And now, The Real Elastigirl

by suzy sammons, GM of dove.org

OK, it’s time for a real voice to step in. It seems the rest of the media perspective on the magnificent Incredibles2 amounts to a peanut gallery of people missing the most important point of all.

Many articles are about how Bob Parr had to learn to be a stay-at-home-Dad, and while I understand the grab-n-go territory of big-strong-man having to learn to do the surprisingly complex and delicate work of running a home, that’s so not it. Clearly this is not a story about men. We have a female hero, female villain and female fashion guru. Worst of all, do we seriously think the most interesting exploration is about how some neanderthal (brainless) men only see the exaggerated shape of a cartoon’s derriere?

Even one of the female perspectives I found tried to twist the story into a flat feminist rant that robs us of the joy of a strong marital partnership. Patricia Puentes said Elastigirl “seems a bit too happy to go back home to her old life” after beating the villains. I reject this, even as a modern (Jesus-style) feminist. Holly Hunter, the wonderful actor who gives voice and personality to Elastigirl, said that the film was ahead of it’s time. She said writer Brad Bird had this concept a decade ago and therefore pre-dating today’s enflamed #MeToo and TimesUp movements. Dare I say this isn’t about either.

Allow me to shine a blazing light on the most wonderful angle, from a mom with a decades-long career and crazy-time family life. I sat in my Regal seat utterly stunned by my heart’s connection to the beautiful dimensions of Mrs. Incredible/Elastigirl/Helen Parr. This was an experience I enjoyed immensely, entirely within myself, realizing that not one of my loving family members to my right or left could fully understand. Helen Parr is wildly capable, chosen over her husband because of her particular nuance and superhero craft. Her job brings the family a luxurious pad with remote control indoor water features. And she aches when she’s away from the needs of the kids and her husband. She’s compassionate and supportive of him, even though she could have said “get a clue,” or “if you didn’t make such a colossal mess, we wouldn’t be in this situation.” But instead, she elegantly performs her work and never loses sight of her most powerful role in her family’s health. Helen Parr is keenly aware of what makes us each – and together – thrive, and how to set up the next generation for success.

Elastigirl has always delivered. We see the priorities of her family that outweigh virtually every other thing. And yet, she goes to battle so that her family can thrive. It’s a pain and inner struggle that men can’t know. Like childbirth itself. Elastigirl also goes to battle and she is invigorated, and successful. She is living her calling and she is stretched (yes, I said that). Mrs. Incredible doesn’t need to state the obvious and dishonor her husband. Elastigirl doesn’t need to talk about her mighty ability. Helen Parr is completely invigorated by her family’s whole health. This writer is delighted to see this portrayal of a working mom, in a family movie that is beautifully and wonderfully made. Thank you Brad Bird!

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