The 1970s were hard years on churches. Altar rails, statuary, reredos, stained-glass windows, and elegant ambos were torn out with wild abandon, while churches-in-the-round, modernist statues, and felt banners replaced them. There’s been a recent surge to return older churches to their former glory, replacing wreckovation with true renovation.
Art historian Liz Lev explains a sad phenomenon in the art world, known in Italian as “chapucismo,” or “a sloppy cob job,” where works of art are destroyed irreparably. The Ecco Homo is perhaps the most well-known example, striking both sorrow and the funny-bone because the finished product is such a caricature.
The destruction of churches and art is strikingly similar to another area where beauty is under attack: women. Women have been made to be beautiful and have been the subjects of great art for millennia for good reason. It was International Women’s Day yesterday, but sadly, since the 1960s and 70s, true feminine beauty has been transformed into raw sex appeal. New trends in third-wave feminism and its fourth wave, the LGBTQ+ movement, have maintained high-pitched sexuality, but also splintered off into a different direction – the rejection of the feminine entirely and the embrace of genderlessness.
It’s human nature that, as women, we’re susceptible to trends. It’s seen as a virtue to be breezily trendy or to look as if you stepped out of a fashion magazine. But trends aren’t limited to fabric colors and hairstyles. They extend deeply into patterns of thought and behavior.
One well-documented current trend – a sort of social contagion among high-school and college women – is to venture into the world of testosterone injections and gender-fluidity. Planned Parenthood has pivoted to accommodate the new demand for body-altering hormones. One employee expressed how deeply conflicted she feels seeing the degree of casualness with which young girls are now seeking such dire physical alterations. It’s not unusual for girls to head there in groups, much like they did to get their ears pierced thirty years ago, but this time motivated by deep pain and confusion about who and what they are.
Other trends beyond hormones and selective hacking off of body parts include looking butch, piercing as many body parts as possible, and covering oneself in tats. Here is a 2018 slideshow of before-and-afters of young girls’ transformations (warning, includes explicit images). The saddest part about these trends is that, unlike renovating a church, many of these changes can’t be undone – it is very difficult to reset a female body after years of male hormone therapy and breast-removal surgery.It is also a challenge to heal the trauma from the lifestyles that often accompany these outward changes.
Read more at The Catholic Thing