Thursday, September 03, 2009

Addressing the Diva Mentality

Recently I’ve been looking after Deborah and Abigail. Deborah and Abigail as you are aware are the daughters given to the responsibility of Authrine and I by natural birth. Deborah is 4 and Abigail is 3. In two weeks’ time they’ll be going to the same school – Deborah will be going there next week and Abigail starts the week after such is the system of the school.

Now sure these girls are but mere babes, but already their characters are emerging and one thing can be said for sure they can bossy, demanding little princesses. Authrine and I endeavour not to spoil them – that is not love and has never been love the way either of us have seen it. There are ways in which both girls take on personality traits of their parents and they can be incredibly caring and sensitive souls, but trust me on their day when they want they can be right madams – right divas if you will.

What is it about that diva mentality that afflicts women from time to time? I’m sure men have a similar disability – we can get all bossy or heavy-handed when we want to be. I’m sure there are habits and characteristics that we have that are downright obnoxious, demeaning, cruel and beyond reproach. That blog is for another time, though, I’m on a diva mentality thing at the moment.

This is particularly the case having recently watched The Bodyguard where Whitney Houston plays a pop diva whose life is under threat by a weird stalker. Now I’ve seen the movie before and didn’t have that great an impression of it, but I wanted to watch it again, especially with Authrine to give it a reappraisal to see if it was as bad as it was cracked up to be. The undoubted highlight is seeing the man who plays Pop Walton – Ralph Waite in the movie.

Anyway in the movie Houston gives a fairly good portrayal of the insecurities of someone loved for their talent and letting that fame leave them devoid of crucial things they will need like a decent character. Watching the movie as well is also fairly scary almost 20 years after it was made (can you believe it?) and seeing at least the media portrayals of the life and slides of Whitney Houston. Whether the marriage to Bobby Brown or infamous outbursts and misguided real-tv ventures, it just appears as though Houston has played her part in the long line of divas.

As you already know I’m making my way through Taraborrelli’s unauthorised biography of Diana Ross and in as much as it is unauthorised even if you were to take a dim view of media reports Ross does not come out smelling of roses. Indeed she’s never come out smelling that way ever since she was a part of the Supremes.

What’s worse about both portrayals of Houston and Ross is their links to church and the gospel tradition. Somehow we are meant to believe that women who conduct themselves in selfish, domineering, preening manners are equivalent to the models of femininity that Jesus would endorse. For as much as grace abounds and forgiveness is a key element of the faith, that is not an excuse to go on portraying an attitude that shall we say is inconsistent with WWJD,

This is not to have a go at either Houston or Ross. It is to carefully note how precious we are and how important it is that we grow in Christ-like character for the sake of our daughters so that they can see what it is to be a modest woman. It’s not about being prudish or a frump, but it is about focussing more on the character of a woman who brings honour to Christ in humility. It’s about how Abigail and Deborah can see good examples of that in Scripture and their day-to-day lives. It’s about how I can protect and guide these precious princesses in the fear of the Lord and allow them not to confuse being talented for anything other than being a recipient of God’s grace and so giving Him credit by living a grace-filled, sacrificial, thankful life.

For His Name's Sake



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