The Shrew View: “Lady Bird”

Always look at today for tomorrow’s inspiration.

Bridal season is underway!!  This is the time of year when I experience the heaviest load of work.  April, May and June brides and their entourage need their first fittings as well as those young ladies going to Prom, communication with July through October brides is happening nearly every day and my busy hands need to keep up with the details of nip/tuck.  My mind swells with lace, beads, bustles and bows!  Ever since Barbie married Ken I have delighted in the details of THE DRESS and how these details help to make the young woman feel her best on her special occasion.  I am blessed that my passion has lead to my own business, but practical aspects of my past held back this creativity (just as it happens for many folks).  Did my engineering degree and years spent working in R&D at various companies hold back my bliss?  I’d like to think that those years were actually the foundation for a more enlightened career choice…Always look at today for tomorrow’s inspiration 🙂

Even though my working life is somewhat full these days I must take enjoyment in other pastimes.  One thing that I enjoy doing is watching movies.  I recently had the opportunity to see “Lady Bird”.  This coming-of-age film received critical acclaim for its strong acting and fresh look at the gulf between childhood and adulthood.  Set in the year 2002, it wittingly balances stereotypes against our U.S. Culture’s timeless truths.

This film portrays the two strong female characters of a daughter and her mother.  Christine is the 17 year old daughter of a middle class couple who are temporarily struggling to make ends meet.  They have a modest home in Sacramento, CA.  Christine’s mother has her attend the private Catholic School because apparently the public school has proved to be much too violent.  It is obvious that Christine’s mother controls the household and all those who live in it (this includes Christine’s college educated brother and his live-in girlfriend).  You get the sense that the mother’s control issues are tempered with an inspired love that has had an unmistakable influence from a  childhood which was rife with alcohol abuse by her own mother.  Christine’s father is the tempering force that keeps everyone together.  He might struggle with depression from losing his job and remaining unemployable, but he seems to understand well that trying to control what happens around him is a losing battle…It is better to use some insight and guide the daily pitfalls toward positive meaning.

In her childish way Christine uses her personal strengths of perseverance, humor and curiosity to carve out her niche in society.  Her “power name” is Lady Bird.  She uses this name to help be identified as a strong though quirky candidate for each class presidential election and to help her compensate for her “lower” middle class position in life.  This name along with her curiosity and perseverance seem to give her just the right amount of boost she needs to cleverly insert herself into the higher social networks.

I found that Christine’s ability to explore her sexuality is an incomplete and naive approach.  She is quite the fiendish child in some scenes, however we don’t get to understand how she has figured out the adult nuances of protected sex in other scenes.  Catholicism after all is known for its strict adherence to abstinence, so where did she learn about these practical measures?  Should we assume that magazines, media and her peers are her guides?  Her mother definely doesn’t appear to be the imparter of such important information, but I could be wrong.

By the end of the movie as she leaves home and enters college she seems to have gained the adult perspective so needed for her to negotiate life’s intracacies.  This perspective is partially shaped from her Catholic faith.  Whether by choice or by accident, the familiarity of a home away from home is hers to accept or reject.  She embraces these benefits because, in essence, these religious guiding principles are central to the self-love that she needs in an all too lonely world.

True to form, I think this film does represent middle class female adolescent conflicts very well.  Has much changed in 15 years?  It’s been almost 40 years since I’ve been 17…pexels-photo-556663.jpeg…It’s still pretty timeless!

 

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