Friday, May 26, 2006

The Influence of Images

I was just looking at Kelleighs blog page where she talks about people making even the smallest homemaking project into a beautiful work of art.

Sometimes I feel very sad for the teenage girls, that the major images they have around them are full-blown music stars, or magazine covers with shapely women in styles of the day. We all, and especially the vulnerable, and impressionable young, tend to emulate the things we see. We are influenced most by the things around us.

For this reason, many girls see no choices for them other than those images. They want to be like those images. They want to do those things. They want to be models and actresses, not wives, mothers and homemakers. Showing hospitality, making a period costume, decorating the home--these things are not paraded in front of them the way the other things are. If you want those kinds of craft and homemaking magazines, you have to go down a dark aisle in the grocery store, stoop low, and dig behind something to find them.

Our daughters and young friends aren't as exposed as much to the occupation of the hands of many other valuable women. Those images are not blaring forth from the television set or the movies or the magazines that surround them. They are sheltered from that other world that could give them so much contentment and fulfillment.

The magazines at the check out in the grocery store show women's faces and their alluring anatomy. I would like to see instead, a magazine about women's hands. I'm sure some of you who are my age remember an illustration from an old McGuffey reader about hands. "Which hands are more beautiful," a mother asked her little daughter. she thought about his mother whose hands were always busy knitting or cooking, or helping her. She thought about another woman's hands that were smooth and fashionable. She knew that the hands of her mother were the most beautiful because of the things those hands had done.

But now we see women's hands hold cigarettes and cocktails. Girls may reject the notion of smoking and drinking, but these pictures will hide in corners of the mind. Secretly, they admire. Subtly, the influence.

On the Lady Lydia Speaks Column that I originally started at LAF, I posted many beautiful 18th and 19th century paintings of women in sweet domestic scenes, peeling apples, making pie crusts, arranging flowers, talking to their children, reading a book or writing a letter. The inside of living rooms, tea sets and food, and cozy cottages.

I did this for a reason. I wanted those images to influence young women. I wanted them to reflect those images in their lives. I wanted them to see the Titus 2 life as beautiful and desireable, by putting up pictures. Words conjure up images in our minds, but pictures show us how someone else has interpreted a value, a thought, or words.

Go to WalMart or any chain store where teen girls "hang out" and have a look at the poster section. What do you see? Mostly images of men and women who are famous and popular, fr what reasons? Are they admired for their faith or virtue? What have they contributed that has lasting value? Dr. Judith Reisman reports on the powerful influence of images and the monopoly media to alter human behavior here There are two poles pullling on youth today. On is the money-backed media, that promotes whatever it wants to suit their agenda of corrupting our youth, and the other is the Word of God, that tells us to think on things that are lovely and good. We must publish and teach young women to admire marriage and family and in doing so, have beautiful things in their homes that reinforce the meaning of family. Art work that shows the value of parents and the love of the home, should be on every wall of a child's room, instead of popular music figures.

Did you know you can get all the paintings I have ever posted, in poster form, from companies off the web and in catologs, just like the rock star posters that those girls look at in those stores? You cannot buy them in stores.

Can you imagine what a difference it would make in how those girls formed their future, if those images were presented to them, instead? Can you just see what a difference it would make in a young girl's heart, if she were to walk by Edmund Blair Leighton's paintings every day, posted on the theatre foyers, or in the poster section of a discount store?

These movie star posters influence the way our daughters dress. Can you imagine how the clothing in Edmund B. Leighton's paintings would influence our young women? They would want to imitate them.

Perhaps that is one reason why the 20th century modernists tried (successfully) to suppress these paintings. If such things were viewed often by the public, people would want to imitate them. The home would be exalted. Women would want to be wives, mothers, homemakers and teachers of good things. Men would want to build houses and look after women and children.

We need to petition places like Wal Mart to stock these posters. Surely it can be done!They are all available from art companies, and can be ordered in bulk. I just need to be taught some marketing strategies.

I was greatly influenced by a speech from an art collector. He said that he did not know such beautiful paintings existed. Many 19th century Victorian paintings were removed from the public so that the mad folly of the mod art could be ushered in, at the beginning of the 20th century. Our parents and grandparents, and even our great grandparents did not even know about these paintings. One I can think of is "The Shell"--a painting of a woman holding a sea shell to a child's ear. The modern artists scoffed at these paintings, calling them "sentimental and lacking in depth and meaning."

We have the same situation in our generation. There are rock posters that blare out there for our kids to see, and the nice art is hidden behind it all so that the kids can only find it by accident. We need to change this, and that is why I put so many pictures in my articles on LAF.

Back to my subject: One reason we choose certain decorations for our home is because of the unspoken messages they provide for our families. We want peace and love in our homes. We don't want rebellion or dishonoring of our values. These paintings reflect what has been revered through the ages: purity, beauty, courtship, marriage, home, family.

I enjoyed the links on Kelleigh's blog that show these images that are good and wholesome and also quite appealing and very very beautiful. It is exciting to see the way something is arranged or baked, and put in a complimentary setting to take a picture.

This might be one motivation for teen girls to learn to love the home: have them take pictures of things that they do, whether it is clearing off the cabinet tops and the sink, or setting a table, or just before and after pictures of cleaning up major messes. I always liked one seamstress's blog showing step by step progress of a dress she was making, including a picture of a zipper being sewn in the machine. The images help us understand how things are done, and what they can look like when they are finished.

Posting things like this is really catching on. It counter acts all the bad stuff that those with reprobate minds post. It puts more good stuff on the web. I heard a news commentator complain once that "the web is dominated by conservatives, Christians, and families."

(I smile)

English Afternoon Tea - some more wonderful photographs here


Anonymous said...

This is possibly the best article I have ever read here, at this blog,...and that's saying a lot! The logic you employ in this post is SO sound and the message is SOOOO true. Just excellent, Mrs. Sherman. Thank you!!!

Warmly, Ellen

Michael said...

Dear Mrs. Sherman,

Although I know little about art, I agree with the art collector's comment—it may sound silly, but I didn't know that beautiful paintings existed like this either! It's great that you show these paintings, and I think this site can and does influence people. I remember some scorching rhetoric directed at the Ladies Against Feminism site—it was complaining that Ladies Against Feminism was influencing teens (to be Godly!).

I agree that teens are impressionable, but so are adults (some of us just don't admit to it). This site has changed the way that I will approach marriage, in particular the wife that I seek and the lifestyles and values I/we hope to carry out. Now all I need to find is a wife!

Now that Ladies Against Feminism isn't updated as often, I think a lot of people visit your site for the regular updates, and it's such a great influence.

Please keep posting the pictures and articles to inspire women (and men) to strive towards this wonderful, Godly, home-centered life you have.

Anonymous said...

You have made a wonderful point in this article. I never really thought of trying to influence peoples values by the paintings and pictures I display. Wonderful idea. Could you perhaps post a few links to let me know where I could find some of these posters. Perhaps you already have and I missed it.

Thank you

Anna said...

In this article you wrote concerning Kelleigh's blog. I am sorry but I am not familiar with this blog. Could you instruct us how to get to it? You are such a sorce of incouragement and inspiration to us. If you also find inspiration from another's writings they must be wonderful too! Thankyou again.

Anonymous said...

I have not signed but would like to know if you have a link to the seamstress blog that you mentioned.

I have read everything to date and see that you have found your calling. Thank you, for the time and effort that you put into your writing's.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to find Stitching the Standard by Edmund Blair Leighton in poster form. Do you know where I can get it?

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

type the in the title and artist in your search engine and see what comes up. Several sites have posters for around $20.00, although I didn't see it on allposters any more.


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