This last week I watched a movie called Far From Heaven. It was set in the 1950’s. I really like watching things set in the 50’s. I liked Far From Heaven and I love Mad Men. It’s fascinating to me to see how far we’ve come from a time that doesn’t seem that far removed from our own.
After I watched Far From Heaven I was chatting with my sister. We were talking about the movie and how people tend to refer to 50’s as a simpler time or the good old days. My sister pointed out how people like to say that but really it wasn’t. There was just as much strife and hardship as now. The difference is that now we have instant access to everything. We see the stuff that makes these days “worse” on a daily basis. In fact, I’m inclined to believe that things have actually gotten much better since the 50’s.
I’ll use Far From Heaven as an example. In the movie a woman catches her husband cheating on her with another man, and then she falls in love with a black man. A double whammy of scandal in the 50’s. What made me so sad are two things; first her husband cheating on her.
It was sad because he tries to get treatment for his “disease”. He tells the doctor that he wants to “beat this thing”. I understand him not wanting to hurt his wife or his family. The problem with the whole situation is 1950’s society viewed homosexuality as a disease. If homosexuality had been viewed as something people are he never would have had to pretend. He never would have married a woman had children and then had to worry about how much he was hurting them. He could have just lived his life, as could his wife.
We’re still not there yet in our own society but I believe we’re making progress. There are still those out there who believe homosexuality is a choice, is immoral and sinful. However, more and more people are beginning to see it simply as the way some folks are. They’re beginning to see that it doesn’t adversely affect them or their children to see two people of the same sex holding hands walking down the street. More people are beginning to see two people in love rather than two girls or two guys holding hands. I believe more parents are teaching their children to love people no matter what and I think that’s important.
The second thing that made me sad is that even though the woman in the movie gets divorced from her husband, she ends up alone at the end. Her love interest has to leave the city because of the abuse his daughter is receiving at school and also because no one is frequenting his business any more. So they both end up alone and far apart at the end. It really bummed me out. I really wanted her to go to his new city to be with him but I realized that it just couldn’t happen. Where ever they went they would be ridiculed and abused.
Now, no one bats an eye when they see an interracial couple. It’s not scandalous or weird, it’s two people in love. I think that’s a great thing! I know there are still racist people out there. This world is so far from perfect. It never will be all butterflies and rainbows because everyone has different ideas about what makes something perfect. Because human beings are involved there will always be hardship. We are flawed creatures, but that doesn’t mean that ignorance and intolerance is bliss.
The world in stark black and white does not make it better. There are no absolutes. There are many people who fall into shades of gray and that’s what makes the world an interesting place to live. Let’s keep working toward loving each other, building each other up instead of looking back at a “simpler” time of black and white. Let’s start embracing all the colors we see out there.