Have you seen "Spy," the new Melissa McCarthy movie that was up for several Golden Globes? I'm not telling you to run out and see it, or stay home and rent it (you have to wade through some vile stuff)---but there are some things here that can help us in 2016. (Plus, every time I
Men have saved the world so many times, it’s the women’s turn. Angelina Jolie was the first to shatter the Hollywood glass ceiling and prove that very very thin women who are also unearthily beautiful can kick evil men’s butts, flip 6’5” bodyguards, and leap from motorcycles onto bullet trains while rocking high heels.
Yes, ridiculous, of course, but You go, (way-too-skinny) girl!!
Melissa Mccarthy raises the bar a hundred more notches. Overweight, middle-aged, demure and house-wifely supportive, she too saves the world---both from the bad guys (and girls) and from the bumbling Jason Stratham, the James-Bond parody whose bone-headed attempts to man-muscle through every dicey situation provide the comic relief. What a relief! Remember the old James Bond movies, and the bevies of women who were not accomplices but accessories, good for bikinis, for adding screams of terror, and for adorning Bond's arms and nothing else, not even normal conversation?
So, finally, here's a little turnaround fair play. Late, but better than never.
The writers of Spy are right about a few other things, too: Like, if you really want to go deep undercover and put on the Invisibilty Cape: become a chubby cat-loving middle-agedwoman in pink capris and sneakers----Magic! No one will ever see you. No one will suspect your true identity or abilities.
Or, dress her in an unflattering skirt, baggy vest and denim bag. Again: middle aged woman with helmet hair and baggy clothes---Poof! Invisible!
But of course, McCarthy’s character is dangerous. This CIA operative is not only carrying a weapon, but she becomes a weapon. She’s not only super smart and crazy courageous, cleverly infiltrating the Evil Empire when no one else can, but later in the movie, she fights, flips bad guys, jumps on a motorcycle and just generally becomes a James Bond Tom Cruise Daniel Craig action hero. Except it’s Melissa McCarthy.
In the last five years, Hollywood's women have been playing a tight game of catch-up, delivering female stand-up comics and sitcom actresses as capable of raunchy vulgarity and mindlessness as men. Of late, we’re including women now as anti-heroes, heretofore always a man’s place (with notable exceptions, like "Thelma and Louise.") What do we do with all this? I can guess what some might expect from me at this point. That since I’m a woman-of-faith, I’ll critique this even-the-score agenda as absurd overcompensation. And maybe you'll think that since I’m a Christian (one of those!) I’ll lament that women are still locked into the gender wars, trying to better men by being men. And that I'll argue that women should quit stressing over social status and just keep their God-given domestic place. But I'm here today to say this to McCarthy, and excuse the vernacular:
"You go, girl!"
Though the movie at one point sinks into such sickening language I almost turned it off, still, I cheer our heroine on, through the motorcycle chase, the gun-toting, man-flipping and all the rest. Because at the heart of this Hollywood spy comedy fantasy is something deeply and beautifully true:
We are, all of us, much more powerful and courageous than we know.
And we too can save the world.
McCarthy could not be a better “everywoman” who reminds us that no matter our hairstyle our size our age our gender, no matter how many children we have, no matter how invisible and weak we may appear to others, we can fight for the right. We can save a life. We can be heroes.
And we can.
We are truly dangerous. But our weapons will not be guns, or disguises, and we don’t need stunt men and women to double for us. We need none of these things because we’re already outfitted. We’ve already been given all we need. From head to toe, from our bad hair to our bunioned-feet, everything will fit: the helmet, belt, shoes, the bullet-proof vest, the sword. Because what we’re really wearing is Righteousness, Peace, Truth, Salvation, Faith, and the Holy Spirit himself. We are armed and as dangerous as Love itself, capable of overturning empires, mending families, denying ourselves for the sake of others. Because of this-----
And it fits. Everything. All of it. No matter who you are.
But you won’t know until you strap it on. Until you stand in it.
You’d better do more than stand, though. We have to open our doors and lift our eyes from our own lives to those around us. And then-----watch out! Here we come!
Go out and (humbly, lovingly) kick some butt, ladies and gentlemen!
Save a life! Or a lot of lives.
You already know who needs it. And you already know how.