We all know that plenty of what we see in the media is neither wholesome nor uplifting, but how do we deal with that? How do we live “in but not of” the world? This week, we talk to Marian Jordan, author of Sex and the City Uncovered (and several other wonderful books), about this exact issue.
4word: “Sex and the City” was a popular television show marketed towards young, professional women, like our readers. In your first book, Sex and the City: Uncovered, you state that the show glorifies a lifestyle that takes its toll on women. Can you explain what you mean by that?
Marian: The movie and TV show glamorized a lifestyle of casual hookups and sexual promiscuity as well as extravagant spending. That lifestyle is not a reality for most women, but the show glamorized it to a point that it became the ideal. It normalized the idea that a girl who’s working and making $35,000 a year should wear Manolo Blahniks. Those are $800 shoes!
The show created the expectation in many women that, to be single and happy, you’d better have $800 shoes. As a result, you have all these 22-year-old women racking up huge credit card debt. The show also painted a picture that you can have sex with whoever you want whenever you want without any consequences. Which is a lie. At the bottom line, the show is dangerous to women because it says you can look to something other than God for your identity and security.
4word: Why do you think that we are so susceptible to that lie?
Marian: TV has a way of painting a picture in our minds. There’s that age-old question: does art imitate life or life imitate art? In most cases, I think we mimic what we see. In the case of “Sex and the City,” the characters are all endearing, and the four women each respresent a stereotype so that each woman watching can find one she identifies with.
The more you see her, the more you want to be her, and the more you see Samantha having sex with multiple men in each episode, the more you become desensitized to it. That’s why Scripture tells us to renew our minds. If we aren’t careful about what we are setting before our eyes, we aren’t guarding our hearts or minds, and we may be heading down a path to destruction.
4word: What’s your advice to our readers about how to stay “in the world, not of the world?”
Marian: I would say to pray for and watch with discernment. In the dictionary, discernment is defined as the ability to judge good from evil. As the old saying goes, “whatever you feed grows.” If you’re constantly feeding your mind things that glamorize bad choices, you might need to start feeding it good things instead. For example, if I am watching a show that’s causing me to covet $800 pairs of shoes and I see that becoming a pattern, I say to myself, “I need to cut back on watching this.”
4word: One of the goals of your ministry is to transform how women think about their worth. In a culture that glorifies the “Sex and the City” lifestyle, what can young, professional, Christian women do to maintain a healthy self image?
Marian: I say this a lot when I speak: the only One who can define you is the One who created you. As women, we tend to look around us at our career, our significant other, our performance or our friends to define us. We look at all these different things and ask, “Am I good enough? Loveable enough?” If the thing we are looking to fails, we go into this downward spiral, and it’s because we have turned over the right to define us to the wrong source.
The One who defines us is the One who created and redeemed us. There’s freedom in that. Freedom from being told your only worth is in your sexuality, if you formerly defined yourself by your body. Freedom from co-dependence, if you defined yourself by your relationships. Getting to know who you are in Christ is the most freeing thing in the world. There’s a security, confidence and sense of identity that comes when you look upwards to God instead of outwards to man.
If you’re interested in hearing more from Marian, we encourage you to visit her website, RedeemedGirl.org, where she blogs weekly. You can also follow Marian on Twitter (@marianjordan) or like Redeemed Girl Ministries on Facebook. If you’d like to learn more about Marian’s books, you can visit the store on her website. In fact, she just published a new one: The Girlfriends Guidebook.