In a piece titled "Saint Mary Mac and Her Holy Rack," Australian magazine ZOO Weekly paid tribute this week to the country's first canonized saint. The six-photo spread depicts a model in black lingerie capped off with nun's headgear. Naturally, the magazine is being attacked by the Catholic church.
No doubt about it, this is one incredibly childish spread. One of the photographs shows the model on hands and knees and reads: "She's begging for it... so she can give it to the poor!" And for editor Peter Merrill to state that Saint Mary would be "thrilled and flattered at her portrayal" is patently ridiculous. There is nothing Saint Augustine-like in her background; Mary Mackillop dedicated herself to God voluntarily at 14 and went on from there to live a life of devotion. No wild past to play on. (Pics here.)
But it's not altogether shocking that ZOO Weekly isn't making a point beyond bumping sales. They're more like the Weekly World News than say, an Esquire. And think what it's doing for the nun's profile. I'm quite sure I'd never have heard about her becoming a saint at all were it not for the controversy. The Church's condemnation plays into this, like the way it turned that hideous Mel Gibson movie about Jesus into an undeservedly high-grossing film.
And I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the whole "demeaning to women" argument getting trotted out. You never hear something is demeaning to men, just that it's stupid. Or whatever it is. In this case, how about tacky? Puerile? Baseless? All those adjectives apply way before we as the female species must take umbrage.