but you see, it's not just raymond. it's everywhere. every show, movie and advertisement telling us "the way things are" and who we all are as people according to our gender, race and economic standing.
little girls watch movies like cinderella and we dream of a handsome man coming to rescue us and we instantly fall in love (because how COULDN'T we? he's a prince!) and then we get married and live happily ever after. and then little girls grow up and we watch romantic comedies and we dream of a handsome (rich!) man coming to rescue us from our ho-hum life and he's probably totally wrong for us, but daggumit, he's cute and we want him and he makes things exciting and we want him and we want to spend the rest of our life with him! oh, and you deserve that perfect, expensive wedding! you deserve the plaza, the roses, the fondant cake and you have the right to say, "if anyone gets in my way, i will cut you! cus it's MY DAY!"
and little boys are told that if they want to be a man they have to eat big hamburgers and hunt things and play violent video games and contact sports and go sow those wild oats, boys! and some day when some crazy women with visions of wedding gowns dancing in her head finally wears you down, well, then it's best to succumb to that ball and chain and just settle down and make some kids.
well, gosh... why isn't that working out?
women see marriage as an object, a thing to be obtained because it will equal fulfillment, purpose and happiness. men see it as an obligation and burden that they must some day face. and then women have kids and get older and wonder where the wide-eyed dreamer went. and men give it all they got, because being a husband is about providing things and so they work those long hours and in the process rob their families of the things they really need.
i'm sure this all sounds like stereotype to you. and it is. but it is stereotype vehemently reinforced by the media around us. and yes, i do believe life imitates art. we watch the sitcoms on TV and we are made to think these unbalanced, unfair family dynamics are funny. and we laugh and say, "oh gosh! that's so true! women are so crazy like that! men are so stupid like that!" and we never stop to question the gravity---the danger of that situation, played out in our actual lives. we merely accept it as fate, both biological and social, and move on.
Now, I go back to marriage as a symbol, and again I ask you, is this how you want Our Christ portrayed? is this how you want your children raised? is this the life you want for yourself?
Can't we start portraying men as people of integrity? Men who protect their family, love and devote themselves to them? to spending TIME with them not just money ON them? Can't we think of and portray women as the respected, industrious, level-headed and virtuous people that scriptures like Proverbs 31 tell us they should be?
How much of our society would change if we started portraying everyone fairly? What if every child were able to grow up and watch a person on television that looks like them and talks like them but isn't simply some sort of caricature? Wouldn't we start seeing ourselves differently? I have read of and seen documentaries about the studies that show communities that didn't have television being introduced to American television suddenly have huge jumps in instances of eating disorders. This isn't just some theory, this is empirical data. What we watch effects us. It shows us a work of fiction and causes us to believe it is the standard and the norm. It isn't... and it is destroying us.
Now, I'm not saying throw out your TVs and stop watching movies. Just watch with your eyes truly open. Be aware of the subtle messages that are being sent to you. Identify them, reject them and embrace truth.