Friday, August 26, 2011

Liked, Loved, and Learned

Liked the Movie....LOVED the Book
Learned so much!
The Help is far from a "chick flick" The story is told from the perspective of the Black Maids and Housekeepers in the segregated south. Although this is the main story line, there is so much depth within the sub story lines. 
As a society, we have made great progress in the area of civil rights and treating everyone, regardless of race or background, with love and respect.
However, the one area we have not improved upon...the Mean, Snotty Girls who are just like the white women in this story. They are alive and well today. There is always a "ring-leader" like the character, Hillie (a Queen Bee), who knows how to appear polished and kind, yet when backs are turned, the true colors come out. I see this among girls more than I ever did as I raised my boys. 
In too many groups, the "ring-leader", acts as a "queen bee" and the others in the group are afraid to do anything to rock the boat as they know she will turn on them next. They are afraid to be kind to someone who may need a friend and afraid to stand up for what they know is right because the "Queen Bee" will make life miserable for them.
This group dynamic can work the other way when the "Queen Bee" is secure enough to be friends with everyone around her. This sets the tone for the rest of the "Bees" to do the same. A spirit of love and inclusion dominates the group. Unfortunately, this positive "Queen Bee" dynamic is rare.
Reading The Help caused me to examine the way I treat others and to observe the behaviors of the women and girls around me. It made me retreat from activities I love and distance myself from people who are friends and acquaintances just so I (and my children) would not be exposed to a pattern of unkind words and actions. 
The people I speak of are good people who have no idea how shallow and closed the are to including others and reaching out to those who are in need of kindness and understanding. If they were presented with concrete examples of their behavior, they would not recognize it.
Rather than dwell on the actions and behaviors of others, I am now more aware of how important it is to keep my own heart in the right place.
Thank you, Kathryn Stockett for this genuine look at the dynamics of race, class, group dynamics, family, and human nature.
Have you seen the movie?
Have you read the book?
What did you think?

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