Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Commentary on Naked Lady Bound in Ropes Image Vatican Used to Advertise Conference on Women

Lively (and thought-provoking) commentary from various places about the naked lady bound in ropes image the Vatican Pontifical Council on Culture has chosen to advertise its conference (which starts today) on women:

Man Ray's "Venere Restaurata" (1936), from Pontifical Council on Culture Website

If we had women priests at the Vatican, do you think an image like this would see the light of day? 

What were you thinking when you chose the headless woman's figure with breasts and pubic region tied up in ropes as your report cover artwork?  Just exactly what message are you trying to convey?  Are women's minds so inconsequential to you that a beheaded woman was ok provided her reproductive parts were on full display?  Could I please get a psychological analysis read-out on each council members' attitudes towards women because that image on your report cover makes me wonder if you all start from a very, very twisted sick mental attitude towards women.

Its so very painful to see the males of the Roman Catholic Church management grasping for anyway to control the Faith. They fail to see we are no longer ignorant peasants, we can now think for our self. Many Faithful people have learned of a new healthy, Loving and functional God, that the Roman Catholic Church chooses not to promote. Its like watching a drunk Uncle embarass himself with his ignornace about other cultures of people he has never met before, but knows all about them in his limited understanding. Jesus, please return and heal this dysfunctional church created with a forged signature of your good name.

(Later:) I'm adding this excerpt because Cleveland Girl's comment about the discussion of the apparent misogyny of Man Ray, the artist who produced the sculpture the Vatican is using to illustrate its program for the conference on women, makes me remember this commentary by Soline Humbert via We Are Church Ireland:

Man Ray had a strong interest in Sade and sadism and there is a recurrent sadistic streak in his artwork, as well as in his relationships with women, characterised by domination and aggression Man Ray photographed women wearing implements of bondage and enacting scenes of torture. He also helped others, like William B Seabrook realise in real life his fantasies of women bondage. 
What is behind this choice of female bondage image by the (all male)Pontifical Council for culture? Is it the choice of the group of women (Who are they?) behind this document? What message does it seek to convey?

And, finally, in commenting on the Vatican conference and the position paper it has made available, Crystal Watson points to a valuable alternative resource — alternative to what the Vatican is offering: a recent Huffington Post "All Together" podcast discussion hosted by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, in which Katharine Jefferts Schori, Suzan Johnson Cook, Serene Jones, and Joan Chittister discuss sexism as the church's original sin. 

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