Saturday, July 18, 2015

Swearing - Men do it so why not us?

A few weeks ago I went to see a new release movie with my husband. Admittedly, in order to find what we think we might like all we do is see whats on. That Saturday we had two choices - "Entourage" and "Spy". Both were in the race for being a big seller at the box office. I heard that Entourage was just a male version of Sex and the City and I thought 'Bleh' so we decided on 'Spy" instead. If you want to read a Christian review of 'Spy prior to watching it yourself (or prior to critiquing it) please click on the link -  Plugged In review.

The movie is essentially a comedy with Melissa McCarthy as the lead actress with Jason Statham, Jude Law, Rose Byrne and Miranda Hart carrying the weight of the supporting cast. McCarthy plays a character that initially gives you the impression that shes the Bridget Jones of the CIA world. Dumpy, passive but smiley and a tad gullible with a rather pathetic crush on her James Bond 'ish colleague. People patronize her, belittle her, walk past her, cold shoulder her, take credit for her ideas, her creativity and her intelligence. Meanwhile its the rough 'n tumble, ever swearing, oh so humble (*cough cough) Jason Statham and Mr Sauve Nice Guy (*cough cough) Jude Law take the credit for bravery and everything else but the rotation of the sun.

Essentially, an accidental mess up happens, someone is (*ehem) killed, agents identities become 
compromised and known to terrorists and theres no one left to save the world from nuclear annihilation. Except McCarthy who tentatively and bravely steps up to the plate of secret agent. Even as she enters the process of joining the Cool Spy clique shes still undermined, made fun of and deliberately given unflattering aliases with gadgets disguised as hemorrhoid cream and stool softeners. You really feel for her. Watching this movie, Im sure we in the audience were all thinking 'These people are really harsh to her.'

Theres a good portion of this character that I really identify with. We find out that she wasn't always so passive and showed promising talent as a (somewhat) aggressive but capable secret agent in the making. We find out that over time, Mr 'Bond' (Jude Law) recognizes and is intimidated by her talent and takes her down and out of his way, by way of denigrating insults disguised as pity kindness, add to that her comments about her Mom's horribly disparaging remarks she got growing up. As women we have all experienced this kind of painful social ostracism whether by men or other women. We see in the movie and we know rightly and think "That's not right." 

Within a day of entering her new spy post in Paris McCarthy's character is fed up and goes awol with the pre planned hands off role. She gets rid of her grandma alias and invents her own. 



Long story short, she saves the day, proves her worth, removes the doormat she was lying under and encourages herself with a new boldness and beauty (Parisian fashion and a make over help) and tenacity that makes even the cocky Jason Statham admit she's pretty cool. But is that it?

I really enjoyed the movie but for one thing - the swearing (and the completely disgusting and irrelevant penis glimpses). Of course I knew there would be ouchee moments in the fight scenes, the movie does say "SPY" after all. No doubt McCarthy has come along way since her perky cuddly Gilmore Girls/Mike 'n Molly days. No doubt shes trying to prove her worth to the movie world that shes beyond type casting as the token fat girl and I agree, she is way talented beyond the dull roles that Hollywood typically forces on plus size women. And by the way I do not EVER think she is not gorgeous the whole way through (FYI).

But does a woman have to be crass a million times over to prove herself that she is talented? I know what you're thinking - But boys swear and are adored! Why can't we swear and be admired too? Well here I am to debunk this stupidity. Quite frankly Im also out to debunk the theory that boys who swear are admired by women. Maybe so, but not by intelligent self respecting women. This argument of 'boys do something gross, crass, disgusting, immoral, dishonourable so we should be able to do it too' is a total cop out and shows a spiral down, unintelligent, 'lets jump off the cliff too' lemming like reasoning. Its an insult to the strong men who choose to actually respect themselves, the women around them and the world amongst them without an attached F* word. The other problem I have with this movie is that it paints only one route for women to take in order to be bold, brave, inspiring and gorgeous - be aggressive, no, not just aggressive, be disgusting. Its the same weak mentality that little immature boys have in the playground - who can piss the longest, spit the furtherest and cuss the loudest. We all know they're a joke.

Let me tell you, those little boys who unfortunately can also grow a beard, drive a car and impregnate a woman - is (and let me be emphatically clear) - extremely unattractive and in my definition, a failure of a man. They are representatives of a class of people who do far more hurt than good. In reality they are not funny, they are hurtful and abusive. They are not strong, they are weak. It is the perverted imagination of Hollywood who attaches the facade of an abusive man to a Jason Statham or a Jude Law, add a dash of American slapstick humor and the world laps it up and women are sadly convinced that in order to prove that we are truly "free" and "liberated" as women that we need to act like THAT.  

What saddened both me and my husband was that we agreed that we think we still could have immensely enjoyed the movie had they chosen not to put a single profanity in it, probably more so. And we think the movie still would have knocked box office records and made a ton of money too. Melissa McCarthy nor Jason Statham for that matter don't need a toilet mouth to prove to me how talented they are. I KNOW they are talented in their craft and I respect them for that alone.

In studying both the pendulum behaviours of passivity vs aggression, both are ultimately destructive and dysfunctional and overwhelmingly unhelpful. Neither are sustainable. Neither are healthy. 

In Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner, the author talks about powerful women - fierce women

"I never wanted to be a wimpy woman, I've always been drawn to strong women - aren't you? A refined strength has an alluring appeal. I love to see a fierce woman in action. Nothing fazes her. She's indomitable, detirmined and she's a passionate force beyond contention... Im not talking about ugly fierceness that is really just raw uncontrolled aggression. There is a beauty to the right kind of fierceness. Not the brand that recklessly walks over people or is rooted in self centred goals. Not the fierceness that produces Ice Queens or conniving shrews but a fierceness that is humble strength and power under control. The kind that grabs on the hem of God's will and won't let go. One that determinedly stands strong in a gale of opposition. The kind that looks fear in the eye without blinking and confidently forges ahead."

Then she explains its unrestrained ugly side:

"Characteristics of a destructively fierce woman:
 - She establishes herself as her own authority. Her identity flows from the false pretension that she's in charge of her own life and her independence is her highest value.
- She's always pulled by the lure of "more." Her desires are never satisfied so she does not know contentment.
- She's unaware that ingratitude, pride and fear are the driving components of her life.
- She's obsessive about things that matter to her. She lives with a self centred agenda.
- She longs for love and affection but often goes in too hard and comes out swinging.
- She goes to battle often, mistaking her belligerence for heroism.
- She grabs for power, and no one and nothing prevents her from getting her way.
- She uses her strength to bully others. She does not recognize it as bullying, but her continual criticisms, negative perspective and harsh tones eat away at people like acid.
- She is often involved with conflicts with others.
- She is harsh in her honesty with others and is proud of it.
- She walks in arrogance and pride but is blind to her own lack of humility. She views meek behaviour as a sign of weakness. She sincerely believes her personal conflicts stem from others ineptness, lack of spirituality or inferior behaviour.
- She craves power over others and has mastered the art of controlling others through subtle manipulation."

Phew, what a list!

The thing is, fierceness has both a wonderful and a horrible side of it which ever way is bridled and encouraged. I fear that young (and older) women are being mistaken into thinking that movies like 'Spy' are always representing a positive fierceness. There were wonderful examples of it in the movie no doubt about it, but they were imperceptible nuggets in comparison to the tsunami of destructive fierceness and blatant F bombs. Theres nothing cool or even liberating about that word. It doesn't make you strong when you say it. In saying it you're not joining the world of strong men but weak men.

A woman that watches her mouth watches her purity. She is modest. She is not weak or passive but strong. Purity and modesty have just as much to say about the tongue than just her anatomy and we women are particularly bad examples for ripping down rather than building up our sisters and brothers verbally. We know the weapon we bear. And if you think your tongue and how you use it is not a big deal then think about Amanda Todd.

I am not perfect of this either. I have failed at this time and time again. I know it is an issue because I am often convicted by the Holy Spirit, not by man or my words. My fear is not whether I said enough but if I said too much or in a poor way. As women we are life givers. Not just biologically but emotionally and intellectually and spiritually as well. Ladies you might not know it but men (especially our husbands) search and crave after our verbal acknowledgement of them, our encouragement of their presence and thankfulness of their giftings. We need to do it with each other as well. We need to fiercely love each other but not in harshness. Call each other to repent but with humility. 

Let our words be life. 

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