I’m a big Star Wars fan. Naturally I was pretty pumped over the news a while back on new movies. Since that announcement rumors have been spreading like wildfire. Next to director the biggest rumors and speculation have been over what the cast for these new films will be. There have been folks calling out for a new young female protagonist as the lead. The reasoning is the same as it always is with this kind of wish. We apparently need more female role models in the media for our young women to look up to.
What is up with our cultures obsession on needing role models in the media? We have somehow taught children that they need to look to movies and TV for examples on how to live their lives. Do you want to be a successful business woman in control of her own destiny? Then watch these movies. Do you want to be the fearless kind of guy who laughs in the face of danger? Then check out these characters. Do you an exciting and dynamic love life? Then follow these couples in films. What do we get when this happens?
1. We get young women who put their careers over anything else in life. I’m not just talking about the tired old argument of how our culture today tells women they need to put their careers before family to be happy. I am talking about how our culture has told girls they need to be successful in business to be taken seriously in life. They need a good job to prove their intelligence to the world. They need to treat their job as their god.
2. We get shallow on dimensional men. We have depth guys. We have emotion. We cannot have our value be rooted in our ability as the provider or in our personal strength. The role models the media gives us teach us to be prideful in our abilities at best. At worst they teach us to use women as something for personal gratification. They teach us that the guy with the most stuff at the end of his life wins. They teach us that pleasure is the only thing that matters in this world.
3. We get a bunch of Edward/Bella relationships. I don’t like Twilight. I make no mistake about it. It portrays an incredible unhealthy, obsessive, and dangerous relationship as the best thing you could have in this world. It tells us that our whole world should revolve around a flawed individual. We should be obsessed with them. When we cannot have them then it would be better to be dead.
I get this probably all sounds a little bit bleak, but that is because the role models in our culture are pretty bleak. Now there are exceptions. Many of you are probably trying to rattle them off right now to throw away everything I have said. I get the exceptions exist. The exceptions always exist. However, we are not being overindulged by the exceptions. We are having the mediocre and worthless thrown into our faces on a regular basis.
Where should we be looking for our role models? For some there are perfectly good role models in your family. I look up to my parents and the way they live. I value the lessons I learn from their relationship. Some may not have that blessing though. Strive for role models you can actually speak to. Look for role models in the church. Find someone who fears God above all else and learn from them. However, there is a warning to this.
All role models are only human. They are never perfect. They will make mistakes. They will let you down. At times they will disappoint you. At times you may even be hurt by their actions. That is why the best role model is Christ, and the best human role models are those who emulate Christ in various parts of their lives. There are people in my life I hope to grow up to be a little more like because I see Christ in them. I see how they emulate different qualities of Christ. I see how they have managed to live out what they believe, and I strive to learn that from them.
The world does not need another person trying to find their Edward, another guy trying to be tough and courageous in their pride, another woman out to prove she is capable of anything a man can do. What the world needs are more people trying to emulate Christ. Do you know what you will find when you start doing that? You will find yourself being the kind of person worthy of being a role model yourself. You will be the kind of person with qualities worth emulating. You will find yourself being exactly what this world needs. Be dependent on God so that others will see the need.