“60 Minutes” aired a piece last Sunday about Mount Athos in Greece, the peninsula that houses so many Greek Orthodox monasteries. No woman has been allowed on Mount Athos for over a thousand years. Only male tourists can visit. Why? Because, as one Orthodox monk explains, women are a distraction. Isn’t it time a woman, impersonating a man, slipped in among the male tourists ... wearing a blue bra?
In a brilliant new book, “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity,” author Cynthia Bourgeault argues that Mary Magdalene may well have been Jesus Christ’s lover, life companion, “soulmate” and first among apostles. This despite the fact that the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church for almost 1400 years was that she was a prostitute. That was finally rejected by the Vatican in 1969. “A powerful and faithful apostle is transformed into a repentant whore,” writes Bourgeault. “There is certainly more than a fair share of misogyny and slander.”
In the Gospel of Mary, in a dialogue where she is represented by “The Soul,” Mary responds to criticism from Peter: “You never truly saw nor knew me. You took the garments that I wore to be me, but you never recognized my true self.”
This plaintive cry for recognition could well be echoed by billions of women across the globe, many of them completely hidden under their garments. “You never recognized my true self.”
If only Mary Magdalene had had the blue bra.
It’s time for all women to own the blue bra, either a real one or one of the spirit. Let’s not allow that young woman in Egypt to have been beaten, stripped and exposed in vain. Let us make her humiliation our triumph.
A very successful friend of mine, who is often the only woman on the many medical boards she serves on, comments that everyone, herself included, wears dark suits to work, but she knows that underneath she’s also wearing pastel lace underwear. “It always gives me such a feeling of confidence and power.”
The great thing about it is that when women go into the workplace, or the public square, or anywhere else, the men are always going to wonder, does she have on the blue bra? Let the answer always be yes.