Tonight I watched The Help – A movie set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s about an aspiring author during the civil rights movement who decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid’s point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
I’m writing this blog for a couple of reasons, firstly, I have always felt like I should have been born and raised in the early 1960’s – Perhaps I feel this way because being a fashion enthusiast I am drawn to the outfits of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s where ladylike fashion was a must. A time when women spoke so eloquently and pearls adorned the necks of make up made ladies who wore fur coats when they dined out, a time when women ‘dressed’ for dinner at home with their husbands and there was never a hair out of place… A time when Jackie Kennedy epitomized glamour and everyone wanted to be adorned with Kenneth Jay Lane jewels, jet-setting had just become oh so popular and life was great ( for some at least), it seemed nothing much could be bad for you, no warnings about smoking, or skin cancer or terrorism.
Secondly, I had learnt about the civil rights movement at school, travelled to Washington in my twenties and heard a powerful speech from Martin Luther King that helped shape a nation, so I shouldn’t have been so saddened or shocked by what I saw on screen but still I was. This movie was a tear jerker and heart warming and wonderful, to think that what played out on screen was what life was like just a mere 50 years ago, it was confronting and shocking and yet a little uplifting… I know you must be thinking uplifting is an odd choice of word to describe the witnessing of some horrors in which we can barely speak but as I sat with my tea and watched the credits roll on I thought about all the people who lived through that era and I wandered, did any of them at any stage of their life guess how different life would be?
Sure, I’m a little disappointed that we don’t get around dressed as primped and proper as those from the JFK era, but while our choice of outfits are not once what they were, we have made a choice to try and live in a world where people are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, Martin Luther King would have been proud… and why in no way is our world perfect, we are trying to do a much better job at accepting each other and there is nothing disappointing about that.