47. A New Paradigm for Relationship? Or Just a Funny Movie?

April 27, 2022
Barbara Cook

#Breaking the Bias Part 3

Relationship. male female stylised couple. wedding topper figurine. Barbara Cook blog. Inner male and female.
Photo by Marko Milivojevic on Pixnio

In the final instalment I’ll be exploring a fanciful vision of a future world in which a new paradigm for relationship is the norm. Both the feminine and masculine energies in both women, men and all gender identities are truly aligned and equally valued.

This was the closing paragraph in my recent series #Breaking the Bias. It was also published on Medium. Did you find time to read it?
Part One was called, “Which Man Would You Prefer to Live With?”

In Part Two I created a mini-play-parody, with a scenario in which the inner female speaks and the inner male gallantly acts in service to her. That story was called “Would You Prefer to Live with THIS Man Then?”

I was awaiting inspiration for how to conclude this series. After the weekend, I now find myself reviewing a recent rom-com movie instead of writing a regular story!

“This should be light, fluffy, hopefully, funny, and a bit of light relief.”
This was the message my friend sent me proposing we see “The Lost City”. Here’s the official blurb:

Brilliant, but reclusive author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) has spent her career writing about exotic places in her popular romance-adventure novels featuring handsome cover model Alan (Channing Tatum), who has dedicated his life to embodying the hero character ‘Dash.’ While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes that she can lead him to the ancient lost city’s treasure from her latest story. Wanting to prove that he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan sets off to rescue her. Thrust into an epic jungle adventure, the unlikely pair will need to work together to survive the elements and find the ancient treasures before it’s lost forever.

Oh my goodness, have you seen it?

It was indeed light-hearted and entertaining. I laughed out loud many times at their particular brand of self-deprecating, parodying humor!
I was also 
fascinated by seeing it through the lens of a new paradigm that tips the old feminine and masculine mythology on its head.

Historically this scenario would paint their relationship with the female as a helpless, powerless figure who needs rescuing and the male as an all-powerful, capable action hero who does the rescuing. Each one has a gap, or a hole, in its nature that needs to be filled by the opposite sex.

Tipped on its head

Here’s my take on the movie.
Loretta has buried her grief at her life partner’s death. This frozen energy is pasted over with a brittle veneer of frustration and pushing people away. She is fed up with her role as a romance novelist and is ready to throw it all in. She is dismissive of her admirer and cover model Alan.

Unlike his alter ego Dash, Alan is an endearing non-stereotypical hero. His character is initially presented as the standard bumbling male, which gives Loretta plenty of opportunities to dismiss his efforts and intentions.
As the story unfolds, we see he is more complex than that.
He truly believes in Loretta’s gift to the world. When she is kidnapped he wisely calls in an actual expert hero with the skills to rescue her.

Man on a white horse? Not exactly.

Despite instructions to stay out of the rescue attempt, Alan tags along, heading into the jungle in his designer camouflage sweatshirt. Being predominantly white and beige, this stylish fashion statement stands out like a beacon. While the real rescuer swiftly dispenses with each attacker, Alan takes ineffectual swipes and air punches here and there convinced that he’s helping.
His heart is in the right place. I just loved him!

Rescue accomplished and real hero unfortunately killed, Alan and Loretta head off into the jungle in an attempt to find their way home.

I won’t spoil it for you, and won’t even mention the scene where she removes leeches from his b-b-b — body, but what unfolds is a tender dissolving of barriers and gaining of context about each other.

Will the real Alan please step forward?

Alan is found to be the epitome of a new male archetype. Who knew?
He is in touch with his feminine side; his bag is packed with both essentials for 
self-care and thoughtful touches for Loretta.
He is empowered and courageous enough to open up emotionally to Loretta, dissolving her view of him as a one-dimensional caricature.
He has some great ideas for solutions and is fearless in carrying them out. Despite his lack of skill in some areas, he is 
having a crack!

He is intuitive about Loretta’s real feelings and provides space for her to eventually express them.

One of my favourite parts was when Loretta experiences fear (firstly cliff climbing and later squeezing through a cave). Does Alan jump in and remove her from the situation? Does he rant and rave and punch whoever’s caused this? Does he take over or let her stop?
No, he holds space for her and tells her to breathe. He believes in her ability to get through this.

And HE CAN DANCE! Oh, how he can dance! Such mastery!
My knees melted — and I was sitting down!

Will the real Loretta please step forward?

Although distressed by her ordeal at times, Loretta is no simpering damsel.
She is creative, curious, witty, resourceful, persistent, and ready for action.
As Alan shows her he’s more than her shallow view of him, she slowly lets down her defenses and softens towards him.
Although her own Yang (masculine) energy has been predominant, her Yin (feminine) energy comes into balance, as she reconnects with her buried emotions, her creativity, her sensuality, her dreams, and visions.

A divine couple

In my previous story in this series, I quoted Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, in his description of the inner marriage that can occur when both the feminine and masculine energies within a single person are truly aligned and equally valued.

The combined anima and animus is known as the syzygy or the divine couple. The syzygy represents completion, unification, and wholeness. Source

As this syzygy unfolds within both Loretta and Alan, they are available to be in a relationship that reflects this inner unity.
They become an adventurous team, both collaborating and having each other’s backs.

I loved the fabulous example of this when Loretta finally knows where the treasure lies. Despite them finally being in a safe place, with a light plane flight arranged for later that evening, when Alan sees her excitement he doesn’t hesitate to back her up. “We have to go there. We have to go there now. I haven’t seen you light up like this for a very long time.”
The feminine intuition and feelings are valued and celebrated. The masculine energy steps up in support and makes things happen.

As within, so without.” Hermes TrismegistusSource

As I said in Part 2, I’m “aiming for an inner marriage where the feminine and masculine wisdom are equally developed, valued and celebrated.” The outer relationship will surely follow.
Loretta and Alan did indeed
“become available to be in relationships as whole people rather than hole people.” Source.

Or maybe “The Lost City” was just a funny movie.

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