Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Defining Characteristics

If someone had to list your defining characteristics, what do you hope they would say about you? Would they mention your kindness? Selflessness? Patience? Love? Charity? How about your sexual preference?

Well, it seems in today's world many people feel the need to define themselves this way. On this week's cover of People Magazine we learn that American Idol alum and teen hearthrob, Clay Aiken, is gay. Um, thank you for sharing, Clay. Can we move on now?

I don't understand this propensity to define oneself by sexual preference. Isn't there more to your life than who you are attracted to? And why is it that Hollywood in general feels the need to share so much with us, be it politics, sex, drug addictions, family planning, whatever? I don't want to know that much about anyone.

And frankly, it's just sad that so much emphasis is placed on this one aspect of life. Up till now I thought of Clay Aiken as a (mediocre) singer who seemed like a nice guy. Now I'll think of him as being gay. Is that really what he was hoping for?

This all reminds me of the drama that ensued last year when JK Rowling announced that her beloved character, Albus Dumbledore, was gay. She shared this information right around the time a wonderful Ensign article regarding same-gender attraction was published. (You can read Elder Holland's article here).

In sharing our annoyance over this little revelation, my brother shared these excellent thoughts:

If we look at [Rowling's announcement] from the perspective of Elder Holland's wonderful Ensign article, maybe Dumbledore was gay. However, it is apparent that Dumbledore took Elder Holland's advice and spent his entire life defining himself for his talents (prodigious wizarding skill, teaching, etc.) and his personal beliefs (helping the helpless, fighting evil, etc.). Now, by bringing up his sexuality he has become entirely limited in his scope. Ms. Rowling has defined Dumbledore by his sexuality which is definitely not what Dumbledore would want. This "revelation" hasn't deepened or broadened his character. Elder Holland's advice to the gay man he was counseling was to not define yourself by your sexual desires or temptations, but to define yourself by all the wonderful things you are... For me, if Albus Dumbledore has to be gay, he was a man who had to struggle with the temptation of same-gender attraction, but he rose above living his life solely to fulfill his sexual desires, and he instead defined himself as much much more.

It's too bad the rest of the world doesn't see it that way.

3 comments:

Megan B said...

LOL, I have always thought of Clay Aiken as gay :) Wait, that was probably the wrong response...

I was annoyed at the Dumbledore thing. Like there isn't enough focus on it in the world and in the media. I was glad it wasn't addressed in the book because I was completely oblivious to the possibility until the controversy came out much later.

mean aunt said...

And so help me, if they even hint at this in the movies I'll be annoyed.

Julia said...

My first response to the Clay Aiken thing was "Who?" My second response was "How is THAT news?"