Friday before last, dear ones, I mentioned that I had three different topics swirling around my head. Unfortunately, whatever the third one was, it’s gone and only the second remains. Today I’d like to discuss the issues that come with a culture soaked in princess tales. Originally I thought this must only affect young girls, but with the feminization of men, I think the problem will, in the future, be more widespread. Certainly, the ideas behind what I’m going to talk about are already cultural norms. I’ll use the term ‘princess’ as a reference to nearly every movie geared towards children. Even the superhero genre has the same basic principles as what I’m meaning when I say ‘princess’. Let’s look at this issue topically, how it affects marriage, parenting, work ethic, church life, and evangelism. I realize those last two categories seem similar, but in essence what I’m saying is how we treat each other as believers, and how we share the Gospel with the lost.
Let me start with what the actual problem is, and how pervasive it’s become. Princess movies all start and end with the same premise, that if you want something bad enough you’ll get it. Just believe in yourself. You can accomplish anything, you can be anything, and you deserve it all! It’s such utter nonsense that even in these movies the main character has to have help, usually from magical creatures. What an odd paradox, you can be anything you want to be if you only believe in yourself…but its impossible unless you have someone or something making it happen for you. To turn it even more on its head, we see the new trend of making the assumed good guy end up the villain, then the bad guy swoops in and saves the day. In every type, genre, and decade, these ‘princess’ movies push morals that are man-centered, and goals that are unrealistic.
How does this affect marriage? Love in these ‘princess’ movies is better described as ‘puppy love’. It often gives the impression that to be happy means to be adored. Some movies even go further, making the romance more of an unhealthy obsession. Young people in our culture, rather than preparing for adulthood and the difficulties of marriage, are out searching for ‘true love’. When that standard is impossible to reach, they often become disenfranchised with the institution of marriage and prefer to live together, treating one another as expendable. This obviously leaks into parenting, with couples who live together far more likely to split, even after having children. I’m a product of that type of relationship, many of us are. Divorce, or separation, compounds the disillusionment young people feel when it comes time to choose their own spouse.
Parenting, as I mentioned, is grossly affected by the impressions left from these movies. Its effect can be felt in two ways. As children, these movies change the way we view our elders. Often one parent is missing, sometimes both have died or left, very rarely are both parents present. When parents are there, they are usually treated with contempt, especially if there’s a dad. Modern movies treat fathers like complete buffoons. It’s worse when grandparents are involved, often having their age mocked rather than honoring their wisdom. Whether you realize it or not, this is teaching them how to treat you. The second way this affects viewers happens when they, themselves, become parents. When young girls grow up and get married they often treat their husbands like the idiots they saw portrayed in movie fathers growing up. Children then see mommy is boss in the movies, and in real life, who needs to listen and respect daddy? There’s no clear, beautiful, loving partnership between the parents. Why would any young man, seeing that, look forward to marriage? Or raising a family? Worse then this, the father of a family is the child’s first example of God the Father. No wonder so many feel comfortable blaspheming.
The third issue is the work ethic. Work ethic. What’s that? It’s when someone treats their employer with enough respect to actually work while they’re being paid to work. Getting there on time, not leaving early, not moving at a snail’s pace so that you can do as little as possible without getting fired. I had zero work ethic before getting saved, but if you had asked me I would have told you how great of an employee I was. I mean, I was late but I showed up! Funny how we think, we often see others faults while managing to ignore our own. Hard work is made to be a huge inconvenience in many of these movies if work is shown at all. Most of the time there’s a short montage of activity, then BAM the princess achieves what she wants! Magic, magical creatures, or help from regular woodland rodents, handle most of the grunt work. Today, everyone wants to be boss, no one wants to earn it. Who needs to earn it, when you were told your whole life all you need to do is believe? It’s yours, you want it, you deserve it! Isn’t that how real life works? No. Also, friends, not working to the best of your ability when being paid to do so is not just a bad witness, it’s theft. You’ve made an exchange when you get hired, your labor for their pay. If you take their pay without giving the labor, you’ve stolen from them.
After a childhood of fairytales, we grow up to adults pretending the spotlight is on us. This means when many go to church they take and never give. My church back home is tiny, tucked into the middle of woods that are already in the middle of nowhere. The pastor and his wife work tirelessly, almost everyone who comes is impoverished, widowed, or ill. There are a handful of millennials who come with their parents are grandparents. When there is a special occasion and the elders have all provided food, these younger folks eat and leave. They leave behind a big mess. That big mess gets cleaned up by those impoverished, widowed, and ill church members alongside the pastor and his wife. They take, they never give. This should not be the case, ever, at any age, least of all when your old enough to know better and healthy enough to help. We show the change worked within us to the world through our love for one another. Christianity isn’t a fairytale, we’re not living in a film, we ought to give preference one to another, not all to one.
Lastly, I want to discuss how these movies change the way we evangelize. I don’t remember the last time I saw a movie that didn’t smack of postmodernism. Your truth is your truth, my truth is my truth unless you don’t support abortion, sex change, and same-sex marriage. If that’s the case, your truth is evil and your a bigot that needs to be silenced! Everything is tolerated, except what they disagree with. That’s got nothing to do with the movies, I just added that for free. Postmodernism does have a lot to do with what we’re seeing, and the idea has infiltrated the church. The Gospel has been slowly watered down since Charles Finney took to manipulative means rather than trusted the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of the lost. The current idea that God loves you, so invite Him into your heart and He’ll make you happy, has come from decades of Biblical erosion. It now, often, is couched with a postmodern swing. We find that swing repeated in princess movie after princess movie, you are loved because you deserve to be loved. Your special. You’re the star of your own film. Of course, God loves you, and wants good things for you, who wouldn’t? What does that have to do with postmodernism? Your truth is true for you, but if we go any further than telling someone God loves them we might offend their truth.
Here’s the conclusion, the actual truth of the matter. Not my truth, because if everyone has their own truth, the word becomes meaningless. There are things that are true. There are things that are false. The truth is that life is hard, marriage is hard, parenting is hard, work is hard and that’s why they don’t call it play. Life is full of beautiful moments, its full of difficult moments, but we’re here to glorify God and make Him known. We’re not here to be the star of the show, we must preach the Gospel, die, and be forgotten. He must increase, we must decrease, die to self, love one another, love the lost. In most countries of the world our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering, going without, being imprisoned, or martyred for their faith and for love of one another. We can’t even stay after the potluck and fold chairs? We can’t even love the lost enough to share the truth with them, while we still have the freedom to do so? Brethren, this ought not to be so. Culture is pervasive, it slips in bit by bit, until the body of believers is so dull of hearing that it needs milk when it should be eating meat. It needs teaching when it should be taught.
If you are reading this and are a Millennial or Latch-key kind of adult do not follow this trend. Watch the older believers, look for ways to be a blessing, look for opportunities to learn from them. If you are older than the Latch-keys and you’re reading this, please…help! The Bible specifically tells the older generations of men to teach the younger, the same for the women. Older women, find young ladies in your church and in your family to disciple, same for the men finding young men. Yes, I know, we’re an obnoxious group of know-it-alls, but it won’t take long before the first crisis hits. The baby won’t sleep, the spouse is mad, the parent is in the hospital, the job is hard, the bills are huge, tax season comes along, life will hit and none of what we learned in princess movies will help. But you can, and you can specifically do this with Godly wisdom. Let me encourage both groups to be Biblical, the younger are told to learn from the older, the older to teach the younger. If you’re reading this, and you blog, you’ve already started this process! Many of you have taught me diligently.