenes “in bed,” and it’s exactly that which captivates my heart in real and genuine ways. Those Prince’s don’t look to the princesses as mere sexual objects or someone to use for their pleasure. They aren’t gawking or have that perverted smirk on their face. You know in their gaze that their eye contact says more than, “I want you.” They are in awe and wonder over these exquisite women. Without words, they’re saying, “Wow. You’re beautiful.” Radiant, enchanting, and glowing with virtue, strength, and charm.
“True love is a love in which sexual values are subordinate to the value of the person.” -JPII, Love and Responsibility
Any truly loving relationship should strive to never let the other person become an object to fulfill your sexual impulses, or “needs.” Likewise, should it ever let you allow the other person to voluntarily descend to a position for their enjoyment, at your expense.
Fairy tales aside, yes, love does develop on sexual values– human beings are visual beings–our senses are what motivates our bodies. Yet, notice how Disney movies aren’t shaming sexual values of the women, they’re setting them ablaze. These images of true captivating beauty are real and offer a firm appreciation for who the princess is, not what she is.
Sexual morality makes us think noticing an attractive person is a bad thing; it’s not. What IS bad is reducing something good to your own selfish evil. That is, indulging in impure thoughts or actions that reduce that beautiful person to a mere object for your own self-enjoyment. True love never descends to that level, and it never allows another person to be reduced to mere sexual pleasure. Instead it rises up and seeks more.
How do we “seek more?” Ask yourself:
Who is this person I’m so drawn to? What is it about him/her that I’m captivated by? His/her beauty, charm, intelligence, speech, kindness, gentleness, humor, their positivity, charisma, the way they give to others, help others and serve? The way they treat their family, and friends? How they treat the opposite sex? How they value themselves? How they inspire me, bring out my best, and motivate me for greatness?
Love is a desire to unite with another person–not a desire to “get” some at their expense. If your relationship is not rooted in a desire to give yourself and receive the other gratefully, then chances are you’re not in love with a person, you’re in love with yourself, and your own desires.
As I re-watch these movies I am certain I speak of behalf of all humanity when I say, “this is the love we all long for.” John Paul II was right when he said, “Young people are always searching for the beauty in their love. They want their love to be beautiful.”
Unfortunately, what stops us from seeing the beauty in this or living the truth of this is that it’s something we have to ask God to work on in us. We must want this.
Some of us even have to fight shame in wanting it. Shame from our grossness for the times we’ve settled for less than we deserve. Shame that we think this “doesn’t exist today.” And shame can even be self-defense of vulnerability and letting another person in and giving them a chance.
Fear not! If you find yourself ashamed of your sexual lifestyle, rejoice. It’s a great feeling to have. This remorse is a pathway towards experiencing the greatness of God’s gift of grace. Letting the power of Jesus’ resurrection takeover your heart.
So first, forgive yourself for violating false ideas of love because you can start with new ideas of love at any moment in your life.
Secondly, let Christ look at you, look at your past (of which he saw anyway) and offer up any shame. Tell him you want to change and by His grace, He’ll probably tell you to exercise the virtue of modesty. (Yes, even if you’re a male).
Modesty is complete respect and reverence of the human body. Modesty see’s how good, how precious, and how valuable human persons are and never wishes to violate that with evil, selfishness, or immorality. Modesty respects self, others, and especially God.
This comes by the way we dress (which reveals our sexual values) and also by the way we act and think (which reveals our desires or habits). When actions and thoughts degrade the sacredness of a body, we can start to diminish the value of human dignity. We are all called to responsibility for ourselves and others– not animalistic impulses that degrade our value.
Modesty reveals the nature of your interior disposition. It has to start with seeing your own value and not letting other’s violate that by using you–for their pleasure–even if it feels good.
And to the extent that we respect ourselves, and our brothers and sisters in Christ, is the extent that we truly respect and honor our Heavenly Father.
Each person is beautifully crafted by A Creator who only creates holy and beautiful creatures. We should recoil at the thought of taking our impulses out on another person.
“After the Blessed Sacrament, the most sacred being on Earth is your neighbor.” – CS. Lewis
The person you are drawn to belongs to God (not you) and was put in your path as a gift from Him. God entrusts to us other persons, through love, because He knows we are capable of reaching some degree of holiness with them. Sometimes in order to find that holiness, we start by becoming responsible for cherishing, valuing, appreciating, and uplifting that person’s unique and unrepeatable dignity–not sexual values.
A true relationship with God, deep prayer, and exercising an interior life help build up modesty, and true loving habits. Ladies and Gentleman, we CAN have intimacy without shame! (Read more here)
God provides the graces necessary for a transformation of heart and allows us to see others, life, and Himself with wonder, awe, and beauty. If you find someone who ignites a genuine spark in you, and hope to take their hand in something more than a friendship, the solution to this is to let God work in you–surrendering your ways to Him–and asking Him to love that person through you.
Further Reading: Love and Responsibilty, Karol Wojtyla and Theology of the Body, John Paul II