OK, maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I blame a LOT of today’s depression in women on chick flicks. I have been thinking about this lately, on and off, but today I received an email from an expert in digital media who detailed what a successful video game or guy movie must have. The differences between girl and guy fantasies couldn’t be more different, and I think we need to look at them.
Phil Leigh of Inside Digital Media shares the “Hero Myth” created by Christopher Vogler, a Hollywood screenwriter. It goes as follows:
- The hero is introduced in his ordinary world
- where he receives the call to adventure
- Initially he is reluctant
- but is encouraged by a wise elder to cross the first threshold
- where he encounters tests and helpers
- He reaches the innermost cave
- where he endures the supreme ordeal
- He seizes the treasure
- and is pursued on the road back to his world
- He is transformed by the experience
- He returns to his ordinary world
- with a treasure to benefit his world.
It pretty much sounds like all guy adventure movies, and particularly reminds me of “Clash of the Titans” or “The Lightning Thief”. Notice, the guys are CONQUERING, FIGHTING, WINNING, all very proactive and challenging. Must be the hunter in them, because although it might be kind of entertaining for me to watch, I do NOT want to be that hero.
In “What Makes A Chick Flick Click”, these are the characteristics of the movies we love to watch over and over:
- “The everywoman heroine First of all you must have the right heroine: an everywoman that most women can identify with, a woman with as many flaws as the rest of us, who eats chocolate in bed, gets dumped by her boyfriend, but still manages to conquer all by the end of the film…And the heroine must learn something during her journey.”
- “Cute hero Then comes the hero. Let’s not beat around the bush – he has to be cute, cute, cute. But not necessarily in a conventional way. Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and his floppy hair may do it for some, but for others it’s Colin Firth, Christian Slater, Rob Lowe, Johnny Depp or, yes, even Jack Nicholson.”
- “A cast of friends (and I don’t mean the sitcom) Mix in one, or even better a whole slew of best friends, a la Four Weddings or St Elmo’s Fire.”
What do women want? To be loved, admired, pursued, taken care of, and protected – FOREVER AFTER.
So why is this mixture so incredibly dangerous? It’s dangerous because the more I watch these fake movie lives I can’t live and these perfect men I can’t have, the more unsatisfied and disappointed I become with the imperfect life and relationships I now have.
Maybe our man isn’t as cute or funny or romantic as this screenwritten hero. Maybe our friends aren’t always there when we need them (or we are actually isolated and don’t have easy access to friends). Somebody needs to slap the stupid out of us and help us deal with REAL LIFE, the kind that gets boring, and lonely, but that in the long run, is probably better than most other people’s lives if we really knew what they went through.
Chick flicks also lead us to fantasize about a life where this Hollywood story would be true. We will even create characters for our fantasy out of people that we meet or have seen. That guy at work or at church who just seems so perfect – what would it be like to be with him? I’ll tell you what it would be like – pretty much like your life is now! He will simply aggravate you in different ways than your present mate.
I just wish we could see the sequel to each of those romantic stories, showing the everyday grind that our heroines have to go through after they get their man. I liked the old Carol Burnett skit that shows Snow White 15 years after she gets her prince – she’s complaining about how NOT happily ever after life is! Click here for the link to that video on YouTube.
Therefore, the scripture I’ve chosen for today is Ecclesiastes 2:24-26:
24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
The gift of God to the man who pleases Him is to be able to find enjoyment and happiness in every day life. Everyday food and drink taste better (and can be enjoyed in smaller quantities) and our existing relationships are more enjoyable when we are willing to accept the fact that they are NOT designed to bring us lasting satisfaction or bring us a “happily ever after”. They are only here to bring us tastes of the happiness and satisfaction we will only find in heaven.
Many of us know only the first four lines of “The Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr. The rest of it is really the secret of serenity, peace and satisfaction:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Stop comparing your circumstances to some happier life you have erroneously imagined exists in an alternate world (or with some alternate person). God CAN bring you enjoyment, peace and instances of happiness if you will accept it from Him in the way He designates. Watch chick flicks if you like, but remind yourself that this is a movie, and that 99.9% of the actresses and actors in Hollywood never find a life or hero like in their movies. Ask God for the ability to see the good things in your life, and the grace to enjoy and be thankful for every little bit of happiness that comes your way.