The average girl faces a new enemy- a presence so hovering that it feels inescapable:
“If I live a modest and normal life, I’ll remain invisible, unnoticed and forever confined in the prison of ordinary.”
The solution- as offered by media heroines, peers and older examples- is to do whatever it takes to be both rescued and the rescuer. Enter the runaway fiction of our era: Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent, 50 Shades of Grey. The following excerpt is from LifeSiteNews and is the best explanation to date as to the explosive bestsellers:
The characters of Bella [from Twilight] and Ana [50 Shades…] are both written as almost blank slates, onto which readers can project their own personalities. All we know about each girl is that she’s ordinary – like, so ordinary that if you looked up the word “ordinary” in the dictionary, you would find their pictures – only you wouldn’t; you’d find a little mirror reflecting your own face back at you, because that’s the entire point. You’re meant to insert yourself into the story, and suddenly it’s you, in all your banal lack of glory, who has proven irresistible to these powerful, godlike, beautiful, deeply damaged men, and only you can help them find their humanity again.
But the truth is, anyone who has ever felt unremarkable or invisible for any reason can put themselves in Ana’s shoes and understand her thrill at being chosen – her, of all people! – by a man with so much power he might as well be God. And anyone who has ever tried to love someone out of a dangerous lifestyle – be it addiction, violence, self-harm, risky sexual behaviors, or heck, vampirism (you never know) – can relate to Ana’s joy as her steadfast love transforms Christian from a damaged, petulant dictator into a loving husband. Ultimately, the secret to the success of Fifty Shades is that it puts the reader in the role of both the saved and the savior.
For the average girl, the disconnect happens at the level of identity where she so easily succumbs to the power of culture.
Longing – a baby girl is born into a fallen world with two things in tension: 1) her God-instilled longing to be loved, cherished, noticed, nurturing and influential and 2) her commitment to achieve these things without Him.
Setup – Notice the influence of the Disney-Fairy-Tale genre, as it redirects her longings. She’s queued and ready for her prince to appear out of thin air.
Reality – In a culture where the sacred wonder of romance and intimacy have been taken hostage and put on pornographic steroids, the average girl becomes more invisible than ever. If she dresses herself with modesty, she moves ever in a more disparate direction.
Identity – This is the key battleground in her mind. The instant drop-down menu of sensual solutions threatens to overpower her subtle and gradual relationship building with Jesus.
The girl who develops her life and identity on the foundation of her relationship with Jesus- she will weather the storm of middle and late adolescence in a culture gone wild. The power is in her identity as I write about in iConnect: The Power of Identity in a Plugged-In World. But make no mistake, this is a slow-build, requiring deliberate parenting into the recesses of her mind. God’s truth and a daily reorientation become critical balancing acts in a digital-everywhere era that has become powerful enough to exert it’s own gravity.
Obscurity, invisibility, ordinary? Not if her imagination positions her in God’s story in multiplying complexity. Her identity becomes her power:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” – Proverbs 31:25