Following a link from another religion blog, I dropped into today on Beauty Tips for Ministers (subtitled “Because you’re in the public eye, and God knows you need to look good.”)
I read this:
SO many of you have written to let me know that TLC will be airing an episode of “What Not To Wear” this Friday during which they make over a young, beautiful Episcopal priest.
And I was thinking, “Well, this is going in a homoerotic direction” when the truth hit me.
But I suppose if you want to be chased out of an Episcopal church by a bishop swinging his crozier, start talking about the “young, beautiful priestess.”
What difference that “-ess” makes. You know why, don’t you?
It does not matter if you are speaking of the Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome or someone more contemporary. To the monotheistic mind, the word “priestess” seems to conjure up “fertility rites,” flowing hair, and orgiastic drumming. Ishtar! Jezebel!
No, having women in sacramental, priestly roles is pretty scary, and so the only thing to do is to pretend that they are men under those robes.
Never before has a chasuble looked so much like a burqa.
(And one Episcopal priestess-in-training fears that vestments designed for men make her butt look too big–but that is a separate issue.)
The issue is that religion can be very sexy. Religio-magical power can be felt as erotic power, which why clergy often get into scandalous situations.
Female beauty plus sacramental (i.e., magical) power? There is nothing in the Book of Common Prayer about handling that!
So must they just pretend it’s not there?
And what do we Pagans do?