Friday, May 15, 2009

Screwtape on Body Wars

In reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis for the fifth or sixth time, I am presented with Lewis’s perspective of a very therapeutic truth regarding attractiveness in the feminine form. Screwtape, in his letters to a lower demon by the name of Wormword, is talking about the traps that the enemy has set for humans in marital attractions. He says that it is the goal of the evil spiritual forces “to guide each gender away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely.” This is evident in our society just as it has been with societies stretched across history. The enemy does this through making secondary characteristics primary, such as beards, weights, and complexions. Screwtape describes one effort in this perversion by saying, “we have selected an exaggeratedly feminine type, faint and languishing, so that folly and cowardice, and all the general falseness and littleness of mind which go with them, shall be at a premium.”
In his next statement, I see today’s society: “Now we teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys. Since this is a kind of beauty even more transitory than most, we thus aggravate the female’s chronic horror of growing old and render her less willing and less able to bear children.”
Lewis pegged the enemy’s attack on women who find themselves driven by eating disorders. He has placed a standard of beauty that is ever-fleeting, so unnatural, and entirely handicapping. I am irate at this plot to destroy the testimony and effectiveness of today’s teenager and young woman. The enemy is creating a desire for the feminine body that is unattainable. He is effectively destroying lives with this lie.

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