Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is Theatre Appropriate for a Christian Female?

"Bonnie Lass" asked the following question in the Q&A forum at Phatmass:
I'm a theatre astress and I've been one for four years, and I love it, but the men there are horrible my mother is with me most of the time, but the times when she's not, i have men who are 7 to 15 years older then me hitting on me, i'm a 15 year old girl and i've never taken interest in guys. I was pretty much raised with my brothers, so i'm a sporty type of girl, but the last show i did i had this 23 year guy totally popping my "personal bubble" and i had to have two GUYS i hardly know get him off of me, (they did but i paid them with and pint of vodka, they would have done it anyway, i can trust THEM up to a point) i'm not afriad to hit some one and i even smacked this guy really hard after he said something that i thought was horrible. And he thought it was funny, his joke and that i smacked him, i'm a catholic and i want a husband who will love me for who i am, not for what he can get out of me!

The show is over now but what should i do if this happens again, i'd like the guideness of a priest and other peoples thoughts, my mother and my father know all about it and we've talk about it, my father said i should ask girls my age and old wiser people who've had this experence. I guess I'm new to this but one of my biggest problems is: How do i know whos the creep and who i can trust up to a point. I'd love to know what you think from male and female points of veiw
First, of all, I'd like to know how you got ahold of a pint of vodka! (but, perhaps that's beside the point)

Theatre is a notoriously hostile environment for a Christian, so it is essential that you protect yourself. First, make sure you dress modestly. If you accentuate your sexual nature then it follows that you will get attention from men (and even women) who are only interested in this aspect of you. Rest assured that you would be following in the footsteps of many saints who have preserved their purity in this way. Also, it is generally safer to stick with your peers. When someone much older than you starts showing interest or becomes overly complimentary, that is cause to at least question their motives. Also, whenever anyone, your age or otherwise, is disrespectful towards you or attempts to treat you like an object, you need to be up-front and unabiguous about how unappreciative you are of this behavior. Let there be no question about whether or not you condone what this person is doing.

That said, I personally don't advise females to be the aggressor when it comes to physical retaliation. Now, if you are being attacked, or if someone is getting too close to you, it is certainly ok to push them away after you have told them to back up (because the other person has initiated the advance). But if a guy just says something and you slap him, he is likely to respond with a physical act of his own. Men are much more physical and so they can see this as an opening to return the favor (especially those men who are controlling or who like to demean women). So, you really have to be careful about touching guys like this in any way, and to make sure that you do so only when necessary. This also means not giving him a playful punch or slap on the arm whenever you are joking around (guys like this just read too much into the touch of a woman).

If you can, you may need to be more selective about the plays or shows that you participate in. Plays that are sexual in nature usually attract the right people for the job, if u know what I mean. On the other hand, shows that have a really good message, and that are family-oriented are at least more likely to cast virtuous actors and actresses. It is good that you keep your parents around when you are performing and practicing, and that you keep them up to speed on what is going on. I think u should definitely continue doing that. Beyond that, if there is a director or a supervisor of some kind, he may be able to help as well. Legal action can also be taken against these people, if it comes to that.

Ultimately, if you have tried all of this and there is still no relief, you will have to reconsider participating in theatre. Our bodies are temples of the Lord, and our souls are precious. It is our duty to protect them. Sometimes this means giving up things to which we have grown attached. You know a creep from a good guy by how he respects the dignity and "genius" of women.

I hope this helps.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

1 comment:

Laura H. said...

It sounds to me like she knows exactly what needs to happen and exactly the appropriateness of the theater for Christian women.

I too was involved in theatre and originally appalled by the things that went on there. But theatre, if you are not very cautious of all that is going on around you, has a way of 'corrupting' the most innocent. Many actors take great pleasure in destroying the innocence of the younger or newer.

I would warn her to be very careful about her dealings in the theatre and try to find groups that are supportive and respectful of her faith and morals. Pope John Paul the Great was involved in theatre and was very successful in finding happiness within the arts. However, he was never involved in a show that would test his morals in any way. If there was objectionable material, he had nothing to do with it.

I would advise every Christian to follow by these standards.

Some may say they have the moral strength to survive in the industry, and this may be true, but it would take such a high level of strength that I would never advise anyone to put themselves in that type of situation.

Although some may find it lame, I would make the sacrifice and work with a church group. It can be frustrating to work with those who are not trained but it is a great act of humility to do so. And you can teach them as you work!

Anyway, this has gotten rather long. I just feel very strongly about Christians (men or women) being involved in traditional theaters.

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