March 7, 2013

Want you to make me feel
Like I'm the only girl in the world
Like I'm the only one that you'll ever love
Like I'm the only one who knows your heart
Only girl in the world
Like I'm the only one that's in command
Cause I'm the only one who understands
How to make you feel like a man
Want you to make me feel
Like I'm the only girl in the world

Now rest assured, dear reader, that I don't regularly turn to Rihanna for wisdom. In fact, I didn't seek her out this time, but rather her song 'Only girl in the world' has insinuated itself into my brain these last few days. (Please exercise caution when entering the grocery store. You never know what you will end up bringing home with you, this song being a case in point.) Answers can come from anywhere - even from the girl who sang about her umbrella.

The insight isn't anything new or ground breaking, but it fit together in my mind with something that I've been thinking about.  Back in December, when we had our Annual General Meeting (an official sounding event that was quite a lot like a tea party), Fr. Voisin asked us to consider writing about women living with their boyfriends. Since then, I've been mulling over why so many women do cohabit, why so many women make bad choices in the men they spend time with, why women tolerate bad behaviour from men, and, the popular question: why do so many women prefer the bad boy.

This song by Rihanna comes pretty close to answering each of those questions.  Women settle for less than authentic love because it is ingrained in us, written into our DNA, woven into the fabric of our being, to want to be in relationship. (Not just romantic relationships, but with our family and friends... even our doctor) This yearning is good and natural when we are emotionally and spiritually mature, know to put God first, and most importantly, are able to get our validation from God rather than from other people. When our life is out of balance and our priorities are out of order, or, sadly, when we've been hurt in some way, we turn to unsatisfactory sources. Unsatisfactory because those disordered relationships do not bring lasting fulfilment. We place the full burden of our affirmation and happiness on someone who can't possibly complete us.

Women also want to be 'the chosen one'. We want to be the one woman our man chooses from among all other women.  We want to be seen, recognized, known for who we are, and then selected to be his. This affirmation and validation is not wrong if they are in balance with an understanding that our worth doesn't come from another person. We are loveable, worthy, possess dignity, are deserving of love simply because we are, not because someone asked us out or gave us the keys to his condo.

We want to be the only one who, as Rihanna sings,  truly understands him, knows his heart, and makes him feel like a man. Enter the mystique of the bad boy. Women swooned over James Dean, and other bad boys because we like to think that we have that unique insight into his soul and are able to transform him. Even Jane Austen's Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice fits into this category. His brooding at windows, his aloof attitude, and his renowned particularity in choosing a wife make him desirable. He's hard to get, so getting him reflects well on us and our ability to love a difficult person, understand an enigma, and attract a picky (or fickle) man. Again, this is a disordered manifestation of what is naturally present and good in women: intuition and compassion.

Women want to know that there is no one else in a man's life, in his heart. We want to be his 'only girl in the world'. I've heard a comparison of a key difference between men and women: when a man discovers his girl has cheated on him, he wants to harm the other man for having taken his woman; when a woman discovers her man has cheated, she wants to hurt him for going to someone else. Mixed in with this might be a level of insecurity. Perhaps there is the thought, "This man is with me. What if no one else wants to be?" I believe that some women make bad choices when it comes to men based on the fear of being alone. "I want to be everything to you so you don't leave me." When I was in college, a friend dated a man who did not treat her well. She new she was in a bad situation, wouldn't leave him for a long time because she didn't believe there would be another man, a better man for her. Thankfully she is now happily married to a good man, but how many women stay trapped in bad relationships rather than be alone?

So, Miss Rihanna has it right: we want all those things she lists in her song. But she doesn't sing the answer: a man can't give us all those things, and it's a terrible burden to lay on his shoulders. A woman deserves the love of a good man because she is first loved by God. And she is loved by God because she is, plain and simple. By virtue of being, she is lovable.

I hope Rihanna understands that, someday. Maybe she'll turn it into a catchy pop song.


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What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!


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