Sunday, July 15, 2012

Can Do!

This past week I had the pleasure of watching Pixar's new BRAVE in the theater. (See C.J. Chase's review, here.)

For my granddaughter the message was pretty straight forward. Sometimes you have to be brave when things look scary. The idea that this would be news to the female gender is a bit silly but it's true that animated and children's movies have lacked strong female protagonists who don't need a male to make things right. (I need to watch Mulan again).

Brave's claim to fame is 'female empowerment'.  A grand idea but some of us don't need to know that. Empowerment and the old "Can Do" attitude of accomplishment and competition run amuck in this country, right alongside subjection and objectifying of people by gender, race and looks. What a jumble of messages our children receive.

For me the theme was about pride and forgiveness, which at times comes out of empowerment --male or female. Pride is such a tricky thing.

I've had far too many years to learn the lesson of asking for help and not relying on myself alone, but it's been a tough trick to learn. And it's true not only with friends, co-workers, family and 'professionals' but with God. Here, I doubt I'm alone.

How I want to depend on God for the little things as well as the big things. Is it pride that keeps me from reaching out, and then only for those things I know I can't do on my own?

In Brave, Merida is given the cure to break an evil spell--a few simple words which at first confuse her. Even when she understands that the answer lies in restoration and forgiveness, she doesn't quite see that she herself needs to take that step, because she's been too busy trying to 'fix' things in a literal way. Here, all her empowered skills should be the answer. But they're not. It all comes down to putting aside pride.

Lord, help me be more about what you can do through me than what I can do myself. Teach me to ask for your help and guidance in all things, and for the help and guidance of others. Often. Not just when I'm in a scramble. Continue to break down pride in my life, for my accomplishments mean so very little if they aren't of use to You.


  1. I think Brave is one of those movies you could get a lot of different messages out of. What stood out to me was that Merida and her mother were both trying to control each other, and each of them had a lesson to learn about true love and communication. I think the mother changed as much as Merida and kind of saw them as co-protagonists.

    By the way, Merida is now my favorite princess. Having grown up in church and a hopeless romantic, the female empowerment message and a woman not needing a man is still a good one for me.

  2. Deb, I love the prayer. Thank you for that reminder. God should be part of everything we do or any victories or accomplishments just aren't as satisfying or meaningful.

    Dina, Merida is my new favorite princess, too! I love her. I love her enthusiasm, I love her hair, I love her journey and the self-discovery. It's funny, because I'm a hopeless romantic, too, and yet the very things you mentioned are the things I love about her. I think that when a woman reaches the point of accepting who she is, being comfortable with herself, and realizing she doesn't need the man to be all of that - it makes the romance that much more satisfying when it does happen.

  3. Well, we are all about Merida in our family too. My granddaughter draws pictures of her and got a new Brave Playset and a new book this week already.
    She's a great princess and I expect some little girls will want to take up archery!

    Thanks ladies. One particular difference with Brave is that Merida never does end up with a romance in the end, which surprised me.

    I definitely have some work to do in this area of 'doing it all on my own.' You'd think I'd be better by now.

  4. I haven't seen Brave yet, but I'm liking the sound of it more and more! Thanks for the pride and forgiveness reminder. It's hard to forgive, even harder to ask for forgiveness...

  5. I'm looking forward to seeing this, too. Sounds like a step up from the same-old, same-old.

    Frankly, just having a princess not end up in a relationship may be a good thing. Romance doesn't happen for everybody. And the illusion that it does can lead to young women questioning their self worth when it doesn't, or jumping into ill-advised relationships just to have someone.


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