Who am I? What do I stand for?

Because hypocrisy is something I loathe especially in myself, I've always tried to look myself squarely in the mirror, facing who I truly am; rejecting a false image created by me and for me. Sometimes I feel satisfied and content with who I am. At other times, when facing my flaws and inconsistencies, the mirror is painful and difficult.

I'm asking myself a few questions this week. And I'm hoping to inspire you, my readers, to ask these questions of yourselves as well. You don't need to share your answers with me. I just want you to contemplate the questions in your own heart and find your answers honestly. And I'd like you to be tuned into any defensiveness you may feel -- because defensiveness tells us something about ourselves. When we feel defensive, it's an indication that we feel the need to protect something from being exposed. Sometimes that exposure involves no one but ourselves.

If we face something, we have to deal with it. If we deny it, we don't.

So here goes with the questions...
  • Who am I?
  • What do I stand for?
  • What do I value?
  • How important is entertainment in my life?
  • Am I more likely to sacrifice entertainment for values or values for entertainment?
  • Where would I draw the line in the entertainment I embrace?

Please keep in mind: The thoughts I am attempting to share and inspire in this post are not limited to one impending movie release. But this one movie release can serve as an example and a catalyst.

I'm a Christian. So my convictions about the entertainment I embrace is (hopefully!) influenced by those values. But I don't exercise those choices perfectly. I've watched things I wouldn't watch if Jesus were in the room with me. (Oh, that's right; he's always with me. I do tend to conveniently forget that. Do you as well?) Since I don't have a flawless record of consistently choosing what Jesus would choose, I'm not going to approach this hypocritically and lecture anyone on morality. I don't have credibility with myself and, as I've already said, I loathe my own hypocrisy.

I am hoping to challenge Christians and non-Christians alike with this post. So I'm intentionally not making it about Christianity.

Movies are not simply entertainment. Movies deliver messages to viewers. They influence us as individuals right along with shaping our culture as a whole. Certain movies/books deliver hope and inspiration, lessons from history, a heightened awareness of the need for social change. But some movies simply desensitize us and cultivate through entertainment an acceptance of harmful messages and outright lies that can (and do) lead to the destruction of lives.

I believe we have a responsibility to ourselves and others as we cast our "vote" for the kind of entertainment we want with the dollars we spend on being entertained. Do you?


Is the enjoyment/gratification/consumption of entertainment your higher priority?

I'm not judging. I'm simply asking you to ask yourself why...

Why would 80 minutes of entertainment or curiosity about steamy sex involving violence and exploitation be so important to you (and valued by you) that you would choose to deny and disregard the harmful impact of this entertainment?

The movie I'm referencing is obviously 50 Shades of Grey. I have not read the books or seen the movie. This is not a review of either. But I do know the storyline (as told to me by readers and legitimate reviewers) and have sat through numerous trailers and interviews. This story glamorizes and romanticizes sexual violence and male domination ... and full-throttle narcissism. The happy ending suggests that a sexually damaged man can be healed through the love of a submissive participant in his sexual violence and domination. By writing her as a willing participant, the submissive woman's victimization is denied. The director even goes so far as to claim she is empowered. And as a society we are "buying" the lie that is being "sold" to us. How can so many WOMEN be buying this and selling it to other women???? I am so disheartened by the reality that women are going to be lining up to see this movie by the millions.

Perhaps, sadly, one has to have been a victim or know victims personally to realize how dangerous this lie is, but I wish some of you would wake up and believe those of us who know the truth.

This film may not result in your life being destroyed, but does it matter to you that it WILL result in someone else's life being ravaged and destroyed? Can you live comfortably with the reality that there will be young women who buy into this lie and submit to a violent man in the hope that her love and submission will ultimately heal and change him? Because THAT is the harsh reality and the truth. Is your 80 minutes of entertainment more important to you than that reality? Are you comfortable with your financial support of this message? Would you want someone important to you to be influenced by this message? And if so, shouldn't all women -- their safety and dignity -- be important to you?

My questions are intentionally blunt and direct. I'm hoping to encourage as many of you as I can to boycott this movie even if you are dying to see it. Why? Because I long for our values and principles and concern for the suffering of others to trump entertainment value and escapism ... and the narcissism of making our entertainment and gratification the highest priority in our choices. Please donate the money you would spend on theater tickets to a women's shelter, because that's where women like Anastasia end up in real life.

The following excerpt is taken from The Guardian:

"Men like Christian Grey are never loved out of battery and brutality; they just keep getting more drunk on their power over women. Battered women's shelters and graveyards are full of women who had the misfortune to meet a Christian Grey.
Fifty Shades glamourised and eroticised violence against women and rebranded it as romance. No doubt the film version will do the same, because a film with a happy ending always makes for a good "chick flick". Films that tell the truth about sexual sadists like Christian Grey – films where we see broken bones, black eyes, funerals and motherless, traumatised children – don't seem to generate the same profits. One of the last things Stella says to serial killer Paul [ in  The Fall ] should be said to all those who have already profited from Fifty Shades, the book, and who stand to profit from the film:

"You try to dignify what you do, but it is misogyny. Age-old male violence against women."