Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Superheroes

With a little incentive from Michelle Mitchell’s blog called Scribbit: Motherhood in Alaska, I am posting today in response to her writing contest on Wonder Woman! I thought it would be fun.

Growing up, there were many superheroes to pick from. There was Superman, Batman, Spider Man, the Incredible Hulk and of course, Wonder Woman for us girls. Then there was the “new” type of superhero in the Six-Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. Later for some of our children came, He-Man and She-Ra, The Transformers, PowerRangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the list could go on. We see that the love of the superhero continues on today with the new movies that have come out in recent times; remakes of Batman, Spider Man, Hulk, and now…Hancock.

There seems to be some inherent need for a superhero in humanity. Those characters that, though tragically flawed in some way, fight for the rest of us to have a better life. Superheroes have some special talent or ability that enables them to perform and function on a level the rest of us ordinary folk never attempt; however, inspires children to emulate.

This is nothing new. For many women, the woman of Proverbs 31 does the same thing. This capable woman makes the fabric and other textiles for her family by sewing, spinning, dyeing, and trading in fabrics. She not only whips up tasty dishes for the family, but she also plants, grows, gathers, and prepares it for cooking. She is administrator, landowner, buyer, merchant, viticulturist (one who studies vineyards), and philanthropist. She is intelligent, shrewd, gracious, wise, ambitious, kind, industrious, and attentive to detail. She does this all with no sleep and purely for the sake of her husband and family, her ‘tragic flaw.’ Obviously, this was the first Wonder Woman. Apparently, King Lemuel’s mother did not want him to find a real woman as she is describing what even she cannot hope to become.

Women of all generations have felt the need to be this type of superhero because this capable woman wasn’t presented as a fictional character, but rather that ideal to which we should all aspire. Over the generations we have seen women struggle under the burden of work and family with precious little help. There always seemed to be that woman living on the street who made the rest of us look bad; like Brie on Desperate Housewives or Martha Stewart. Bless their hearts because they too seem to be caught up in the “must-do-everything” rat race.

Many of our daughters have given up on this ideal and are rejecting this superficial type of superhero. They are seeking their own way, and not trying to be the ideal woman and ideal man all rolled into one. And I for one say, “you go girlfriend.” However, I don’t think totally rejecting the ideal that the woman of Proverbs 31 is entirely the answer, because nature abhors a vacuum. We will begin to have a generation (and do already) of those young women who think Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie are the “ideal” woman. So what’s the answer?

Maybe taking pride in ourselves is the answer. Obviously, whatever the woman of Proverbs motivation may be (yes, I am aware she is fictional), she had pride in herself. It takes pride to function in the man’s world of the time as competently as she did. It takes pride in her abilities, her skill, her knowledge, and her accomplishments. Her family was important to her, so that was her strength and her weakness; as she didn’t seem to take time to take care of herself.

We can learn many things from Wonder Woman and the Woman of Proverbs 31, but we also need to learn that we are not superhuman. No matter how good our intentions might be, we cannot continue on with our work if we are not taking care of ourselves. So, today, take a moment to reflect on what you do to nourish yourself body, mind and spirit. How do you take care of you?

2 comments:

Scribbit said...

Oh I'm glad you joined in the contest--

And to answer the question when I get off track the basics (prayer, scripture study, service to others, etc) always help refocus me, but the problem is slowing down enough to remember that and not speed through the day too focused to notice what's important.

Rev. Sonja said...

Scribbit,
Thanks, and you are right, slowing down to recognize where you need to focus can be a problem. It can be a vicious circle.