Sex … Tattoos … The Vatican: what is and what is not forbidden

by Alexander Cornwell

The Vatican is one of the holiest sites in the world. Home to the Pope and the Sistine chapel, it is a place of worship for people of all cultures who are connected through one thing, their faith. But its also one of the most popular tourist sites in all of Europe, where people of all backgrounds and religions come to appreciate or to just look at the history of the Catholic church.

The Vatican

The Vatican

One thing few tourist or religious followers would think about when visiting the Vatican is gender inequality. Well at least not until you run into security. I’m not talking about famous Swiss Guards; I’m talking about the caretakers that ‘check’ you after you pass security.

So what happened to make me write this piece for

When I went to enter the Vatican, security stopped us because a woman I was with was showing just a little too much knee / thigh. My friend was extremely embarrassed and also upset that she might not be able to get in. I was with two girls and they both dressed that day with two things in mind – the searing sun, and the Vatican.

Absentminded – I dressed for the weather and forgot about the Vatican. The security were rude – but we understood and accepted they had their ‘rules.’ Luckily, another friend brought a scarf with here that fitted the girl like a sarong, and in we went.

Again, what are my objections? Why am I writing this?

Well I was dressed somewhat similar. I was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. But not just any shorts – I was wearing short, shorts. You know, the dorky hipster kind you find on Brunswick St, Melbourne, or in Soho, London. The shorts sat above my knee to the same degree my friends skirt sat above hers. But I guess the masculinity of a men’s thigh is just not as sexual as a woman’s.

Besides my short shorts, my legs are covered in tattoos – around my ankles, up my calf, and on my thighs. Now I’m no expert on religion but I know the Bible has nothing good to say on tattoos. A quick internet search can find you this: Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. In summary God forbids you from getting tattooed… because he said so. (I’m sure there is a more detailed explanation, but like I said I’m no religious expert – and I only have so many words to work with)

So why is it a woman, keeping in mind it is the year 2012, will be asked by the Catholic church to cover her legs but not ask me to cover my tattoos that I ‘shall not’ get on the Lords orders.

What makes man more righteous than woman?

Why do woman continue to be sexualised?

Well to take the good Lord, Mr. James Brown out of context … this is a man’s world.

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