Some of you may have heard of Paul Gomille, a 17 year old from Ajax, Ontario. Paul's name has been launched into the headlines because he wrote and distributed a letter to the girls in his Catholic High School. He was subsequently suspended by the principal of the school. Here's the letter in full:
"Could I please have your attention for a few moments? I guarantee you won’t regret listening to what I have to say. You definitely won’t regret hearing this in your life time, especially from a man of dignity. It’s an idea that I have held close to my heart even before the kilt controversy arose in the media. This message is not meant to address the kilt controversy directly by any means, but rather, this message is a general and all-encompassing statement. It is a message about the qualities that really matter in a woman, and what really makes a woman attractive. Although this speech has some relevance to the way women dress and present themselves nowadays, the message in this speech goes far beyond one’s preferences, or feelings of pressure, as it relates to the way they dress, and it goes far beyond any concept of modernity. It strikes at the very core of humanity itself, in an attempt to make a revelation of truth apparent to all of you, with awe inspiring certainty. If you read this, and receive anything less than a feeling of absolution from it, then I have committed a grave sin, a sin against myself and a sin against all of you."
"The people this message concerns are the young women of this school, and of the world. In particular, it concerns the silent ones, the intelligent ones, the ones that don’t talk about people behind their backs, the ones that guys don’t flock to in droves, the ones that don’t dress in revealing clothing, the ones who would love to be in love, and the ones that are continually disappointed in their appearance because the only thing they have to compare themselves to are the women that have been put on pedestals by our society. This message also concerns those of you who may consider yourselves the so called “opposite” to the demographic I just described. The ones who do dress in revealing clothing, and the ones who try to fit in with the crowd."
"You don’t need to dress or act a certain way to fit in, to feel attractive, or to BE attractive. You’re all far more attractive than you realize. All of you. But that’s not to say that you should all dress in revealing clothing. No, not at all. Sure, a girl who dresses that way might turn a few heads, and get some compliments. But real attractiveness doesn’t come from wearing the latest fashion, and it doesn’t come from being scantily clad in public, or putting on make-up, or having a pretty face, or a nice body. No. Real attractiveness comes from having a certain dignity. It comes from having class. It comes from being true to yourself, being yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin. This message is for all young women within the sound of my voice and beyond. You’re all beautiful. You all have inner beauty AND outer beauty."
I don't know this kid, and he could have demonstrated a little more humility, but I like what he had to say. I also think it's a message the school should be applauding; not censoring. Austensibly, Paul was suspended for "Opposition to Authority" because he originally asked to give this as a speech to the student body but was denied. The principal asked him to change some parts first because she viewed them as "judgmental," (in bold above). Paul, instead, decided to leave it as is and print and distribute them himself. This was viewed as opposing authority. Charles Adler had some interesting things to say about this on his program.
I don't want to lose the main message in this, however.
Our girls are fed a steady stream of media messages telling them how they need to look and dress in order to be beautiful. Anorexia and bulimia have robbed many young women of their futures as they have tried to force themselves to live up to an unreachable standard. How exactly do you compete with a supermodel who has had every minor physical flaw photoshopped out? And, more importantly, why should you? This is the same message the "Dove Evolution" commercial was trying to say.
There is nothing wrong with trying to look our best. We all do it. But this piece was about self-esteem - feeling good about ourselves and being comfortable in our own skin. I would think that this message would be encouraged in a Catholic School. It reminds me of Proverbs 31:30: "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
Our young women are placed in a very difficult position, trying to fit in and be accepted in an often hostile environment. Recognizing that each of us is an individual created by a loving God, we all have value; we all have worth. This is not an appeal to simpler times, but rather to common sense. Many of our young women feel compelled to dress inappropriately in order to gain the attention of the opposite sex, and even to participate in sexual activity before they're ready because they feel it's expected. This is wreaking a lot of damage on this generation of women.
You're right Paul: "Real attractiveness comes from having a certain dignity. It comes from having class. It comes from being true to yourself, being yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin." I do hope that some of the girls are listening. Comments are welcome.
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