Interview with Hallie Lord – On Style, Sex, and Substance
If you're a Catholic woman active online, you probably know Hallie Lord. She's the kind, talented stylist who blogs as "Betty Beguiles" and has just released a wildly popular book, titled Style, Sex, and Substance.
In between blogging and homeschooling five young children, Hallie sat down to discuss her new book, the dignity of women, and how to raise virtuous daughters.
Q: To begin with, how did your new book come about? Why the topic, and why multiple contributors?
There are so many fantastic Catholic books on motherhood, marriage, sexuality, etc. My goal was to create a book that touched upon all of the important areas of a woman’s life—a kind of handbook for Catholic women, if you will.
It was also important to me that it had the feel of a bunch of women speaking honestly with one another—Margaritas in hand—about the joy, the pain, and the humor that comes with this amazing vocation of ours. You won’t find platitudes in this book.
Why the multiple contributors? Well, whether you’re the only mom of many at the playground or you’re the lone Catholic woman in your office, this vocation of ours can, at times, feel isolating. I want every Catholic woman who picks up this book to receive the message that she is not alone.
As I mentioned in my Introduction, we’re all in this together, and together we will prevail! I thought that one way to accomplish this goal would be to bring several of my favorite female Catholic women together so that we could create a book comprised of different voices with different perspectives on what it means to be a modern Catholic women.
Q: For a long time the Catholic Church has been accused of being chauvinistic or anti-woman. But that's not true, is it? In what ways has the Church praised the dignity of women?
Anyone who thinks that the Church is anti-woman needs only to look to the apostolic letter, Mulieris Dignitatem. There Blessed John Paul II proclaimed:
"The Church gives thanks for each and every woman: for mothers, for sisters, for wives; for women consecrated to God in virginity; for women dedicated to the many human beings who await the gratuitous love of another person; for women who watch over the human persons in the family, which is the fundamental sign of the human community; for women who work professionally, and who at times are burdened by a great social responsibility; for "perfect" women and for "weak" women—for all women as they have come forth from the heart of God in all the beauty and richness of their femininity.
The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine "genius" which have appeared in the course of history...she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness."
Based on that excerpt, I’d say the Church is pretty fond of women!
Q: In the book, all ten writers are Catholic, and all are women. But they are also all bloggers. How has the blogosphere helped women "consider the things that really matter"?
One cool thing about blogging is that anyone can do it. The benefit of this is that we who participate in the New Media are blessed to be exposed to a variety of voices, experiences, and opinions. This opens our eyes to perspectives we hadn’t previously considered and teaches us compassion for those walking a path that may, at times, differ vastly from our own. It’s actually quite a gift.
Q: Our daughter Teresa is one-year old, and every day I wonder, "how can I be a better Dad?" What advice would you give parents like me who want to raise virtuous daughters?
Just love her. Tell her she is smart, beautiful, and kind. Show her affection, and take an interest in her life. Even when you are correcting her, do it with love. At the risk of sounding saccharine, be her knight in shining armor. Make sure she knows that she can always come to you no matter what. And let her see—reflected in your eyes—the valuable and virtuous woman that God calls her to be. That vision will guide her for her entire life.
Q: Suppose Fox broadcasting called you up and offered a one-minute commercial during American Idol. Millions of young women across the country would be watching. What do you say?
Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be or what you should do with your life. God has an amazing plan just for you—a plan that you can only discover by turning to him, talking with him, and listening to him. He is the one who gave you your preferences and passions and he is the one who will show you how he means for you to use them. Be true to yourself, be true to God, and don’t listen to the world when they tell you that you are not good enough. You are good enough. You are a beautiful, valuable daughter of Christ. No one can ever take that away from you.
For more great stuff from Hallie Lord, check out her blog, Betty Beguiles, and be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
And if you liked this discussion, check out my other interviews with people like Fr. Robert Barron, Christopher West, Archbishop Chaput, Marc Barnes, and more. And make sure you don't miss future interviews by subscribing to The Thin Veil via feed reader or email.
If you could say one thing to young women today, what would it be?