Christians girls are an unusual breed. Most of us behave ourselves rather well. We don’t date jerks. We (usually) don’t drink. We don’t sleep around. Our parents don’t have to stress out over our behavior, and we’re in church at least once a week, if not more.
But, if other Christian girls are anything like me, we do have a little bit of a rebellious streak.
How does mine manifest?
On television, I like guys I would never tolerate, respect, admire, or hold any affection for in real life. Would I forgive Edward Rochester if he tried to deceive me in the way that he deceives and manipulates Jane Eyre? I doubt it. Would I find Lex Luthor as entertaining in my living room as he is on Smallville, or would I be absolutely terrified of him?
Then, there’s the fiction that I — and other Christian girls — write. I have an incredible talent for creating villains so charming, so enticing, so pitiable that most of my readers fall head over heels in love with them. I tested out this theory once, by having one particular character everyone adored do something that I thought was unforgivable. Guess what — they still loved him, although they also now felt sorry for him, that he’d have to deal with all that guilt.
Maybe part of the problem is that I love my characters too much to make any of them completely and utterly irredeemable. Even my villains hold a special place in my heart. I can’t just write a Mr. Tulkinghorn… my anti-heroes are tortured… brooding… solitary… guilt-ridden… in short, the man every good Christian girl loves to read about, because on the page, he can’t hurt her.
My friends and I had a discussion about this once. When asked why so many “good Christian girls” like such things as vampire fiction, one friend answered, “It’s our way of acting out. We’re not going to get drunk. We’re not going to get pregnant. We’re not even all that rebellious. So the biggest, safest thing we can think of in ‘acting out’ is to like something that others are scandalized by – like vampires.” They’re old. They’re dangerous. They’re incredibly sexy. Vampires are the ultimate “bad boy,” and whereas we have no time nor patience for bad boys in real life, on television or in books, where they pose no real threat either to our virtue or our necks, we love them.
I’m not going to say this is BAD, because at least we’re not out there sleeping around or throwing up drunk in a gutter somewhere. Having fun with fiction is a much safer way of misbehaving. But technically, we’re not thinking on all that is good and noble and pure, either — and it does tell us something that good Christian girls sometimes forget – our hearts are rebellious. We live vicariously through fiction. No matter how good we are at being “good Christians,” we’re still fallen, sinful beings and our basic instincts are to rebel — against God, society, our parents, and Christian culture. We’re still drawn to the rebellious bad boys. In real life, we value virtue in a man – we want him to be faithful, honest, trustworthy, protective, and godly. In fiction, we can forgive anything. It’s our way of NOT playing with fire. And however “good” we are in real life, we still need a savior.