Why George Clooney's Engagement Is Worth Celebrating
George Clooney's recent engagement to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin has been hard to miss. Greeted with an intense flurry of press and tweets, the couple's news has reverberated for days.
It's probably overstating things to say #ClooneyEngaged is the feel-good celebrity headline of the year, but even people like me who usually sniff with disdain at Hollywood "news" have found ourselves clicking around online to read more.
When it comes to his bride-to-be, I'm not sending virtual high-fives her way for "bagging" the sexiest man alive and ending Clooney's reign as Hollywood's king of the bachelors. I don't think she's "lucky" to marry him, nor can I say with confidence that he is "marrying up."
A 36-year-old lawyer and human rights advocate, Alamuddin, some say, disproves "Princeton Mom" Betty Patton's advice entreating young women to focus on finding a husband in college when they are at their most "fertile" and "physically attractive."
"The engagement… is a vicarious triumph for all the single ladies out there, all the smart, accomplished, ambitious, single ladies who are a constant, convenient punching bag for pretty much every self-help book out there that's eager to tell them how they're doing it wrong," read an open letter to Patton in the New York Post.
Yet, do we really have to launch a case against the Princeton Mom at this point? I don't think so. Even without Alamuddin's example, it's hardly news that many, many people marry in their 30s or later after investing in their education and professional development.
So why are we so heartened to hear wedding bells for Clooney and his accomplished fiancé?
We see too many high-profile men drawn to women for their outward appearance. Wealth and status allow plenty of guys to date women who ordinarily wouldn't give them a second look. Alamuddin, as strikingly beautiful as she is, has much more to offer her husband (and her world) than her physical beauty.
A Hollywood actor like Clooney has the option of showing up to movie premieres and awards shows – as he has for many years – with young beauties who may or may not be committed to the kinds of issues that have engaged his heart and mind over the years. They might just be committed to, well, themselves.
When Clooney proposed to Alamuddin, he chose a person of substance. This tells us something important about George Clooney. He wants a partner whose life will not revolve around hanging onto his arm at the red carpet, but defending the powerless. Chances are, in other words, we won't be subjected to a reality show about their first year of marriage full of superficial debates over countertop materials or whether the person cleaning the swimming pool deserves a raise.
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