Whose Standards?

Ahhhh... what better thing to do on a Sunday afternoon than slip into a sweatshirt, jeans and fuzzy socks and write about living up to other people's standards?

So that's what I'm doing. Naturally.

I bring up this topic because of the musical I'm in. I could talk a lot about what it's like being the lead role ... how incredible it is, how hard it is, how different an experience it is, how fun it is - but I've been really struggling with something in particular that this role brings up. Let me explain.

As most of you probably know, Cinderella is a romantic fairy tale. While the version we're doing has a modern spin on it, the story remains the same: poor girl wants to go to the ball, her family mocks her, she meets a magical old lady and gets a makeover, she goes to the ball and falls in love with the Prince and, after some shoe-trying-on, lives happily ever after. So ... did you notice that bit there, falls in love with the Prince? Well it just so happens that the scriptwriter decided to spoil a lovely scene in the moonlit garden by sticking a kiss in the middle of it. Very sad, yes, I know.

Ha! Did you notice what I just did? Hmmmm? Bet you didn't. I just disagreed with some one else's standards. Sorry, I'm going about this talk in a very confusing manner, but track with me. I plainly stated that I thought kissing onstage was not good, and said the writer "spoiled the scene" by including one. Wasn't that judgmental of me? Well, maybe, but I only stated that my opinions differ. The writer (why don't I just go look up his name?) Tom Briggs thought the kiss fit into the scene (his opinion) so he wrote it in. So tell me, was it okay for me to disagree with him? Yes, it was.

So keep that in mind as I jump back off my rabbit trail. At the audition, I told the director that I would not be kissing anyone onstage and that was that. But there was, as there often is, a grey area. What exactly does a fake kiss entail? After all, I didn't say I wouldn't hug anyone onstage... What about looking like I'm kissing someone even though I'm not? When is a fake kiss to real? Where to draw the line?

Well, after much thought and consulting God, I drew my line. I set my standard. If you come to the PAC and see Cinderella, at some point you will see me and the Prince embrace and put our heads next to each other. It's very sneakily done to look like a kiss. Being able to honestly say I believe it is right and pure to do this in this circumstance is all well and fine - but here's where my problem comes in. I'm self-conscious.

 I care too much about what people think of me. And I know that many, if not most, of my friends do not have this same standard. While a few of them would actually kiss onstage, I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the friends who wouldn't do a fake kiss onstage. Who wouldn't do a romantic role at all. I love these people, and I want them to think well of me. So how can I get up onstage and do something that I know they don't think is right?

Here's where our Tom Briggs example comes into play. I disagreed with his standards, right? But if Tom were my friend (just for the record, I have no idea who this guy is), and if I knew he were a really great person, I wouldn't necessarily think less of him for thinking it's okay to kiss onstage. I might try to convince him otherwise, but he'd still be my friend ... even if I didn't agree with his standards.

So basically this is me being vain. Caring too much about people's view of me. It's vain of me to feel "guilty" that I'm not living up to my friends' standards. When I talked with my dad about this, he asked me what guilt was. "Well, you're only guilty when you sin against God" - and I realized that I couldn't feel guilty breaking a human's standards. (Unless they were indirectly God's standards ... for instance if they were standards my parents had set for me. Rabbit trail.)

So to tie up this long post, I just need to stop being self-conscious. That's that. Thanks for reading.


If you're single...

on Valentines day........

Congratulations. You're part of the small percentage of the world who still has their heads on their shoulders. Rejoice in your untwitterpatedness.

And go write a love song.


Women taking over the world? No, thanks.

Okay, people. I've been getting riled up. About this song. Ever heard of it? It's called "Anthem," by the band Superchick. I'd heard of them, but never listened to their music. I just didn't like it. Oh, and I thought they were a Christian band... then I heard this song. Actually I didn't listen to it (undoubtedly NOT my style) but I read the lyrics. Here's the chorus.

"We are fire inside
We are lipstick and cleats
We are not going home
And we are playin' for keeps
We are girls who skin knees
We are concrete and grace
We are not what you think
Can't keep us in our place."

So I'm reading this going, "...what? We're not what you think? Seriously? What do they think people think of girls?" But here's the worst:

"There are trophies to win
Instead of being one of yours."

Okay. That officially made me need to write a blogpost about it. Especially when I saw this comment.

" yeah girls come on! get ya skate boards and guitars and lets take over the world!! "

Okay wait a minute. People, what is this about? Girls taking over the world? I'm sorry, this is just disturbing me. Especially because basically every comment was the same. "I love this song, it's so great telling girls to stand up for themselves, we really are people and we're brave!" What?!

Okay, so my first thought was, "Is this really a Christian band?" My second was, "Why do people think that our culture views women as less than?"

To quickly cover #1 thought:

I'm sure this band has some great songs and I'm not saying they can't encourage and impact people. God can work through anything and everything. But "Christian"?

Superchick's statement on bebo.com reads simply: "What started as a vision for a one-girl revolution turned into an army of non-conformists who believe in themselves and the ability to affect people's lives."  Mmhmm. So they believe in themselves... what about in Jesus? Oh yeah, that too, huh?

“It stands true to your traditional Superchick,” says Melissa (the lead vocalist). “We all stand together, embrace our beauty, encourage each other and feel good about it.”

Feel good about it. Sounds... self-help-y.

"This album is about empowerment and hope,” says (band member) Matt. “Don’t be afraid to cross the lines that people put up to limit you when you know you are better than that.”  It seems that they're quite about believing yourself, not about finding strength in God. This quote just bothers me because he says "you know you are better than that." No, sir, nobody is better than a very worthless, unregenerate sinner. That sounds harsh, but it's only true. Only in God are we anything good or can do anything worthwhile, and only by his Grace are we able. We're not "better than". We're worse than. Anyhow, that was kind of a tangent, sorry...

I searched their biography for Christ, God, and Jesus but there were no finds. The end.

So moving on to #2 thought, FEMINISM! Oh, feminism. It just really makes me mad.

I'll probably post about it more in the future, because there is much to say, so I'll try not to say too much. Basically, here's my take on the whole thing...

It seems there's a prevailing view, among young women especially, that women are... well, I'll let description in the most-watched video of that song "Anthem" say it.

"Women are constantly looked down upon by society, well, men in general. Women are looked at as weak, and not as good as men. This proves that wrong. Women are strong, powerful, and just as good as men. Women/Girls also need to realize that they are. They need to know that noone can tell them who they are or what they can and can't do. They are their own person...."

Wow. This is what I call... oi, what do I call it? Mixing truth with lies. It's an ancient tactic, goes back Eden. In one breath, someone will say truth and sneak a untruth in. So the whole thing sounds pretty much good. Yick!

Women are "just as good" as men. They are their own person.
Women are not looked down upon by society. (And by society I mean American culture.) Am I missing something here? When I look around, when I listen to a song (speaking of which), when I watch a movie, I see men portrayed as dumb, weak and useless - and women portrayed as ingenious, strong and in control. I don't have to say anymore; it's so prevalent in culture.

But I will show you a picture.

After all, if women are taking over the world, why do we even need boys?

This, my friend, is how society looks at women. I wonder how we get this notion that women are somehow viewed as second-rate, weak, can't do anything. Where do people get it? Anyone? I actually am asking for reals... I don't know why people think that.

Can you just imagine if someone started selling a shirt that said "Girls are weak" or some such? No one would tolerate. And yet, as Columnist Jane Ganahl basically said, the T-shirts are perceived as harmless fun by children and sexism against women is a far more widespread and substantial problem in United States' society.

Wow. Is it really. Is it really?

To tie back to Superchick, one of the band member describes the band like this. "It was to share a message of hope for the hopeless, empowerment for the helpless, beauty to the ones who had long felt unbeautiful, grace for the broken and love for the one who felt unlovable." Good, wonderful goal. So the question is, who is the helpless who needs empowerment? Friends... it just isn't women.

To quote from an awesome book called It's (Not That) Complicated, "[Boys] start learning their lessons early on, too - that being masculine, responsible, and authoritative is a social offense; that their leadership is oppressive, their protection is insulting, their authority is tyranny, and their position as the head of the household is utterly illegitimate."

So, people. What shall we do about all this?