Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jessica Alba Nude

Something you won't see onscreen, vowed the actress, "citing the influence of her Catholic upbringing" — Jessica Alba rejects screen nudity. The report states that "she's happy to take on sexy roles and don revealing outfits in movies, but fans shouldn't ever expect her to bare all for the cameras." Miss Alba explained, "I can act sexy and wear sexy clothes but I can't go naked."

Unlike many Catholics with a blog, I am not an expert in Catholic moral theology, but the idea that to "go naked" is intrinsically evil while to "act sexy and wear sexy clothes" is fine and dandy seems problematic. The innocent nudity in Tuvalu (1999) (or, the Bulgaria-filmed movie reminding of Polynesia, The Bounty (1984), one of my favorites as an adolescent) and the disturbing nudity in Schindler's List (1993), which would only arouse a seriously sick person, are a far cry from that of Debbie Does Dallas (1978) or such films. Or think of the visual arts. Pin-up girls, while not naked, are intended to incite concupiscence, whereas the naked bodies in religious art, e.g. Jheronimus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights are intended to arouse contemplation of higher things:


Jessica Alba's Wikipedia page is quite revealing (pun intended) about her thinking: "Alba was raised as a Christian in the Catholic denomination [sic] throughout her teenage years, but left the church after four years because she felt she was being judged for her appearance, explaining: 'Older men would hit on me, and my youth pastor said it was because I was wearing provocative clothing, when I wasn't. It just made me feel like if I was in any way desirable to the opposite sex that it was my fault, and it made me ashamed of my body and being a woman.'" (We also learn of her "objections to the church's condemnations of premarital sex and homosexuality, and the lack of strong female role models in the Bible.")

If your "youth pastor" tells you your clothing is "provocative" it probably is, given what I've seen some young girls in America wear to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, if we should still use such lofty language to describe the ''AmChurch'' Novus Ordo Missae. In the article that begins this post, Miss Alba confesses that she "was always very uncomfortable about the way my body developed." Maybe she wouldn't have been had she been given some clear guidance by her family (aside from the "grandmother [who] would freak out and throw a towel over me if she saw me wearing just a bra and panties"), her Church (aside from the above mentioned "youth pastor"), and her culture.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

"Jessica Alba Nude"

I bet that's going to get a lot of hits! ;)

Older men would hit on me, and my youth pastor said it was because I was wearing provocative clothing, when I wasn't.

So did she ever figure out why older men were hitting on her and (presumably) not on her peers?

the lack of strong female role models in the Bible

Uh . . . Rahab, Ruth, Judith, and Esther, anyone? That's just the Old Testament.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Walt C said...

"I am not an expert in Catholic moral theology, but the idea that to "go naked" is intrinsically evil while to "act sexy and wear sexy clothes" is fine and dandy seems problematic."

Joshua, I'm not lettered in Catholic moral theology either but I agree with you here.I thought how the body is presented by the artist and the response he is intending to invoke ,as in the examples you have stated, is a component in evaluating the morality the act of "going naked." For instance, someone "streaking" across a college campus as a prank to shock people is obviously a sin against modesty and charity. However, someone else, maybe on the same campus, modeling privately for the fine arts students I imagine could be morally licit.After all, I do recall reading that in the early Church, baptisms were done by immersion with the catechumens and at times, depending on local customs, the priests and deacons in the baptistmal pool naked.The deaconesses ,from what I've read, administered the chrismation to the females of course for the sake of propriety.One of my sources for this was Dr. Kevin Orlin Johnson's book Expressions of the Catholic Faith AKA Why Do Catholics Do That? Dr. Johnson and some others I've read mentioned in the centuries before indoor plumbing was even thought of, bathing outdoors by the masses was not seen as so improper, so performing a baptism, a ritual cleansing, like this was not so scandalous. It certainly would be now!!! In other cultures it's completely modest for a woman to uncover to nurse her child so I agree with you that 'going naked' or partially uncovered is not always objectively evil. I think the intention of the act plays a role as well.

Ms. Alba has been taken in with the world's idea of modesty. The legalistic notion that as long as one's clothing covers certain areas ,however slightly or provocatively, then it's modest. It's mistaking form for substance.

5:13 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Excellent points both. Thanks.

9:08 PM  

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