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Thursday, July 5, 2012

I object...ify?

Recently, I made a decision that surprised even myself. I decided that I would not be going to the movies to see the much-anticipated chick flick, Magic Mike. The reason for this is not that I am a prude or that I feel that I am somehow above watching movies about male dancers. The reason for this is that I have had such a strong opinion over the years about how men objectify women that it would not make much sense for me to go out and do basically what I have thought was abusive to women all these years. 

The idea of a movie featuring both Matthew McConnaughey and Channing Tatum is appealing, but it's the subject matter that I was somewhat loathe to accept as okay. I am a Christian woman and although I make mistakes and I may do things from time to time that seem questionable to other Christians, there are some things that I have personal objections to not only as a Christian, but as a woman. Fighting for equality and empowerment does not include treating men in the same way that we say they shouldn't treat women.

So, with this inner struggle taking place, I decided that I would forego the film in favor of watching movies that present these men in their best light. Movies that seek to appreciate them as men and not as sex objects. I thought this was pretty good considering I generally have very little willpower. This is kind of like a chocaholic passing up a plate of fudge brownies.  For me, it's a step in the right direction.

Along those same lines, the issue of self-control has always played a huge role in my life.  It's never been a strength and it has always presented challenges.  Since I've been trying to be a better person and develop my relationship with God, the issue of self-control keeps rearing its ugly head.  This movie is just one of many tests that I have had to take recently and though it may seem like a trivial thing to some, it represents some growth on my part.  And this type of growing is very difficult.  It's tough to know how much leeway to give oneself when you're trying to make positive changes.  This is especially true when you know that you've not been quite diligent enough in some areas all along.  God doesn't expect us to be perfect.  To the contrary, He expects us to make mistakes and to be uncertain about whether or not we are on the right track from time to time.  These are the times we are supposed to lean more heavily on Him and allow His word to guide us toward the right decisions.  That's what He's here for.  He's not sitting up there waiting for us to trip up so He can jerk the rug out from under us. 

As a writer, I have had to tone down some of what I write as I've tried to walk more closely with Him.  Some of the things I would say in my books before were not what I would call necessary for any other reason than to glorify myself.  Since that is not what I am trying to do these days, I felt it would be more genuine and beneficial to the message I am trying to get across in my writing if it didn't contradict itself.  If that makes sense to my readers, then I'm on the right track.  If not, then the books aren't going to have the desired effect anyway. 

The whole point of the books I write is to show the growth of the main character, Rona Shively as she faces the same challenges that most of us face every day.  By throwing in some very strange cases and giving a little comic relief, sometimes the focus falls away from the lesson I'm trying teach her, but I am happy to say that at least in my mind, Rona has made some real progress over the years.  It's nice when we can have that kind of comic relief in our own lives that allows us to forget our troubles if even for a moment. We just need to pay attention to when what we're doing is merely a diversion until we can gather our thoughts and make a good plan of attack and when that diversion is more of a focus than the problem at hand. Covering up the problem won't make it go away and projecting our issues onto others doesn't help either.

So if you're compelled to see Magic Mike, please don't take what I am saying as some sort of condemnation.  Everyone doesn't have the same issues and movie choice may not be as big a deal for you as it is for me at this point in my life.  I find myself trying to limit the number of images and words that I let into my brain that aren't lining up with what God is trying to show me about myself.  I realize that this may only make sense to me and I'm okay with being considered somewhat flaky in this instance.

I hope you will stay tuned for more details on my newest book.  I'm writing it as we speak.  In the meantime, if you haven't read the first five books in the series you can order them by e-mailing me at lonestoryteller@yahoo.com.  The books are $9.95 each plus shipping and I'll even sign them for you.

Until next time...


“Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

~Job 40:8~


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2 comments:

DA Cairns said...

Very thought provoking Rebecca. As a Christian writer, I read your words carefully. One of the things I like about writing fiction is that I can explore moral issues through characters who may or may not represent values which I share. There is some freedom in being able to express feelings and thoughts through fictional characters but sometimes I wonder whether I should be having those thoughts and feelings at all, or encouraging them by writing them and developing characters who think and feel that way, if you know what I mean. Anyway, keep up the good work, and I'm with you on the movie thing...sometimes it's just better to say no.

Rebecca Benston, Author, Speaker, Advocate said...

I absolutely agree with you, DA. Thank you for this comment. I struggle with the very same issues as to whether or not my sharing and illustrating the behaviors and the thought processes and motivations behind them is actually lifting those up as okay. It's like sharing testimony in a way. When you edit out the bad parts, you fail to bring the appropriate amount of glory to Him. If no one knows how bad it has been, they cannot truly appreciate just how great it is and how much He has done. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts here! God bless.

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