While sitting down the other evening to watch our yearly intake of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ I was once again taken by the films many pro’s. It has great actors, great acting, humor, drama, love, family, hope, faith, grace and is a story you likely wouldn’t see on the silver screen any longer. In fact, just this morning I saw a news report that CNN is calling for the movie to be put to rest, as it is “inherently sexist“, since poor Mary Bailey could have had a “stellar career” if she hadn’t met and fallen for that misogynistic pig, George, who was always keeping her down. I mean, forget the fact that Mary had secretly wished for many years to pin him down as a husband, she could have really been SOMETHING if she had just ditched that loser and hit the corporate scene!
Of course, all of George’s sacrifices mean nothing.
Now, I certainly don’t want to take away from the part Mary plays in this story, because she does play a big part, but to put her on the same level of importance as the main character, George, is silly if only because George is the main character! The story is about him and his struggles.
While watching the movie this year, very much like last year and the year before, my wife had some choice words she simply had to made known during the scene where George throws a bit of a fit. He has spent the better part of the day hunting down $8000 missing dollars, yelling at his uncle, going to the one man he dislikes the most to beg like a dog and realizes he is likely going to jail, even though HE isn’t the one who lost the money. He is at the end of his rope. His nerves are frayed. He’s both worried and angry and, unfortunately, the only other people in the room at the time are his wife and kids.
Now, none of this makes what he does right, but it sheds light on why this seemingly mild-mannered man flies off the handle and yells at the people he loves. Watch the majority of the scene here
George, after going full bore off the edge, realizes what he is doing and what he must look like to his family. He realizes he has gone too far and you can see the shame hit him full on. He is genuinely sad and sorry for his behavior, but he has already crossed the line and now he is frustrated with himself even more.
This is where my wife chimes in with her selection of phrases about how George should be punched in the face or kicked to the curb or some other such nonsense. As I recently stated, I see my wife as a nominal Christian feminist in that she would never call herself a feminist and doesn’t latch on to the ideals of feminism that Christians would consider ‘extreme’, but she most certainly has feminism programmed into her brain simply by the fact that she has grown up in a society that has infused it into young girls. Though she doesn’t believe in abortion or the legend of the wage-gap she see’s nothing wrong suggesting that George’s behavior here is nothing short of abuse and that he deserves physical punishment in the form of having his nose broken or that he has just given his wife the ammunition needed to divorce him or, at minimum, to pack up and leave him.
Though Mary does seem very irate at her husbands behavior what she does is something that modern women, even most Christian women, cannot comprehend: She acts with overwhelming grace. She doesn’t lay into him. She doesn’t pack her bags to leave. She doesn’t bad mouth him to her children as soon as their father is out the door. No, not at all! Instead she understands that her husband is acting out of the ordinary and that something is very, very wrong. Rather than see it as a moment to attack him she see’s it as a moment to do what a wife is supposed to do: Support her husband. Instead of telling her children what a jackass their dad is she tells them to pray! She gets on the phone to see if she can find out what has gotten him so bothered that he would act like a completely different person!
She shows grace.
A modern take on the film would have her out of the house in a heartbeat, or, more than likely, adding to her husbands burden by reminding him what a horrible husband and father he was, how he never amounted to anything REAL in life and how much better off she would have been had she just gotten her degree or, perhaps, stayed with good ol’ rich Sam Wainwright!
Modern women are not trained to see the plight of men as anything but weakness. I dealt with this myself earlier today. My two children still living at home are my son, age 18 and my daughter, age 21. The both of them are exceedingly lazy when it comes to keeping the house free from their messes and when it comes to picking things up in a timely manner when they are told. It drives my wife and I batty to have to continually pester them to pick up their shoes or clean up after themselves when they cook food. Today I asked my son, before I left the house at 6am, to gather up some trash before I got home for my lunch break so I could dispose of it in the trash bins at my office, but he failed to do what I asked and was not home when I got there. Suffice to say I was a bit more than angry and my wife took it upon herself to chide me about my frustration because it “ruined her mood”, though I made it clear that I was not mad at her because she had nothing to do with the situation. Yet when the two kids confound their mother then there is a battle cry for me to get onto them asap because they aren’t doing what they are told. My wife’s frustration is justified in her eyes, yet my frustration is just me being a jerk. This is solipsism. Women are hard wired to see themselves as the center of the universe, and few break away from that setting.
Mary has done something women are not hard wired or trained to do (anymore) in that she is thinking of someone else first. Not only that, but she has committed the cardinal sin of feminism, she has put her HUSBAND before her feelings.
On occasion my wife recalls her dads mother. A woman whom she mentions fondly except for one thing, that she was always “for the men” in the house. She always tended to her husband and her boys first. My wife not only mentions this as though it were a bad trait, but also speaks about it with venom in her voice, in a quasi-disgust, if you would. Certainly she would have no trouble with the woman putting the girls in the house first. I mean, ladies first, right? Oddly enough she certainly makes sure our boys are taken care of when they are home, perhaps even better than she takes care of me. She certainly shows more concern for them over me, but isn’t that just how feminism has trained modern women?
Donna Reed was pretty good looking in this film, and the sweet, feminine dresses the ladies wore back then only add to her loveliness. Perhaps, though, her most lovely feature is her quiet and gentle spirit, which is not only beautiful in the eyes of men, but also the eyes of God.