The impact of popular culture on domestic violence is not something to which I had honestly given a lot of thought. Even though I’m a survivor. A couple of weeks ago, though, the movie “Grease” was being played. And it got me thinking.
I have always loved that movie. It came out in 1978, just a few weeks before the mall opened in my little one-horse town. It had a huge influence on my friends and me. At fifteen, in a small town that most of us dreamed of getting out of, it was bright and lively and rebellious and just plain fun. We walked around quoting lines for months. I can still sing (not well) every syllable of every song from that movie.
When it was on a couple of weeks ago, though, I started thinking about how the Sandy at the beginning of the movie was not the same Sandy at the end of the movie. She changed. For a guy. For a guy who treated her pretty shabbily when he was around his “cool” friends.
How often have I remade myself to be what someone else wanted in order to not rock the boat? To not be criticized? To not be discarded and unloved?
Having been in abusive relationships, I find myself wondering if this is where and how it begins for some of us. Books and music and movies that say we’re not good enough just as we are so that when we meet up with a narcissist or other type of abusive personality, we are “easy pickings” for them. I’m pretty sure that happened to me. I grew up on Harlequin romances, movies where the princess/heroine is rescued by a man, and in a culture where we don’t air our dirty laundry. We neither Reach Out nor Speak Out.
If you don’t mind, I’d like us to explore this during March. It’s a time of spring and new beginnings. Let’s dig up the weeds and instead fertilize what’s good in us — because, as the saying goes, God doesn’t make junk!