Shedding light or fanning flames? Why 13 Reasons Why and To the Bone don’t sit well with me.

Netflix garnered quite a bit of attention by picking up a series based on a book that deals with teenage suicide and high school pressures. They are back on the radar for the upcoming addition: To the Bone. I watched all of 13 Reasons Why and sat back and wondered about what resonated with me. I felt full of emotions that didn’t necessarily make me more aware, but impacted my well being because I left feeling very uneasy and negative. I watched the preview for To the Bone and also felt this kind of empty pit. Do these types of series shed light on an issue and offer aid to those who are seeking solace, or do they fan the flames of people on the edge? Is it opening a discussion with parents or inviting unhealthy triggers into viewer’s lives?

Reflecting on 13 Reasons Why, I remember feeling so upset that even though a mother and daughter team helped direct it (Selena Gomez and her Mom), and the characters had concerned parents, none of the characters were portrayed as close to their parents. They made out parents to be mindless, unaware, and unnecessarily concerned but unwilling to be more available. They made the high school kids to be in secure families but secretive and so open range that they could walk out on their parents and get caught with drugs at school and still just get an apathetic grumble from mom. To me, this just showed teens not to open up to their parents and to hole up their feelings. The parents seemed to fail them. The school counselor and teachers seemed to fail them. Reliable adult resources were failures, according to 13 Reasons Why. Now that I’m in my late twenties and a decade has passed since my teens, and I have worked with youth in ministry, my heart hurts to see depictions where adults fail the youth and where the youth don’t trust the people placed in their lives to help them. I want to scream, “we were in your shoes too! We understand, please open up to us!”

To the Bone looks like a heartwarming tale from the preview, but I also know that beyond some hints at lightheartedness, there is nothing to romanticize about an eating disorder (ED). It truly bothers me that they chose an actress with an ED past to play the main character and undergo weight loss and method acting that could have caused her to go into relapse. It’s obvious that makeup magic plays a role in making Lily Collins look gaunt and unhealthy, but let me also include a portion from an interview she did with Elle magazine:

“They hired a nutritionist, and we did it in the most healthy way possible. I had a lot of people…to be accountable for how I was doing it, and I had check-ups all the time. I thought it was necessary for me to portray the character in the best way that I knew I could, and also to pay homage to what she was going through. There was never any pressure put on me to reach a current weight or limit. I felt like I had to limit myself in a way as well. I felt like I had to get into that mindset and recognize some of the feelings that I once had felt and that Ellen was feeling.

The gaining of it back was probably a little harder, because it’s just a strange twist on what I went through when I was younger—which was about losing, not about gaining. The idea that after this movie I had to get back to proper health, it wasn’t as easy. You know, eating a bunch of burgers and milkshakes and all that—I don’t really eat meat anyway—it had to be done in a healthy way, and it’s not good to go from nothing to a lot, because your body doesn’t know how to handle it. It took a little while longer than I think most people would have expected it to, but it was a process that needed to happen and it was a very personal experience. But I came out of it extremely proud of the work we had done.”

Source: http://www.elle.com/…/lily-collins-to-the-bone-netflix…/

She felt she had to pay homage. She felt like she had to go back to that mindset. *shudder* WARNING WARNING WARNING. That is SO UNHEALTHY. For her to then say gaining it back was hard, I feel that also sheds light on the fact that even with her controlled environment, that process was difficult on her body.

I have friends and acquaintances who have struggled with ED. It is not heartwarming to hear someone is near organ failure or that they can’t ever have children because their body is permanently changed. It is not funny to see someone you felt so close to distance themselves to hide their condition. It isn’t beautiful to see someone who was so strong and full of energy be a ghost of their former self. It isn’t something you gather around a tv and observe and try to make light of. When you offer a happy ending? Sometimes it makes a fantasy of something with an often harsh reality. How many girls will think, wow, I can get myself to that point, and then a doctor/institution will save me? How many people will feel they can jump ship and get a red and white life preserver thrown at them? I just can’t help but feel very uneasy…

Are these shows shedding light or fanning flames?

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Uncle Don’s Cabin: Why so many Evangelicals are still Pulling for Trump — (not so) completely. miserable.

I need to share this post with everyone — not to try to dissuade someone from voting for their candidate of choice, but to start a necessary conversation on a bigger picture: racism and white privilege in the church. 

Evangelicals are jumping off of the Republican ticket like never before – a truly unprecedented exodus. But an estimated 65% still remain faithful. While it’s true that Trump’s strong words against abortion, Gay rights, and the most vile human being an Evangelical can imagine have left so many still swooning, two recent studies suggest that […]

via Uncle Don’s Cabin: Why so many Evangelicals are still Pulling for Trump — (not so) completely. miserable.

I’m Pro-Life, but…

I’m Pro-Life, but…

1. I understand that most women are smart enough to know abortion is not a means of birth control to be performed several times and that many do not choose abortion flippantly.

2. I understand that while medical conditions are a very small percentage, abortions do happen because of things like ectopic pregnancies…where even pro-life women need to opt for an abortion.

3. I understand that one of the reasons abortion rates have dropped is because of access to birth control (sorry, I know there’s more to hormonal birth control, I won’t touch that in this entry.)

4. I understand that places like Planned Parenthood actually DO MORE than provide abortions – they provide care for several men and women who wouldn’t have access to care otherwise and provide medical and sexual health knowledge.

5. I understand that there are cases of rape and incest where the baby is a painful reminder of something traumatic that happened. (I do believe that baby is innocent, although a product of a horrible event, and abortion robs an innocent life, even in this situation.) I understand that it must be hard to have something happen and be stuck carrying a child to full term that someone may not want.

6. I understand that relationships, age, and financial situations may not always be ideal for welcoming a child and carrying a child to full term.

7. I understand that abortion is not an easy topic to discuss and that everyone has an opinion on it.

I don’t know all these things personally, but I do understand. And that’s why I cannot support the idea of making abortion illegal and defunding Planned Parenthood. 

I suppose with everything I’ve said, you are probably wondering where I personally stand. My stance is that ideally and morally, abortions would only be performed for #2: rare medical instances where aborting the baby means saving the mothers life, where the choice is to either have both die or let one live. And my heart goes out to everyone who carries a child because of rape or incest. I truly care about their hurt but cannot deny the personhood of their child and I know that is messy and others may not agree with me. I’m sorry rape and incest happen in our world. I know that the reality of foster care and adoption is that it’s not an easy thing and that children in the system do not always have a good childhood. I care about that too. But I advocate to choose adoption instead of abortion. That is my personal view.

Here is what I think are more helpful than trying to make abortion illegal or defund PP:

1. Pro-lifers should support local pregnancy centers. Volunteer, donate, fundraise. If you are religious, pray.

2. Pro-lifers should support local maternity homes for mothers who want to keep the baby but have no place to turn to or have a home life situation that puts them in danger. Volunteer, donate, fundraise. If you are religious, pray.

3. Pro-lifers should be open to more views than just public abstinence programs and should take the shame out of premarital pregnancies. Particularly in religious homes, where children may not be educated about contraceptives and sometimes not even given full education on the reproductive system and end up pregnant. A large percentage of women getting abortions identify as catholic or protestant. I personally think some may be getting them out of shame or fear. What if parents and religious communities supported those mothers first and foremost? It’s a given that not everyone who plans to be abstinent will stay abstinent. And ignorance on sexual reproductive health does not help anyone. I believe ignorance is destructive.

4. Pro-lifers should support foster care and adoption. Not everyone may have an ideal situation to adopt or foster, but for those who can, it truly shows your commitment to owning up to what one believes. How can one advocate fostering and adoption and not be open to helping these children in some way? There is always a way to help. Donations, fundraising, taking classes to get a better understanding of the process, being mentors, advocates, volunteers…the list goes on. There is SOMETHING each one of us can do to help the lives of these babies, kids, and teens.

5. Work on things on a personal, community, and state level. That has the most impact. Your voice may only be a whisper on the nationwide level, but in your own city? It can really be powerful and echo throughout the area. And on a one-to-one level? You could save a life or help support someone with a life-changing decision.

There was once a time when abortion was illegal, and when women had very little reproductive rights. I care enough about women as a whole to not want the horrors of that time repeated. I think we need to redefine what is acceptable without making abortion illegal. It’s a hot buzzword during election season – abortion and Planned Parenthood. People may not agree with my stance, but I think we can all agree seeing abortion and teen pregnancy percentages drop is something both pro-life and pro-choice can celebrate together. And we can agree that supporting pregnant women, reproductive/sexual health education, and our local community make a difference.