Monday, August 25, 2008

A Beauty Pageant for Nuns?

Evidently an Italian priest, Antonio Rungi, wants to break general negative stereotypes of nuns (as elderly, stiff, ruler-holding women) by holding a beauty pageant only open to nuns. It seems he wants to promote a Sofia Loren vision of nuns. It is an online competition, but he hopes that in the future it will be run like other beauty competitions, in person.

According to the Times (that's the one in London),
The contestants must be aged between 18 and 40, and can be either full members of an order or novices. Father Rungi said that he expected many who applied to be young, attractive — and non-Italian. He said: “Do you really think nuns are all wizened, funereal old ladies? Today it’s not like that any more, thanks to an injection of youth and vitality brought to our country by foreign girls.” He said there were nuns from Africa and Latin America who were “really very, very pretty. The Brazilian girls above all.”
See the full article here.

Is this attempt to balance inner, spiritual beauty with outward, physical beauty more helpful or harmful? And for whom? For the Catholic Church as a whole? For the individual nuns? Is it an appreciation for the full person, or is it just recreating a sexualized gaze?

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