Balance, balance, balance, am I right, darlings? A girl can’t read William Willimon and pray all day — she’s got to get some pop culture in her life so that she can stay in touch with the trashy fun of our times, and also because the Church doesn’t need one more minister who thinks that “Dancing With the Stars” is BENEATH her. Please. Spare me your pieties. Pastors who think it’s a virtue that they don’t know who the Kardashian sisters are and who pride themselves on not having a Facebook account aren’t holier-than-anyone. They’re snotty and out of touch. I am serving up some PeaceBang Realness, now. *hip hop hand gesture*
I have been absolutely loving every little minute of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and since that’s so good for my heart and soul, I thought I’d check in to “Dancing With the Stars” because the commercial made it look like loads of fun! Miss Gladys Knight? Melissa Gilbert, formerly “Half-Pint” (I never like the “Little House” series because I worshiped the books, and also they made everyone look like hippies. I’d love to see Masterpiece Classics do a real, period treatment of Ingalls’ books, but I digress)? Hot football players and former “General Hospital” stars? Tennis great MARTINA NAVRATILOVA? So I DVR’d the first episode and watched it the other night (sans commercials, obviously, because enough already with the breaks every 30 seconds).
The dancing was fantastic and inspiring and it was super entertaining and happy. But I knew I’d have to write here about Martina Navratilova, who I remember as a fierce, awesome butch tennis player:
Yes, I said butch. She was, and it is meant as a compliment. I admired the hell out of her.
Now, that’s a great face, right? An expressive close-up of a famous woman.
However, if you put that woman in a public role as a speaker, at a distance (without a camera lens highlighting her fiery eyes), she looks worn out and washed out. Her features are all blended together because of her ruddy skin tone, and also because that’s just what age does, no matter what your skin tone. The vibrancy is gone.
Here, with a fantastic hair cut, color and a bit of make-up, the vibrancy is back. THIS is what I mean when I talk about looking polished. THIS.
An actual hair style, not just chopped off any old way. Skin tone evened out. A bit of make-up to play up the features. The face is alive. The image is public, ready to be seen, leadership-oriented.
Another fabulous look. The hair is shorter, but styled beautifully. She looks amazing: confident, put -together, ready to be seen, energized, stylish, and groomed. This is what older feminists need to understand: using cosmetics does not disempower you. What disempowers you is looking like you don’t have a clue what you look like, and have no control over your own image.
There is also this really serious theological issue: if you think it’s beneath your holy self to be concerned with issues like hair color and lipstick, you’re communicating to your whole community that their own attention to issues of self-presentation and grooming are frivolous. That has to end. We’ve had enough centuries of religious leadership judging and condemning all things relating to incarnational reality and it’s time to stop. It’s all part of a continuum: the pastor who thinks that concerns about appearance are shallow and vain is saying that the body doesn’t matter, that it is somehow inferior to the soul. While this seems theologically astute, it not only calls into question — or denigrates — the whole incarnational miracle we received through Christ, it assumes that one can minister to people’s souls without their bodies coming along. Stupid. Also shallow. Also outmoded, fuddy-duddy and sexist.
If adornment didn’t matter, the Pope would wear jeans and a baseball cap during public appearances.
Do you know what Martina — the fierce athletic superstar — said on “Dancing With the Stars” when asked about her glammed up appearance? “It’s great — you have to do it. It’s part of the role.”
You are not just a clothes hanger for dignified vestments. You are a vessel of a soul, and your face is the most public, relatable and communicative aspect of that vessel. All of you should be paying close attention to your face, to its grooming and appearance. Women, if you’re still strenuously avoiding cosmetic assistance, I can only say that if MARTINA NAVRATILOVA CAN BUST OUT THE LIP GLOSS, BY GOD, SO CAN YOU.