I watched The Help last night. A big thank you to my friend Jules for writing a status update about it. I’d seen tweets about the movie last year both speaking of the book and the film. Thankfully she reminded me with her comment the night prior.
I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older I end up watching the movie rather than read the book of most titles. Not because I don’t like reading but I think I’m able to sit and concentrate for 2 hours than grab time here and there to finish a book.
The Help. Such a thought provoking movie. This film was profound. Invoking such intense feelings and emotions.
Many tears were shed which I was surprised about. I’m not really a “crier” but the depth of emotion portrayed and the relationships encountered and revealed were thorough, and I’m sure didn’t even grasp a glimmer of the complexity and how emotionally damaging, no make that scarring these were.
There were a few scenarios that made me reflect and touched upon my heart. As many I have seen write and quote this story they have mentioned the words of Aibileen
“You is kind, You is smart, You is important”
The first time she mentioned them I thought those, them are empowering words. But moment shifting and life changing for Mae were when Aibileen reminded her of them in difficult and upsetting times. To have those words instilled in you and etched into your cellular memory to fall back on as a coping mechanism is amazing. What a blessed child and what an absolute beautiful carer Aibileen was. My wish is for every child to be spoken these words and reminded of this fact every single day of their lives. I adore the relationships that were spoken of so tenderly by Aibileen and then by Skeeter between maid/nanny and the children of the families.
Another comment that stopped me in my tracks was by Charlotte (Skeeter’s mother)
“Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you for bringing it back to our family”
This broke my heart. Although admittedly Charlotte’s behaviour toward her maid wasnt appropriate, Skeeter wouldn’t have evolved into the passionate, fair, fighting and determined woman she was without the family she was supported by (yes I know Constantine was a major influence) but themes of women, and matriarchal lineage is an important subject. The impact upon our lives (and the patriarchal lineage for men) is immeasurable.
This statement also made me reflect upon the definition of courage and who measures it anyway. Self measurement is of the highest importance in my humble opinion.
Finally, at the end I found myself feeling like I had to apologise for my forebears behaviour, attitudes and undertakings. I was embarrassed, I felt ashamed and I felt sick to the stomach knowing and acknowledging that this truly existed. I’m still pondering if there is anything that I can actually do. I know that time has passed, this can not be changed. It took me back to thoughts of the formal apology to the stolen generations led by our then prime minister, Mr Kevin Rudd. I sat taking it all in at the time. Breathing every word and intention with him. Hoping and trusting that this was going to move our country forward and heal some of the wounds.
I do not know any other world than that of “legal” equality given my age, With gender, age or race/ethnicity. In saying this I know that it is not equal, far from it and there are still areas that are fighting for equality as we know with same-sex marriage. But I am grateful that we have moved forward from the period of time that ‘The Help’ was set in. I am forever grateful that there were people and characters like Skeeter and Aibileen that had the courage and voice to fight the inequality and challenge the obnoxious and closed minded views of many people.
I am thankful and full of gratitude that I have been raised and surrounded by family and friends who have instilled in me the importance of treating everyone the same and to challenge any belief that any person is lesser than. Ah so much more to say and as I write this I feel my words don’t nearly explain eloquently enough.
Below is Powderfingers 2007 interpretation of the continued issues we have in our own country he said at the time he wrote the song “to bring attention to the obvious disadvantage that is still being suffered by Aboriginal people in this country”, which he said included the issue of “Indigenous deaths in custody”
May we teach our own children the wise words of Aibileen so that they do not feel the need to disempower and disrespect others to feel more powerful within themselves and importantly to ensure the shift and momentum ever evolves.
“You is kind, You is Smart, You is Important”