Hello readers, my name is Amanda Castro. I am a Youth Minister at a large rural parish in Southwest Minnesota. I love photography, theology and being a big kid. My husband and I have been married for about 19 months and we are enjoying it greatly. The past four years of my life have been truly life changing and I have become quite a different woman than I ever imagined because of it.
If you had known me before 2008, you might have heard people describe me as brash, headstrong, naive, difficult, cocky and stubborn. I believed that as a feminist I should try to make men submissive to women, that we feminists didn’t want anything to do with children, and that anything that was truly feminine was *evil*. I refused to wear skirts or dresses, I always had to go for halves on dates, men weren’t allowed to act chivalrous towards me, and bras were a male invention designed to cause the most discomfort possible to women. My favorite summer job was one in which I would work for 10 hours a day in a manual labor setting. I had no regard for the innate femininity that God had given me.
I felt that young women were getting barraged with too many messages that because they were women, they were both inferior to men and were only to be treated as objects. Not wanting that to be true for myself I chose to embrace that misguided view of feminism. I chose to make myself interchangeable with men and demanded that of those around me do so too. I was wrong and knew that I had to change.
A Change of Thought
Change has never been easy for me. I often resist it because I know that at its core, it is painful. I dated the wrong guy from 2004 – 2009 because I was afraid to change. After that relationship I began dating the man who would become my husband. He and I had been friends since we were in high school and he had seen all different sides of me. The worst parts of me were no shock for him. In 2010, we thought things were going well until I lost my job.
Looking for any job and trying to keep my unemployment benefits was a toll and taught me something profound; humility. Three weeks after I lost my job, my husband proposed to me. When I said yes, I said yes to both him and to embracing who God was calling me to be. We didn’t know that in three months I would have accepted a job in Iowa and would be moving away from him to start our home, alone.
When we became husband and wife, I learned that femininity was not the pursuit of trying to become more masculine, but the complementary life of being “created male and female.” (Genesis 1:27) The gift of being uniquely female is a true gift in and of itself, and for many years I had tried to extinguish that in the pursuit of being “normal”.
Now as a full-time Youth Minister, I see so many young women being belittled by the messages that their body isn’t good enough, or that their body is broken. I see girls with eating disorders, trying to fit in by any means possible. So day by day, I try to witness to them that they are beautiful, just as they were created to be. That’s why I am so passionate about the Guiding Star Project and what it stands for. This isn’t a model for only the women who are pregnant or have families, this is a model for all women.