I recently watched The Devil Wears Prada again. I am watching movies with Paris in them as I prepare for my trip there next year.
The movie is quite funny. My husband and I have laughed and joked about the guy calling her “Six” as a derogatory name because she is a size six in that size zero world. Meryl Streep is pure genius as the boss we love to hate, the Devil in the title.
I see it with a different perspective now than when I originally watched it and laughed at how awful the situation was. I see that these people are professionals and they are selling an image. That image requires certain cultivating and high standards. Not that I think everyone should be a size zero or anything other than the size that makes them healthiest and happiest.
However, what happens in Andrea’s life as she works in this new industry, this transformation that occurs in her is really quite remarkable. Was it all good? Of course not. She had no boundaries for starters and had no harmony in the different areas of her life. She was unconscious to the paradigm she was being caught up in. Lord knows Ms. Prada could have been nicer.
That being said, there are many excellent attributes in the woman she becomes. The fashion is a big part of that. Those clothes begin to give her the confidence and, almost like a superhero costume, the ability to live and perform well in this new realm.
That boss that we love to hate actually pushes her and pushes her to think better and without limits, to see more and grow more. She demands excellence, quality and timeliness. She expects the impossible. By doing so throughout, it made Andrea rise to the occasion. As painful as it was, it made her a better person in the end. It made her a better journalist I am sure.
And yet, in typical Hollywood fashion (no pun intended) she is disowned and made wrong for her growth, for attaining the very thing that Hollywood sells. Her friends and family see the changes in her as all bad. They want their “old Andi” back. She finally succumbs to that pressure, makes herself wrong and decides that she would like her old Andi back as well.
It isn’t that easy. It isn’t that black and white. She learned a LOT of wonderful skills and gained confidence that she never had before. We do not see exactly where she goes or how she is after leaving the fashion magazine but we do see her giving away all of her clothes and dressing down again, although not nearly as awfully as in the early scenes.
Side note – In my follow-up movie, I actually see her becoming more integrated as time goes by, embracing the woman she now is along with all of the major skills she has developed. I see her bringing the fashion back in at a level that is best for her. I see her becoming a powerful and brave writer as she allows and accepts herself and all her parts.
What is my point here? It is that when we are challenged we grow. Not everyone in our life is going to like that growth. It can make them uneasy and it can make them insecure. They can often judge it as bad or harmful out of a programmed protection mechanism.
Also, our growth can nudge others that they, too, might benefit from looking at their lives and making some positive changes. These changes, while usually simple, do not come easily when we are mired in the presumed comfort of the status quo. Many times, there is resistance.
Wearing clothing that empowers us is one facet of living the lovingME way. Does it have to be New York high fashion? Of course not! It only has to be you, the best you, and to make you feel fabulous enough to own and use your superpowers. And let us not make that wrong for ourselves or anyone else. Ever.