Sunday, September 23, 2007

What Makes Boys Cry?

aka: Love, "Love", and Love Acts

I watch a lot of movies. Currently, I get through at least five a week, often more. I also watch just about anything, so I've seen some pretty odd, lame, terrible, disgusting, and disturbing flicks.

But I just watched "Boys Don't Cry" which reminded me a lot of "Monster", both of which I would not recommend. I first heard about "Boys Don't Cry" on the radio way back in 1999 when it came out. It dropped off the radar for me until I heard about it again while I was watching "This Film is Not Yet Rated". So I checked it out.

It's a story about courage, or love, or hate, or something; possibly all three. A girl passing as a guy who loves girls, finds a true love and gets knocked off for it. Similar to "Monster" in that there's true girl-on-girl love that ultimately ends in death. The fact that there is much more going on--theft, murder, jail time, other loves, lots of drinking, drugs, and many other things that scream "white trash"--is really not the point of these movies. These films are about finding yourself, love, and a way to live (or die) for who you are. ...I guess. It's "Brokeback Mountain" with a little more meaning.

Maybe it's the fact that "Monster" and "Boy's Don't Cry" are based on reality. Maybe it's because of the chapter on homosexuality in "Why Gender Matters". Maybe it's because I've known quite a few homosexuals myself. Maybe it's just because I'm odd. But whatever the reason, I feel like I need to respond to these movies and entertain the questions they raise in my mind.

As the song asks, "What is love?" Oh sure, we all know it's far more than a feeling. We may even understand that it is a verb. But what does that mean? How does one love someone who has determined (for whatever horrible reasons) to be unlovable?

"But wait a minute, Luke," someone may counter, "these girls found love with a very special female soul-mate." I guess I have to at least nod in that direction. But the love they found... it doesn't feel like love. Sure, it was love making. It seems like it felt very meaningful. And even Dr. Sax in "Why Gender Matters" points out that intimacy is very different for girls and boys, which further blurs this line and definition of love. But still, it feels like escapism. The only way these girls could function in the world was to (ideally) run off with their lover girl and be happy. Mean ol' Society (or Fate, or whatever) stepped in and decimated their hopes, dreams, and futures. So what should we have done instead?

We know that we should not have murdered "Brandon". We know these girls were just seeking love. We know that the "love acts" they did with girls made them feel like a million bucks. But what acts of love should I have done if I had been there? If we don't want these kinds of terrible events to repeat themselves, then give me a suggest for what I can do to help.

What bothers me most about these stories is that no one, especially the filmmakers, has a suggestion for what we should do. There's a sense of rage, frustration, and a demand for the "truth" of these stories, but absolutely no action, no hope, no redemption.

What makes this boy cry is that I don't have a suggestion either. If people go down these devastating paths, for whatever the reason, there is nothing I can do. That is so not my world, my experience, my reality that I can't fathom what I'd suggest or say to them if they came to me. Worse still, because I am not in their world, there is no way they would come to me.

This isn't about environment, per se, but it is about the life we choose and the hope we have. Again, someone might suggest that these girls did not have a lot of choices in life, and that may be true. But at least 50% of the blame rests on their shoulders: The refused to seek help (or accept help, like in the scene in "Monster" where the guy offers her a ride, money, and anything else she needs; she responds by putting a bullet in his head). The other 50% of the blame clearly rests on our shoulders because we are not visible enough as an obvious place of rest. We have not been helpful enough.

And that's what's so totally mind-blowing about Christ: People knew He was the guy to go to. How did He do it? I pray that one day my pursuit of Christ-likeness will lead me to the answer. Until then, if you have any ideas, let me know.

~Luke Holzmann

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