The Devil Wears Prada is an amusing and entertaining movie, much like the original book. A tale of a naïve newcomer in the cutthroat world of fashion in New York, the movie valiantly attempts to avoid the coming of age clichés of many of these types of films. Meryl Streep distracts from any shortcomings of the movie with an outstanding and understated performance. Even better, the movie leaves out the self-serving narration of the book.
While walking out of the movie I had two instinctive responses:
The first was to look down at my Sketchers shoes, New York & Company capris and Target shirt and sniff. After all, if size 6 is the new size 14, what does that make me? Why can’t I look as fabulous as the women in the movie?
The second was to be judgmental of Miranda Priestly (the boss, the Dragon Lady, the Devil of the title) and to think of the bosses I’ve had who have been so focused on their careers, power and prestige that they forgot the humanity of their underlings and demanded unreasonable things just to show that they could.
Aren’t they horrible? Aren’t I so much better? I always make time for friends and family. I’m involved in my church. I don’t have a string of husbands cast to the sides when they couldn’t compete with the job for my attention. There are no stiletto marks on my employees when I climbed to the top on their backs. And really, my job matters. It’s not like I’m in fashion.
But really, isn’t it all the same? Whether we are striving for power, prestige, to “be a better person,” to be the supermom or even to gain brownie points with God; isn’t it all as empty? Pride is pride, no matter what it’s in.
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13, TNIV).
Whether we’re digging for a “healthy lifestyle,” friends, ministry, success, vanity, hobbies, family or money, it’s us trying to create our own salvation. Or, as Dallas Willard would say, it’s an upside down world and so everything we think is right side up is really upside down and vice versa.
Is Miranda Priestly really the devil? Does it matter if her cistern is more broken than mine? If I’m looking for salvation anywhere but God, is it important where I’m looking? If my actions aren’t to glorify God, does it really matter who or what they are glorifying?
It’s easy and comforting to judge those who we see as dramatically off the mark. After all, we’re doing better than they are, right? In the end, it’s a false comfort. The same false comfort as wearing Prada.