On purity and brokenness.

So today I have a difficult topic to tackle. This has been on my mind for awhile but I didn’t know if I was ready to go public with it. But I think until I do it’s going to bother me.

I know I’m not the only person to have experienced this, in fact probably all of you have more than once even, so here goes.

Some time ago I was meeting up with some friends, and in the course of a late night chat with a few of them, I learned that one of them had compromised their purity, multiple times.

This is not an usual thing, sadly enough. (By the way for those of you who don’t know, purity is the christian word for virginity and freedom from lust.)

But that wasn’t all. This person was still in that relationship and her family wasn’t too happy about it. She was also unwilling to break it off, and unwilling to separate from the guy to go to a different school for a while, as one person had recommended.

There is no one way to handle such situations, but to my horror, the other people in the room began telling her there was grace for that.

I may make quite a few people mad by sharing this, but it won’t be the first time if I do, so I’ll continue.

I was shocked, more at these other girls than at the one who had made the confession. In disbelief I began to tell her that, while I didn’t believe she was condemned, she needed to put an end to this if she really cared about the guy in question and her relationship with God. I made it pretty clear that this was not okay.

None of them really liked what I had to say. The girl herself got mad at me and ended up ending the conversation.

Now it wasn’t all so smooth at the time as it sounds in the retelling, but you get the idea.

I can’t tell you how much this incident bothered me and continues to bother me.

I witnessed first hand what damage compromising can do and I want to talk about it.

I don’t think it’s biblical to be overly harsh with those who have stumbled. It does happen. But it happens for different reasons.

Sometimes the person is rebellious.

Sometimes they are broken and do it compulsively.

Sometimes they are just filled with lust and lose their heads.

Whichever it is, each has to be handled differently. But I’m going to address the second one.

I have talked about this before on this blog. Some people, especially girls, tend to live in sexual sin because they feel somehow that they deserve it or are trapped in it and cannot escape. In can be because they were molested or raped, or abused in some other way, or because they gave in one time and felt that they already lost it all.

Most often these girls would not have fallen had they had better support form their family and friends, or if they did fall, they could have got back up again.

Actually, they still could and some have. The biggest lie in the whole business is that there is no turning back. There are women who have. Ones who aren’t even religious but just feel that the lifestyle is wrong.

But many believe they can’t ever get back what they lost.

It’s true that you can never forget that you made that choice. But there is healing from it, and there is restoration.

Sometimes women (and I’ve heard this personally more than once) believe that because they were raped or molested, their purity was stolen and they cannot get it back anyway, whether they wanted to lose it or not.

As a woman I understand it is terrible to feel helpless. And maybe they choose promiscuity because in some way they feel they have control again.

Rape is a terrible thing. There is no softening that.

But, and this will be hard to swallow, even the rapist can be a broken person themselves who does not fully realize what they are doing.

They have no excuse; but perhaps it might be easier for the woman if she could understand that the only way to heal the hurt is to stop spreading it. Whether it’s through what she does to herself or to what she does not choose to put an end to in other people.

Most people will agree that being raped does not equal losing you purity. Christians especially feel that God does not see it that way. In fact losing your virginity is not equal to losing your purity at all. Married people are still pure.

The girl I mentioned before felt that it was too late for her. That she was already on the downward slope, and she took my admonishment/rebuke as confirmation of that.

To be clear, I told her more than once that it was not too late. That she could be forgiven. And I believe that.

What she heard was not what I was saying. She heard what she was already afraid of deep down, and she probably knew that, in a way.

The problem was, she didn’t want to be free bad enough. She thought she and this guy loved each other.

Maybe they did in a way; but not enough to protect each other. Not enough to stop deceiving her family or going behind their backs. Not enough to respect her beliefs.

There are a lot of factors that would make breaking off that kind of relationship hard. Those kinds of problems tend to run in the family. But it does not excuse ignoring that problem.

Nor does it in any way justify people who are outside the situation refusing to admit it is a sin.

It’s kind of taboo to call it that anymore. As a church in general, Christians have taken a more compassionate view of teenage promiscuity. We have been willing to acknowledge it’s more than just teens trying to be wicked on purpose. In fact, that’s probably only a small percentage of the teens who participate in it. Most of them are doing it out of brokenness.

But there is no place in the Bible or in life when brokenness makes something okay.

It’s like driving around with bad brakes, if you get in an accident, it was at least partly your fault for not getting your brakes fixed. You didn’t mean to get into an accident, but you did without seeing it coming.

Or, as happened to me recently, you don’t even know the brakes are bad because you lack experience with them, and find out only after you start driving. Then it would be on the person who didn’t warn you.

But in no way does that change that bad brakes are a hazard to you and the people around you. It would be stupid to say that the brakes were okay because it’s forgivable that you didn’t know about them.

And that’s the difference. Sexual immorality is a sin. Whether it’s done intentionally or by lack of being prepared.

Telling someone that it is okay to sin is never right because it’s the same as telling them the car their driving is safe when it’s not. You could get them killed. Figuratively or literally.

But I don’t want anyone to read this and then think it’s okay to be a jerk to someone who is stuck in sin. I am all for being compassionate…but not delusional. There’s a difference.

I have a feeling this message may never be popular, but it is still important. My biggest regret is that I could not help this girl I knew. I couldn’t because I had neither her full trust, nor any back up from anyone who cared enough to tell her the truth. Except those whom she’d already refused to listen to.

I hope in the future I will have better answers. But I recognize that there is no forcing people to choose differently.

But I just want to point out, no one is forcing them to keep choosing the same thing either.

Freedom is available. All you have to do is want it bad enough.

One last thing, I don’t claim to have it all figured out or that this post was an extensive look at this issue. It’s a small peek into it, that’s all. There’s a lot more books and talks on it that would be better for anyone concerned with the subject to check out.

I’d recommend “Purity,” by Kris Valloton. (It’s less preachy then it sounds.)

“Kissed the girls and made then cry,” by Lisa Bevere.

And the “Message to teens,” sermon by James Robinson.

Until next time–Natasha.

Mary Poppins

If I may wax nostalgic without ripping off some popular you-tubers, I’d like to look back on this classic.

I just watched it today, and it seems, like all classics, to have more in it than I realized as a child.

Since I grew up right as Disney was transitioning more and more to 3D and coming to the end of it’s Renaissance phase (that’s all the 2D princesses and princes after Sleeping Beauty,) I never found the really old films quite as interesting to re-watch, but I felt their charm and I think it’s shame a lot of kids now haven’t even watched these classics.

Mary Poppins is at least a perennial favorite movie of mine. I always wanted to ride those merry-go-round horses (it used to really frustrate me that I knew they weren’t real) hop into pictures, laugh on the ceiling and dance on rooftops.

I also have seen Saving Mr. Banks, so that lent the movie even more meaning. I remember asking my mom once during Mary Poppins, while Bert was talking/singing to Mr. Banks, why he was doing so. She told me he was trying to help him learn the lesson Mary Poppins was trying to teach him. I wasn’t entirely clear on what that lesson was. I’d often ask my mom questions about stuff I had already figured out just to hear what she would say, and often she’d say something I hadn’t thought of though basically agreeing with me.

So, that said. What do I think about the movie now that I’m older?

I think that in the end there are two basic messages of the film, and they are expressed in different ways through the whimsical things that happen.

The secondary message is that life needs a little wonder in it and a little fun in everything, or it isn’t worthwhile. I know that this movie influenced my attitude about chores and other tasks. I play music and sing when I clean just because it’s more fun  hat way and I’m more likely to finish the task. Oh the tedious hours of cleaning before I clued in to this trick. Ugh.

Now my mom might just listen to a radio talk show, or nothing at all, not everyone needs to use this method; but the point is, especially if you’re young, you don’t like grueling work.

And who doesn’t want a merry-go-round horse that can go off the carousal? I wish.

The funny thing is, though I didn’t like Mr. Banks, I knew he was right that those things weren’t real. Even Mary Poppins never admits that they were and seems affronted at even doing them half the time. I was that kid who grows up knowing Santa Claus isn’t real, and frankly the Easter Bunny was never appealing to me. And fairies aren’t real, and so on.

Yet I never ceased to enjoy stories aobut those things, or to wish in a way that they were real. And now I believe in them in a different sort of way.

I don’t believe that Santa Claus is real, but I believe in the possibility of things like Santa Claus. I don’t believe Mary Poppins is real, but I do believe that there are people just as wondrous as her who don’ get have the recognition. Remember that real life is stranger than fiction and their are weirder things than tea parties on the ceiling.

Heck, in the very same movie Mr. Banks references the Boston Tea Party, and that story is almost as odd as an actual tea part defying gravity.  I mean, colonists dressed as Native Americans? Seriously? Why would the Natives have thrown tea overboard? It was almost comical…funny. Like the tea party on the ceiling…hmm.

Anyway, the Primary message of Mary Poppins hits even closer to home. It’s about how adults can get to where they miss the little things that are so important.

You see, fixing the children’s kite, the tuppence, the feeding the birds, they are all of a piece. They are all little things. Things that seem to a busy man like a waste of time. He is focused on railroads, bridges, tea plantation, etc. All noble things perhaps (it’s debatable) but are they necessarily more important?

It’s an age old dilemma that adults have been trying to answer forever. Is it more important to be contributing the world in general and helping humanity or is it more important to be at home with your family making real memories. And people have answered it different ways. There’s a big movement now, especially among feminists and Hollywood, that we can have both.

But the fact is, that is almost impossible. Some few people can make it work, but most can’t prioritize family and work equally.

Which is more important? Mr. Banks comes to think that it is his family. Time goes by so fast, and kids will grow up, perhaps not hating their parents who neglected them, but never having that kind of bond with them that kids who felt valued did.

I can personally attestify to this. Once childhood is gone, it’s gone. Adult children can become close to their parents even after years of estrangement, but it’s a different kind o close. It can be just as good but never just as innocent as the first.

That’s why we need to treasure childhood instead of trying to rid ourselves of it, as Mr. Banks does at first.

The spoon full of sugar metaphor is pretty clear, a little sweetness is not hard to give, and it pays dividends in relationships.

The fixing of the kite ties all three metaphors together. The tuppence for paper and string, the kite, and the sweetness even after the medicine of being fired and disgraced.

Little things are important.

As an author and a reader I notice how often in stories little events end up being what the whole ending is hinged on. Often our Salvation turns on the smallest thing.

Big things are important of course, but the secret may actually be that big things are composed of many small things suddenly coming together. That’s my experience.

Those are my thoughts, until next time–Natasha.

Graduation!

I have an announcement: I graduated highschool! Diploma and all.

It’s official now, my diploma arrived today.

Homeschoolers have to take the test a little differential than the public schoolers do. by the way, I’m pretty sure only homeschoolers even use the term public-schoolers.

You know what’s funny is how often people forget I’m home schooled after I tell them and when I remind them they’re like “Oh, right.”

I on the other hand have a hard time keeping public or private schools straight. Actually I tend not to think of people in connection with school at all. Which to an adult I’m sure is normal. And I guess now I don’t have to worry aobut it anymore.

Anyway, so I had to go to the Adult education center near where I live and take a special equivalency test. Which generally only people who’s second language is English, or who had to drop out of highschool for some reason take. The general assumption being you want to be able to say you’re a highschool graduate on your job applications or you just want to have more self respect.

Well, I guess I fit into both those categories. I was getting really tired of saying I was still in high school and not even knowing what grade I was in. And I’m pretty sure it affected my job hunting.

But the test was a breeze and I passed with more than enough. I actually scored as high as possible in three subjects, not to brag or anything.

And one of those three was math. Which is by far my least favorite subject and one I profess no real skill in.

Well it turns out I understand some things better than I thought and other things not as well as I hoped.

Other than that though, the test really tells you nothing. I can say that now that I’ve been through the process. The information covered can’t really prepare you for life, all it can do is tell you you retained basic knowledge of the world around you and how it functions. And to be honest, I guessed at a lot of answers.

Really that Id id so well I attribute to the Grace of God. Though many people would tell you I’m super smart. (I know because they’ve told me to my face.)

Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. I don’t know what smart really is nowadays. And smart and wise are two different things. But I am glad to not have to do geometry anymore.

I’m not going to tell you that now that I’ve completed required schooling I’ve had this big revelation about how sort life is, how much more value I need to put on my time, and how unprepared I am for the future.

That wouldn’t be true. Because it didn’t take graduation for me to start thinking aobut hose things.

I also am not a fan of being worked up over how short our time is. Because time is going to pass whether you worry about it or not. And I’ve tried to run ahead and get more impressive stuff done and it has never worked for me.

My life right now isn’t glamorous. It’s not that fulfilling from an outside perspective. And nit’s not the life I would want to lead for years. But my life isn’t empty either.

You want to know what I started doing as soon as I graduated? I went back to studying languages every day. Something I couldn’t find time for before with my other obligations but now I’m free to do. I didn’t start just because I graduated, but because I want to. I enjoy it.

I have plans to start some heavier reading again. I’m already reading more.

Once I have a job my schedule will change of course, but at least I won’t have to worry about keeping up with school (until college.)

Never tell me reading isn’t a good preparation for graduating. That test was mostly reading.

So if you’re home-schooled and haven’t graduated, or if you’re thinking about homeschooling, don’t stress it is my advice. Just pace yourself.

The way I see it I’m a few years ahead of a lot of millennials because I’m already wondering at eighteen what they might be wondering at nineteen or twenty, so maybe I’ll figure it out sooner.

Anyway, this had probably been unnecessarily long since it’s just my thoughts on my personal life, but I hope you enjoyed. Until next time–Natasha.

 

Stranger than fiction.

Stranger than fiction.

It’s the title of a movie, I’ll bet there’s probably a book called that too. It’s also an old saying “Real life is stranger than fiction.”

You know what’s funny to me? How demanding we are now about our entertainment. There are still folks who aren’t picky. But especially among millennials and younger, we’ve got a lot of critics who want to find their fiction believable.

I’m guilty of this too, and hey, it’s not exactly wrong. I’m all for having standards. It’s not that that bothers me.

It’s that these standards are often ridiculous.

Fiction creators are held up to almost impossible standards. Everything that happens in their imaginary world needs to line up with everything else. They get criticized if there’s a detour into a subject unrelated to the main plot, even though if all of a story is just about one main plot, it can be flat and lacking in depth. If their characters aren’t funny or really emotional, than they’re flat. (It couldn’t just be that not everyone has to be either really funny or really volatile. Or stoic.)

They get accused of making characters stereotypical or cliche, but are also expected to play into certain stereotypes like “strong female character” or “doubtful hero,” or “compelling villain.”

We put a lot on these poor folks who just want to tell us an interesting story. Some of the most beloved stories of all time don’t make sense, that’s part of their charm.

And we’d be wise to take a look at why that is, and learn from it.

Take “Alice in Wonderland” for example. If you are western European, you have heard of this story. It used to be the number one required children’s book in England. It may still be. (Google it someone.) This story is famously nonsensical. But I like how Jim Weiss described such nonsense. “It makes sense, but in it’s own whimsical way.”

Alice runs into a lot of silliness, but mixed in with all that are some important lessons in humor error and in logic and the value of certain things. IT also turns a lot of the phrase we use on our own heads, and so teaches us that words ae important. In fact books like the Alice books, and the Phantom Tollbooth, and Mary Poppins, all foster a love of words in the reader. I sound like the prolouge to a classic by an editor, but it’s true nonetheless.

But what I find most important of all about these books is that they challenge the persepctive on life that even children may take too seriously. Alice i a know-it-all, Milo
(Tollbooth) is bored and finds nothing around him to be worthwhile, and Jane and Michael tend to be close minded about new things. The whimsical things that happen to all of those children teach them to enjoy life more and see wonder in things that they never paid attention to. The Narnia books do the same thing in a more gentle and subtle way.

And it’s good for all of us to have to stretch our minds to see things a different way. To understand that there may be different rules than the ones we know, or that we may just only know part of the story.

Okay, so what do my two subjects have to do with each other? I’m getting to that.

We have two choices in life, ladies in gentlemen, and all our important decisions will fall into one of these categories. Good and Bad.

But good doesn’t just mean moral, it means good for you.

And our attitude toward fiction is way more important to our well being than we give it credit for.

We can either demand that we understand every little thing, in every single part, after just one time with a story. Or, we can let it sink in a little deeper, and move us; or puzzle us and thereby cause us to think and hopefully to grow.

See, all this criticism and nitpicking, it’s our way of trying to protect ourselves. Not even from bad ideas, but just from liking things that it would somehow reflect badly on us to like. We don’t want to be fooled again.

There is some wisdom in that, but we have carried it way too far as a culture. It’s really just used to keep us from ever being challenged in the way we look at things. Because as long as we can pick something to pieces, we don’t have to admit it has a point. And as long as we can assign whatever meaning we want to it (whether it be less or more than the creator intended) then we don’t have to ask ourselves what the actual meaning was.

If we can explain it, then it can’t hurt us.

That’s what we think.

But if everything must be explained, then I’ll be the first to say fiction is fiction indeed.

Nothing in fiction is more unreal than when it all makes sense. Because if you haven’t noticed, real life does not make sense.

In real life, things happen for a reason, but it’s not always a reason we know. Or like. In real life phenomenons take place that we can’t understand or explain. In real life, outcomes are not always predictable. Most of all, in real life things cannot be dismissed just because we disagree with them or find fault with them. We actually have to work out problems in real life.

That’s why I take fiction seriously. Because it ought to be helping us deal with real life, since fiction is actually far simpler.

So demanding it be perfect is demanding something you are never going to see in this life. And demanding it be compelling is pointless. Because most fiction can’t force you to be compelled, you have to choose whether to care or not. And it’s no big surprise that those who don’t care about fictional events on the basis that it’s boring will not care about real events in a deep way.

Life is most definitely stranger than fiction, and the best fiction reminds us of that fact so we can become more flexible.

Those are my thoughts for now, until next time–Natasha.

Guardians of the Galaxy vol #2

I held off saying anything about this move until I’d actually seen it, and now I finally have! (celebratory noises.)

I do think it had way more inappropriate humor than necessary and earns that PG-13 rating in full. And it had a lot of gross stuff, more than the first one.

That’s only superficial elements. What was this movie about?

I agree with the other people who reviewed it, it’s about family, parenthood, forgiveness, and how pride gets in the way of really bonding with people.

This film is about how friends can be better than family because it’s not blood that makes loyalty but the choice of the person. There’s actually a verse in Proverbs about it “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs was written by Solomon, who had brothers who wanted to kill him, so his point of view makes sense.

I found Nebula a little disconcerting, something about her is always kind of sadist and psyco and even though you know she’s had a horrible life I don’t think trying to kill your sister is okay, even if they were bad. I also have to say Gomorrah “joking” about killing Nebula didn’t seem in character after the first film in which she made it a point to try to get her on their side.

Am I nitpicking? Maybe.

But by far the biggest concern to me personally is the character of Ego. I’m aware that some people out there probably think he’s supposed to represent God. Or Jesus. Because I’ve seen hints of theories like that, though I have yet to watch or read any.

But now that I’ve seen the film, I do see some similarities (on the surface) between Christ and Ego. Actually, it’s my theory that the movie was parodying the whole trinity. But Christ especially, because Ego is all like “Oh I walked among them and took their form and then I decided I wanted to fill the universe with copies of me.”

A person could make the argument, and I wouldn’t blame them, that this is a lot like what the Bible says Jesus did. He became flesh, dwelt among us, and he wants to make us like him. (Like him, not into him.)

That doesn’t sound at all creepy to me, I was raised hearing it, but the way the movie portrayed it, I suddenly saw how it could seem creepy to someone else. And it should.

Because if that was all there was to the story, I’d be freaked out too.

Ego is all about himself, he doesn’t even really seem to care about being worshipped, except by Peter, though he enjoys the admiration he gets. He just wants everything to be made of the same matter as himself.

He also has killed off all of his children as soon as they let him down, and some would see a parallel to God in this also. (A false one, but still.)

And no, I’m not afraid to bring all this up, and I admit that on the surface, it might look right.

But here’s a Christian’s perspective on this:

You could believe that God is like Ego, but God is way more powerful, and also just. Which Ego is not.

Actually you know who Ego really resembles? Satan.

I’m not kidding. There’s this part of the movie where Ego is going on about how “We will do all this…” and he lists several things. Is sounds eerily like a passage in the Bible where Lucifer is saying “I will be like The Most High.” a.k.a. “I will be like God.”

And you remember when Ego said that he was a small “g” god, at least on days he was feeling as humble as Drax?

The defining characteristic of God is Love. You know what Ego is another word for? Pride. Which is the defining characteristic of Lucifer.

Yep.

And actually, everything Ego did, Christians believe Satan either did or will do. Right down to making biological life forms. It may seem bizarre, but our own scientists are already able to do that, so…

In fact, the similarities to Christ can all be attributed to the fact that The devil will become the antichrist. Which you don’t have to believe is true to acknowledge that it is still biblical.

And in my mind, Ego is that. For he does not love, he rejects love as weak (like the devil;) he wants to remove free will (like the devil) and he wants to destroy all other life save what he can use (like the devil.)

I understand that this is all my own perspective, and some people out there might think I’m conveniently transferring all the clues into a picture I actually like. And maybe I am.

I won’t deny, I do wonder if the director of the movie is trying to mock God, or show contempt for our ideals. But the fact of the matter is, no one can successfully mock God.

The only way people can do that is by inventing things about him to mock. People do this to other people anyway. much more to beings they can’t understand.

Whether James Gunn meant to mock God; meant to show how pride twists all attributes; or just meant to tell an interesting story with a  metaphor; I can’t say. But that he does not know how true that metaphor actually is, I have no doubt.

One thing I do appreciate is how all the characters seemed to sense something was wrong about Ego and his planet, and I certainly got that impression watching it. There was something uncanny about it.

One more point: Ego made matter from himself, but even he was obviously created, because when he came to consciousness there were other life forms in existence. There was other matter. This again fits in with him being like the devil, but it also raise the question, where did all that other matter come from?

I don’t expect Marvel to ever actually admit there’s a God in their films. But I still think the existence of superheroes only makes sense in that context. That could just be me.

Anyway, I hope some of this made sense. Until next time–Natasha.

 

 

 

Shallow Hal

“Shallow Hal wants a gal,” that line sums up most of this movie.

Whether or not you’ve heard of this story specifically, I’m sure you’ve heard that Beauty is not only skin deep, and it’s about what’s inside.

That’s all well and good. But does this movie make that point well?

Here’s the good and bad of Shallow Hal.

Good: Hal is a loser, who’s trying to find a hottie to go out with, but he’s not that good looking, so most of the hotties he meets aren’t interested in him. Even his neighbor, Jill, who’s less shallow, is disgusted by his shallowness and not interested.

But after a self-help guru helps him broaden his horizons (sort of) Hal starts getting successful with the hotties he’s flirting with. They seem a bit surprised by his attentions, but they go along. Then he meets Rosemary, a blonde beauty with a great personality who’s also really nice. He’s scored big time!

Until he finds out that he’d be seeing everyone as they are on the inside.

Long story short, Hal gets over his shock, and his shallowness because he’s fallen in love with Rosemary for who she really is. They go off to live happily ever after (after a few hurdles he has to clear.)

Bad: This movie’s number one sin is how stereotypical it is. The whole plot almost revolves around stereotypes. Even though the guru says “We’re all brainwashed to see certain things as beautiful, by society.” (I paraphrase.)

But the movie implies that society is partly right. If a girl is nice, smart, and funny, then she’s obviously not pretty. Or she’s pretty but doesn’t realize it. And there is some evidence in Rosemary’s character to support this. She’s pretty, in her own way, but believes she’s ugly and fat. She is fat, but Hal still thinks she’s beautiful when he finally sees her at the end.

But what made me kind of annoyed is that anytime we, as the audience, see Rosemary in a good light is when she looks like Gweneth Paltrow, who plays her. Whenever we see her as fat, she’s always being insecure, upset, and otherwise less desirable. We don’t get to see her humor or smarts except when she looks pretty.

This might seem to defy the stereotype that pretty girls are stupid or mean, but it really doesn’t. We know the whole time what she really looks like, The effect is that at the end it’s hard to see why Hal is attracted to her, since we’ve never seen chemistry between him and her in her real form.

Say as much as you like about what her real form actually is, it still doesn’t work in the context of  movie where you need to be able to see it.

Also, I find it offensive that the movie doesn’t give one example of a pretty girl in real life who was also pretty on the inside. Other than Rosemary that is. I’m not sure she counts.

Possibly there were one or two, but we don’t see for sure, so it seems incomplete. Also there’s no example of an ugly person who was ugly on the inside.

The movie ignores the fact that inner beauty makes outer beauty and inner ugliness makes outer ugliness. Which is a tried and true fact. Lots of people have observed it and written of it.

It’s a valid point to make that Hal never was looking for either inner beauty or ugliness, so of course he missed both.

But does that help us as the audience? The movie lays down no real guidelines as to discerning inner beauty, other than that someone does things which are culturally perceived as nice.

But wouldn’t even a beauty want to help her Grandma?

Couldn’t people working at the Peace Corp have bad motives?

The nurse at the hospital does indeed look ugly, and act ugly. But we never see her in real life to know if she was pretty on the outside or if she was ugly there too.

We just don’t know.

Maybe I am asking more of this movie than it ever meant to give. I think Shallow Hal is what it intended to be. A slightly different take on a Romantic Comedy in which instead of a girl getting a makeover, a man has to learn to accept her how she is.

But I don’t think it’s true that society has brainwashed us all into perceiving beauty. Different cultures have different ideas of beauty, yes. (Sometimes that can work out in your favor.)

But it would be incredibly racist, as well as untrue, to say that our culture blinds us to the beauty of people in other cultures.

White people can find African American’s attractive; American’s can find Asians attractive; and in many cultures looking American is seen as an enviable thing because they associate wealth and strength with America. While in other cases, looking Jewish or African has made people uglier to countries that hated them.

Sometimes that hatred actually takes advantage of the beauty in those races.

But the point I’m making is, beauty is universally acknowledged. And most people wouldn’t argue about external features being beautiful. Even if they have a different taste.

Just because you like tall, dark, and handsome doesn’t mean you find short or blonde unattractive.

So this brainwashing line of reasoning doesn’t hold up.

The verdict:

In the end Shallow Hal is more about how love makes you desirable than it is about how our culture is wrong about its standards. It’s an okay movie, but there are better sources for the subject of superficiality.

Hope you enjoyed, until next time–Natasha.