Fairytales?

For today’s post I am going to talk about one of my favorite things- fairytales.  Seeherinthemovies has a post called “Disney, what’s up with your Villainesses?” In this post she compares many of the different Disney princesses to their Villain.  At the end of her post she poses the question… “[What] impact [does] this [have] on children, specifically young girls?”  Seeherinthemovies never answers this question, but I am going to.  I am going to address the influence classic Disney fairytales have on children.

One thing Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Tangled, have in common is a clear and distinct- good and bad.  In real life nothing is as distinct, but that is what gives these movies their charm.  The princesses without a shadow of a doubt represent the good- “Snow White is graceful, kind, beautiful, and the stereotypical image of the perfect girl. Snow White is truly ‘the fairest of them all.’” And “Cinderella is beautiful, charming, and has a heart of gold. Even becoming the maid to her own household can’t harden her heart. Her grace so apparent, even the mice love her.”  While women who occupy many different roles- (ex. evil stepmother, evil queen, and a false mother,) are easily determined as bad.  This obvious distinction makes it easy for young girls to see and understand the difference between good and evil.  To many young girls, these princesses “shine as lights in the world.”  These Disney princesses represent perfect girls; they radiate innocence, and whole hearts.  Personally, I think this exposure to innocence is good for the younger generations.  Philippians 2:15 says, “That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”  As I said before Cinderella is a light, a role model, to young girls.

I think my opinion would be different if the Princesses were only beautiful, but they have so many other traits that label them as good.  However, Disney Fairytales need to be viewed with caution, our younger generations need to be aware that our worth is not based on our beauty, and if not explained these movies can do just that.  I am going to refer back to Proverbs 31:30, which says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  As an older generation it is our job and our duty to teach this lesson.  The fairytales can only do so much.  Learning right from wrong is a hard thing to do, and fairytales take our young girls through this lesson.


The Need To Be… Loved?

Is there a difference?

There really is no difference between these two pictures.  They both tell us how women should look.  No matter the century, there is a standard women are held to, a standard which informs them of how good they are.  In the 14th century women wanted to be plump, the roundness showed off their wealth.  In the 1900’s women wanted a round curvaceous figure to attract men.  Today women want to be skinny- stick thin to be more exact.

The media surrounds us with pictures and movies full of “perfect” women.  These pictures serve as voices- voices that tell us that our self-worth comes from our bodies.   Which, it doesn’t.  There are three words that fit together, self-worth, wanted, and love.  Every human being has a desire to be loved, it is part of who we are, and there is no way around it.  The problem is that women have begun to confuse being wanted with love.  The circle of these three words completes itself when you realized that “want” stems from self-worth.  Women are seemingly brain washed into believing that they need to be sickly skinny, and what the media defines as beautiful, to be loved.  Love and Lust are not synonyms.  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Nowhere in the bible, or in common sense for that matter, does it say that we need our bodies to be loved.  God loves us for who we are, not for what society tells us we should be.  Real love is true and has no judgment.  “The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.  I will build you up again.” (Jeremiah 31:3) Love, lust, and self-worth do not fit together like a puzzle; do not trick yourself into believing this.  Instead believe in these three… “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)


Feminism is For Everyone

Feminism is for everyone.  No matter what you see or hear it is not just for liberals.  Sure, there are some topics that we will never see eye to eye on, but that is not the point.  There are nit picky issues that tell us we aren’t feminists.  Whether it is because we are pro-life, or because we wear purity rings, we have become alienated.  But here is the thing; women cannot better themselves if half of the gender is not behind the force.  The American Heritage Dictionary definition of feminism is “the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”  Trust me, there is nothing wrong with this at all.  Who doesn’t want to earn the same amount as the man who has the same job?  Who doesn’t want to not have to worry about sexual harassment and rape?  These are the big grand issues- and these issues anyone can get behind.  Forget about the stuff you don’t agree with, and think about how much better certain aspects of feminism could make our society.  It is okay to pick and choose- we do this every day.  I am a romantic and a Christian to boot.  There are quite a few things I believe in whole-heartedly that rub against the feminist agenda.  But I am adding a new label to my list- feminist.  The point of being a feminist is to want to be equal to men- not dominant.  The world has enough dominance for all of eternity.  One of the most important issues that feminists need (and are trying) to tackle, is that of sexual assault. Women walk around this planet scared witless while most men are not even aware that their behavior scares us.  Some men even believe that even what is considered illegal is not wrong.  What are we doing letting our friends make comments, stand up for yourself- not only for your good but also for theirs! Men need to understand when they cross the line, because they can’t always see it.  Another issue feminist’s tackle is that of respect.  Lets face it, would you respect someone who did not respect herself?  Personally? Never.  If we want men to respect us, we need to show them, that we respect ourselves.  Lets be those princesses we wanted to be when we were little.  The kind that knew exactly who they were, and walked around with their head held high.  We need to be the kind of women God made us.  We can no longer hide behind our weaknesses.  Strength overshadows weakness- let you strengths show.  Lets go after our dreams, no matter our differences.


Note…

I know that my post- “You are More”- does not seem to directly relate to women.  This was an issue that I felt compelled to talk about based on my past week.  I needed to write this and every women out there needs to read it.  I however did not have the heart to put the word “women” in my post, because the issue of forgiveness and labeling is for everyone.  Female, male, young, or old, you hold on to your sin.  It is hard to believe that something as good as forgiveness is meant for us.  It is.  It is as simple as that.  Let it go, you are more.

God’s Love & Grace be with you.


You Are More

Everyone makes mistakes.  It is the way of the world.  There is not one perfect person walking on this earth.  Do you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Who am I? Who have I become?”  Do you carry the weight of your mistakes on your shoulders?  This is what society has done to us.  As we go through our lives the consequences of our decisions stalk us.  The society that surrounds us has drilled it into our minds and bodies that our mistakes define us.  We have become walking labels.  But it is worse than society defining us.  Instead of society, we define ourselves.  We write across our own foreheads our failures.  But here is the thing…

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,

You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,

But what’s been done for you.

This is not about where you’ve been,

But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,

But what He felt to forgive you,

And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more- Tenth Avenue North

The thing is, you are more.  Your past mistakes are not tallied upon your head.  You are forgiven.  First John 2:12 says, “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” Forgiveness is simple; your sins are washed away.  But letting go of your sin is harder.  Because society teaches us to hold on we feel obligated, we feel shame for what we have done.  From living experience I can tell you that it is harder to live with the weight of your sin on your shoulders than to give it away.  Jesus died to save us from this burden.  Let him take it away.  Colossians 2:13-14 says, “When you were dead in you sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”  God has made you more than your mistakes.  Live that way.  Do not be afraid to shed the layers of your guilt.  If someone tells you not to, look them in the eye and say, “I am more.”  Because you are more, you are loved, you are valued, and you are cherished.  You are God’s beloved creation.  He died for you.  You are more.


Innocence- Gone with the Wind

In 1811 every girl’s goal was to be “innocent.”  200 years later, the goal every woman strives for is to be “sexy.”  In two centuries the sought after image in women has made a 180 degree turn.  The majority of women have an internal desire, a cultural role, to get married.  As girls we are raised to become wives.  I remember playing house as a child and dreaming about my wedding and my future husband.  200 years ago girls grew up knowing they were meant to be a wife, it was their “calling in life.”  The basic structure of marriage has not changed in all these years, but everything other than the foundation seems to be different.

In today’s society, when a girl looses her virginity it is treated almost as a celebration, a ceremony from childhood to adulthood.  Loosing ones virginity has become a right of passage, something easily accepted.  In 1811 if a girl lost her virginity, she was deflowered, ruined.  She was seemingly cast from society.  No one would marry her; in that one act she would have thrown away the life she had worked for.   200 years ago no one would marry you if you were ruined, today seemingly no one will marry you if you are a virgin.  The desire for innocence has gone with the wind.  One of my least favorite phrases is “You’re the kind of girl I would want to marry, not the kind I would date.”  Excuse me here, but is it not normal in this day and age for one to date before they get married?  Do they plan on proposing before they date me?  Well good luck to them because I would surely say no, but I will not change for them either.

This phenomenon is true; we are pressured by men and women alike to be sexy.  Every woman has her own reasons for being or not being sexually active.  For those of us who are not sexually active we seem to be in the minority.  When push comes to shove we come back to two alternatives in our heads.  One, we see the pool of available men shrinking before our eyes and ease up on our values, or two, we trust that God has a plan for us.  My vote is for the latter.  Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11 says, “‘for I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”  If we have faith, God will provide.  There is no need for us to cave to the pressure society presses upon us.  God has a plan for us, and it is better than anything we could ever imagine.  Stay strong.  Be who you are and believe what you believe.  Don’t be daunted by what society says.  Live by what God says.  “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.”  1 cor. 13:13.


Something Beautiful

Sociologically speaking every culture has a different definition for the word beauty.  When flipping through my sociology textbook I came across a page with the title “different forms of beauty.”  On this page were pictures of women from 8 vastly unique countries, each face unrecognizable to the one beside it.  Every culture has designated some form of unreachable perfection to which every woman strives.  We all feel the pressure that we place on ourselves to be appealing to those around us.  Society has taught us to place beauty on our list of self-value.  Seven Billion dollars is spent annually in the United States on cosmetic products and procedures to help us reach this standard in which we have set.  A glance in the mirror shows us a few things we wish could be different.  A photograph seems to circle all of our imperfections and place them right under our nose.  There is hardly anything worse than standing in front of the mirror wondering if you should loose a few pounds, even if you are already considered underweight.  Trust me I’ve been there.  I always try to deny it.  I pretend that I don’t really have to look a certain way.  I say that I am who I am and I know who I am.  For the most part that is true, but why do I wake up some mornings and frown when I see my face in the fogged up mirror.  Why do I not want to eat that delicious soft serve in the cafeteria?  Why can’t I always believe that I am loved for who I am?  Why do I try to change myself for what society considers better?  Why?  The simple question is why do we do this to ourselves?  God loves us for who we are, we are more valuable to Him than we can imagine no matter what we look like.

Proverbs 31:30 says something that I tend to forget as I get caught up in the whirlwind known as being beautiful.  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  When someone calls us beautiful we get butterflies in our stomachs, we feel praised, and we feel wonderful; but sometime down the paths of our lives that same person will not be so kind.  It is a cycle we get caught up in.  We feel a need to be praised, to be charmed by those around us.  But this charm that we seek is not always true, and it never lasts forever.    The charm does not last, nor does the beauty.  No matter how hard we try, we will never become the perfect model on the cover of a magazine.  The girl on the cover is not even the same girl as the one in front of the camera.  Beauty is fleeting; when we strive for it we waste our energies on something not important in the eye of God.  We should be the woman who “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20)  We should strive to be the woman whom “speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)  We should be the woman who fears the Lord.  For Proverbs 31:31 says “Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”  Though I often forget it, we are something beautiful.  God’s love is something beautiful.  Human charm and human beauty fade away.  But God’s charm and God’s beauty are everlasting.  That in its self is something beautiful.