Yesterday we went out to see Mama Mia! and have dinner out. We’d already seen the latest Batman release—if you’ve not seen it, it’s a good one!
In a word, Mama Mia! was fun. A friend of mine had warned that it was “estrogen-based” and “overflowing with feminist sensibilities.” That wasn’t a surprise. The commercials pretty much gave that one away.
What was a surprise is, given that estrogen-feminist foundation, that Mama Mia! is a classic fairy tale with a bit of a twist. The Grimm Brothers liked to convey truth in their stories. So be cautious when the sisterhood spins a tale for you. It has the classic elements:
Girl is oppressed by evils
Girl is rescued by rich prince who returns to her side
Then a twist:
When the springs poke through the mattress, anything goes.
So let me get this straight… (Oops, gotta watch the use of dot, dot, dot. No double entendres intended here.) The message of feminism now this: The Autonomous Wonder Woman icon (career, babies, big house, husband and all the candy that supports this lifestyle) of feminism is by and large a failure. Does it break apart by middle age, or is it not achieved at all? Sophie rejects not only her mother’s choice of single motherhood, but also reveals the emptiness of one of her “father’s” own marriage because he didn’t enter into it with one to whom he was whole-heartedly committed. Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) own capitulation to feminist ideology is revealed later, of course, but that was increasingly expected.
Granted there is an ironic inconsistency in the title “Autonomous Wonder Woman” for someone who has both a husband and children. But if we grant that even among those who consider marriage to be a 50%-50% proposition rather than a 100%-100% vocation, then from the get-go neither is either giving nor receiving the best from the other. Something is always held back, much like Cain with his sacrifice rather than Abel’s with his. Feminism advocates the former, Christianity teaches the latter.
The point that nearly slid by in Mama Mia! was the undercurrent running like a riptide. Donna (Meryl Streep) wants rescue. A proper one is suggested by her friends—from a wealthy male which would put Donna back into the position of every classic attribute of male dominance that traditional feminism openly abhorred (although insidously appreciated). The fact that Donna’s rescuer shares her dream, and has from its beginning, enhances his willingness to rescue her. But that doesn’t answer the essential feminist dilemma. Is autonomy worth sacrificing for the sake of security? Is autonomy only for the young woman?
Apparently when her back is against a mattress with springs poking through it, feminism has two answers. What’s up with that? Same old, same old.