Sunday, April 7, 2013

Temptation Review

I love watching movies with my besties. The commentary is always quite hilarious...

"Unh uh. He better not pull my hair! I'm bald-headed!"

"He looks like an ant, and why does he have so much lip gloss on?" 

"That's not lip gloss. That's grease!"

"Why are Brandy's eyes so far apart? They need to stop doing closeups!"

"The grass isn't always greener on the other side cuz ain't no grass over there!"

"Man I'm pissed off!"

I received many fair warnings, and I still gave Tyler Perry the benefit of the doubt. My boy bestie asked in his review of the movie, "Why doesn't Tyler Perry trust us?" I should have trusted my gut. I guess I couldn't fight the Temptation...

Hello, my name is Judith (Jurnee Smollet-Bell). I'm a naive and gullible 25 year old (almost) marriage counselor and my husband is an aspiring pharmacist. I've known him since I was 6, so we were soul mates from the beginning. At least until Harley (Robbie Jones)  came along. He made me feel wanted and he remembered my birthday when Brice (Lance Gross) forgot. He also protected me when a guy ran me over in the park. Brice let a random guy disrespect me and call me out of my name. Harley showed me how a real man should treat me. Plus, he's already successful and has a load of money. I tried to resist his advances when we first met, but he awakened my senses and made me feel things that I've never felt with Brice, and I mean that in every way possible. He's spontaneous, funny, charming, aggressive and outrageously handsome. Brice is just... well, boring. I tried to be the kind of woman that Mama raised me to be, but I just got tired of being the "model Christian". Mama wanted me to be perfect, but she was keeping a secret of her own about my daddy. She's always judging me and telling me what to do; trying to control my life... but I'm a grown woman. Hell, I'm married! Even though Brice and I are still struggling, he promised that we'd be right where we need to be in about 10 years. I don't know if I can last that long though, especially if Harley keeps telling me to leave him. He's just so irresistible. The way he looks at me with burning desire, and how he grabs me and slangs me around. We have wild sex, and I kinda like it. The Bible says that married couples should have sex three times a week, but Brice stopped turning me on. He likes to work overtime and watch football. He's also too worried about that new chick Melinda (Brandy) who just started working at the pharmacy. She's mysterious and downright crazy. Who walks around with a hood on at night and gets jumpy when hearing someone else's voice? I don't know what's up with her, but something is definitely wrong. I don't have anything to worry about though. I know Brice will never leave me. He's weak, and conservative. But I on the other have learned how to live. Growing up in the South kept me sheltered. I never even saw people doing drugs back home. In DC, things are very different. Everyone is so carefree and outspoken. I finally decided to try new things and ended up close to the edge. I wanted to jump after Harley pushed Mama. I'd never seen him act that way in the unknown amount of time that he's been out of college. However, I did read his questionnaire and hypothesized about how he could possibly behave in a relationship. Things moved so fast. I didn't have time to think about what I was doing. All I can remember is Ava (Kim Kardashian) telling me that my shoes were ugly and that I was forgettable. I had to spice things up. And my boss (Vanessa Williams) with the fake French accent wasn't making things any better by forcing me to set old white guys up with younger women. I needed to be fulfilled. I needed excitement. I needed a wake up call...

*Fast forward after weird introductory flashback*

I'm speaking in first person because I have to help you understand the plot. You'll probably miss the clues if you don't pay attention from the very beginning, when I'm counseling a young Caucasian couple and using my sister's life as an example of how things could end up if you decide to have an affair. Don't worry; you won't get too sidetracked. Just keep predicting what's going to happen at the end. You'll be surprised by what you thought you knew... because sequence isn't really that big of a deal.

Get the point? Temptation was poorly developed with an unrealistic plot full of stereotypical insinuations. No real established point of view. Horrible time references. Bad character development (Brandy somehow forgot to age at the end)... and I don't know if God would be pleased with a movie that portrays the wholesome Christian wife as one who never forgets to say grace and cooks for her husband EVERY night, while wearing mismatched, old fashioned clothes to work and "normal" hairstyles that don't attract too much attention. 

Tyler Perry, your movies should be steadily improving at this point. If you're going to continue to write, direct and produce films that exclude Madea, please be sure that the editing is not completed by some intern at your studio in Atlanta. I clearly did not miss the overall message. You undoubtedly confirmed that every GOOD writer needs a GREAT editor. Oh, and when T-Boz, Lefteye and Chilli sang to us about not chasing waterfalls, they were dead serious. Therefore, I'm not totally disappointed. Just really really really confused...

Grade D: Only because of the Lance Gross shower scene.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Beat It?

Father beats his daughters for twerking, is subsequently arrested, and the world thinks he took it too far. But wait, he was arrested because the mother of the two girls called the police, and then the video went viral... Who released the video? Why didn't the mother support him? Did the girls really have open wounds, even though they were fully clothed? Will arresting him solve the problem? So many unanswered questions, but there will definitely be no more "booty action"... unless the mother is strict enough to discipline her daughters accordingly. 

When Michael Jackson encouraged us to beat it, I'm sure he didn't mean it in a literal sense. When I read this story, I was confused, bothered, disgusted, angry, hurt, plus more. I also couldn't figure out whose side I was on. Should I support a father's right to discipline his daughters with physical reprimands, no matter the severity? Or should I hold steadfast to my own personal beliefs concerning abuse in any form. I choose the latter. Although I do not agree that his actions warranted an arrest, I do agree that he was much too aggressive in his attempt to inform his daughters that their actions were not acceptable. In most cases, a parent will chastise their child/children with some sort of bodily harm. I've always been a firm believer in non-physical punishment, but spankings are sometimes required, depending on the circumstances. Beatings, though, should never be a primary solution for condemning a child.

Spank: To strike, especially on the buttocks with an open hand
Beat: To hit repeatedly so as to inflict pain 

cc: Merriam-Webster

I'm a 26 year old semi-successful writer, and I can only remember getting two spankings; maybe three. I believe that I was a good child: respectful, polite, intelligent, etc. I hardly ever stepped out of line. After being spanked a couple times, the message was clear. You do wrong, you get punished. I didn't like being punished. So, I did everything that was expected of me... as every child should. But every child is different, every situation varies, and distinctive outcomes cannot be predicted. As much as I would love to defend the argument that spankings don't guarantee that a child will grow up to become a law abiding citizen, I must be realistic, while also trying to prove my point:

As children get older, spankings become more tolerable, which usually means they are not affected by the physical act of discipline and will probably keep doing the same defiant things if the parent does not employ an additional method of punishment. 

Truth be told, I'm afraid of having children. So afraid, that I almost typed child instead of "children". I'm only equipped to handle one, if at all. I constantly tell people that I can't see myself hitting a child. To me, it's an indecent way of expressing disappointment that often does not produce a concrete resolution. Striking a child, either mildly or extremely, increases the capacity of fear and shame. In addition, it adds to the psychological imbalance that affects one's confidence and self-worth. I don't have to conduct research to further elaborate on this fair assumption; experience is always the best teacher. Common practices are also reprocessed, which leads to an ongoing cycle labeled as "tradition", and many parents will couple their defense with a Bible verse to make it excusable:

Do not withhold discipline from a child;
    if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
14 Punish them with the rod
    and save them from death.

cc: Proverbs 23:13-14

In other words, "you spare the rod, you spoil the child". Disciplining with the rod of correction has been reinterpreted to suffice for abusing children with extension cords, wire hangers, sticks, etc. When your child is crying out in the midst of your effort to inflict the highest degree of pain, where do you draw the line? Or is there no limit that's justifiable when errors are grounds for punishment? Yes, God has directed us to discipline a child consequently, but torturing a child to the max of their individual endurance level causes emotional anguish and personal struggles that are highlighted elsewhere.

Excerpt from link:

Early abuse may be more damaging to developing emotion and stress systems because it happens as the brain is rapidly developing and when children are more dependent on caregivers’ protection. Moreover, because it’s harder for very young children to discern the clues predicting an abusive attack, they may be chronically stressed and overly vigilant.

"Words hit as hard as a fist." 

Although I didn't receive many spankings, I was disciplined verbally, with promising threats and ultimatums. Ex: "Make a C on your report card and "see" what I do to you!" Verbal discipline was more effective than physical discipline in my case. I was terrified of what could possibly happen, and my parents were very aware of how timid I was. So, they adapted to what worked best for their approach to parenting, and again, I did what was expected of me. 

It is important for parents to study their child/children to determine which form of discipline will result in a proper correction. Believe it or not, children are smart, even if their grades don't say so. They know what's coming if they do something wrong. Still, it doesn't stop them from doing it. Why? Because as children age they develop their own way of thinking and familiarize themselves with customary functions of the world. I suppose this is why it is common to promote the idea of allowing children to make their own mistakes; so that they can learn from them. But of course most parents have the tendency to nurture and protect, even when anger is present. Utilizing other relevant options can prevent future problems, especially when the child isn't learning from physical discipline, such as:

  • Confiscating  items (cellphone, television, etc.)
  • Public humiliation (forcing them to upload a picture to social media networks holding a sign that explains their punishment - kudos to one of my favorite authors, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, for starting this trend)
  • Back to basics repetitive writing (I will not do such and such...)

I don't doubt that most parents feel remorseful after striking a child; however, it should not take years for a parent to adjust their method(s) of discipline if a flagrant manner of spanking is clearly not working. If the child has not responded to physical torment, then the child may not be the problem, and I mean that sincerely. 

In conclusion, when parents are being punished for disciplining their own children, a change is obviously necessary. Furthermore, when two parents disagree on how a child should be disciplined, communication is key. I can't positively state that it was the first time this father harmed his daughters in such a radical way, but whatever was happening before this incident was not addressed by all means. I hope these young ladies fully understand the repercussions of their behavior; otherwise, their famous beating was for absolutely nothing.

Graph used courtesy of LA Times article that explains how spankings affect the brain.

Other Sources:

What is your definition of child abuse? Should parents be arrested for disciplining their children in whatever way they see fit?

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*