Pastor Doug Wilson describes movies as a catechism class for our age. They tell us what to believe and they define reality for us. They tell who our gods are and what the major sins of our age are. That is why it is good for Christians to evaluate what movies are saying. Americans spent 10.8 billion dollars at the movie theater last year. That does not include Redbox, Netflix, Amazon, etc. What are we being taught as we enter these catechism classes? I came across one lesson this week as I read about the new movie Fast and Furious 6.
I have never seen any of "Fast and Furious" (or The Fast and The Furious) movies. I was reading an article about what Hollywood can learn from one of the most surprising film franchises in history. The article lists six things that Hollywood can learn from this movie franchise, which has earned over 1.6 billion dollars worldwide. The fourth reason on the list is that it appeals to women. Here is what the article says:
Notice the first and last paragraph. Apparently the moviegoing public wants more than women in bikinis. Eye candy, by itself, is no longer acceptable. (If you watch the trailer you will see very quickly that it is still there.) Now we need women who beat each other up. Here is another article declaring that the girl fight in the movie is the most intense girl fight ever. And the director and the women involved are of course proud. It is "refreshing" that women are now central to the action. They don't have to sit on the sidelines anymore wearing next to nothing. Now they can get into the action and pulverize one another.Casting women as more than scantily clad helpmates and arm candy has further broadened "The Fast & The Furious" franchise's appeal.Women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population and 52 percent of the moviegoing public, but according to a 2012 study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, only 11 percent of the protagonists in top grossing films are female.Yes, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are the top-billed stars in the series, but what's refreshing about "Fast & Furious 6" is that Rodriguez and co-star Gina Carano have roles that are integral to the action. In fact, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Universal Pictures co-president of production, told TheWrap that the most recent "Fast" film is the highest testing among women.He added that the on-screen throw down between Rodriguez and Carano is a key selling point of the film and "trumps" the fight between Diesel and Dwayne Johnson that was a heavily promoted part of "Fast Five.
Iron Man 3 is also praised for its portrayal of woman. Again, I have not seen that movie either, though at some point I probably will. But this article in the magazine "Wired" says,
Consider that the genius in Iron Man 3 who creates a powerful—indeed, perhaps too powerful—form of technology capable of changing the world isn’t Tony Stark; it’s Maya. And the hero who ultimately saves the day by taking out the bad guy in smash-em-up physical confrontation isn’t Tony Stark; it’s Pepper Potts. Sure, Tony Stark and the Mandarin are ostensibly the hero and the villain, but if you look at the things that people actually do rather than where the camera happens to focus, the female characters are the ones who truly begin to shine.So in Iron Man 3 we have a female scientist who creates some form of powerful technology and we have the eye candy, Pepper Potts, who beats up the bad guy.
The catechism question these movies are asking is: What can a woman be? The answer is: be a sex toy or be a man. Wear a bikini, wear a gun, wear a business suit, but most certainly do not wear an apron. You were made to be used by a man or to act like a man. Where are the mothers, I mean real mothers with children, in modern movies? Where are the faithful wives who love their husbands? They are conspicuous by their absence. When is the last time you watched a major movie where motherhood is a virtue? When was the last time you watched a movie with a husband and wife who love each other and love their children. I know there may be little movies that do have faithful mother characters. But let's not be naive. A vast majority of movies that come out today do not even have a mother in them. The women are either professionals or someone to be bedded or fighters. Hollywood has effectively killed motherhood as a vocation for women.
Our wives and daughters need to be aware that their fundamental calling has been completely rejected by the media. Fathers, pastors, and husbands need to encourage the women in their care to be faithful to God in that calling and not buy the lie that motherhood is a waste.