How do we fashion peace in a world of war?

What if it’s easier than you think and the secret is as easy as the ‘bend and snap’ move made famous by Reese Witherspoon in the movie, Legally Blonde?

Photo Credit: ENews

This may be a stretch, albeit a much greater stretch than the increasing energy it takes for my aging body to easily bend over and seamlessly recover my balance like Reese’s character Elle Woods does with such aplomb in the movie.  But recover I do, without the same grace as Reese, but mindful that few great discoveries on earth ever happened without a little stretch.

And yet, for Legally Blonde neophytes or those reluctant to admit they have seen the movie, something bigger is at stake.  Elle Woods teaches her manicurist Paulette to perform the move so she can overcome her fear and nervousness around the attractive watercooler delivery man.

Sure it’s not rocket science, but the entire hair salon watches as Elle feigns dropping an object and bending to pick it.   According to Elle, the attention-getting snap has a 98% success rate for getting a man’s attention and an 85% chance of landing a dinner invitation.  I’m not sure how reliable these metrics are – can you imagine how you would test for this? But, there is a point.

How often do we sit back, afraid to speak up? What if we could look at problems in new ways and use other means – dare we say actions – to make a point or show how we really feel? 

Because it’s #FunFriday on WomanScape, it’s a day to revisit this week’s history-making women and relax into the weekend.  So while there’s nothing funny about the efforts of this week’s look at the Trung Sisters who ignited a revolution or the brave journey of our military veteran Sue who struggles to cope with a world that seems mad, there is a creative way to reframe history and see beyond the madness.

Let’s leave the legislative halls in America for a day and forget they were once a place of debate and bipartisan civility.  Forget these walls have been hollowed out in too many places, victimized by political stalemates, angry pride and jealous competition.

Photo credit:  Biography.com

Instead, let’s go back to the best classrooms and rejoice in the movies, books and a feeding frenzy of binge-worthy tv shows like Ray Donovan, Peaky Blinders or Outlander for moral fortitude.  We can find peace by tuning out from the world, right?

Yes and no. More than ever, it’s time for the ‘bend and let’s snap out of it!’

Legally Blonde champions peace (maybe a simple one but it’s still peace) and takes on the establishment.  Elle’s message gives power to voiceless and the fearful Paulettes.  It’s time to fashion peace from the war, much like the campaigns used by the British government.

During WWI and WWII, Britain knew how to rally its people and reframe hardships and challenges: it mobilized women to lead the charge. The British “bend and snap” version had women digging in and snapping to the cause.  Women fought the war on the real home front while the men fought on the Western fronts in Belgium and Northern France in WWI, and in Europe and the Pacific during WWII.

In fact, the idea to relate the ‘bend and snap’ move to Britain’s wartime effort to promote peace came from my discovery of British campaign signs that targeted women.

The “Make Do and Mend” and “Dig in for Victory” helped solve the problem of food rationing, a necessary evil so food could be sent abroad to soldiers fighting on the lines. 

This drew attention away from suffering at home and brought relief to long food lines for things like meat, bread, and butter.   Instead, women were encouraged to plant their own vegetable gardens and “Save the wheat and help the fleet”.  The posters worked, and movies teaching women to repurpose clothes and donate to the war chest were synonymous with civic duty.

This obviously helped the government’s case and celebrated female leadership.  Throughout history, governments have been fashioning peace from war.   If we have the courage to perform our own ‘bend and snap’ moves and find the voice to dig in, there’s no telling what we can do to build conversation and land a dinner date. Peace out!

Rose McInerney

Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

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