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The tragedy of living the fairytale life

Updated on October 23, 2011

Real princesses often have tragic endings

Fairy tales aren't always "happily ever after."
Fairy tales aren't always "happily ever after." | Source

The glass slipper is a toxic fit for modern times.

As a girl hooked on the Disney princess movies, I wanted desperately to live life "happily ever after." After all, Walt gave us young ladies the impression that all it took to find your prince charming was to sing a lullaby in an enchanted forest. Maybe I should have taken singing lessons instead of journalism?

But now, I'm considering starting a class action lawsuit with all the other women who tripped in their glass slippers trying to live the "fairytale life." It sounds silly, but let me break it down by generalizing what our childhood movies taught us about love and marriage:

  • Happily ever after requires a prince, a castle, and a kiss. Sound familiar? Every movie ended with a hapless young woman (probably a naive teenager) falling for some guy just because he could provide a life for her in a castle, and her entire future depended on a single kiss. In fact, these magical kisses could bring women back to life from being poisoned, make them snap out of a coma, or change them into a human from being half-fish.
  • A woman needs to be "saved" by a man, no, a prince. Oh, that was a really good mind game for us ladies. Women's suffrage amounted to us Gen X-ers thinking that all we need to get us out of throes of poverty is to get ourselves a husband. How should we go about it? Well, if we get invited to the ball, disobey our parents--sneak out if we have to, and just look good enough to get the prince's attention, it increases our chance that he will choose us to dance with above all the other "less attractive" bachelorettes. No more cleaning, cooking or dusting for the peons you called your family. All you need is to wear lovely glittering dresses and dance good, cause that is all a prince needs to determine that you are the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
  • Women are successful if they get married and live in the castle. Who needs a career? Hopes, dreams, ambitions? A job? Bah! Prince Charming will put you on his galloping white horse, and you need never worry your head about stuff like paying bills, rent, insurance, inflation, unemployment, bla, bla, bla. If you are pretty enough to outshine all the other women at the "I will choose my wife" bachelor ball, then you really don't need any skills, passion, or empathy, do you? Instead of showing the princesses fighting off the dragons or evil queens on their own, they needed a man, no, a prince to "save" her from danger. Hey, have you ever seen a real prince "save" anyone? Reality is: the prince leaves you for the castle wench, and you have to call the plumber when you need help. So much for "happily ever after."
  • The love story is based on attractive young people just kissing and having fun. Gee, that's a great lesson for girls on what qualities to look for in a man. Not. What about similar beliefs, common values, goals in life? Religious beliefs? Similar spending habits? I wonder how the prince reacted when the princess's credit card bill wiped out the commonwealth of his reign? The prince didn't even have any meaningful conversations with the princess before he decided, "yep, that's the woman of my dreams!" Or did the princess ever try to find out more about the prince before she became his legal prostitute? "Does he have a job? What are his expectations in life? How does he feel about the world economy? Did he do anything to show his love for me?" All that we saw of courting was a lustful gaze, feminine wiles, flirting, and the magical kiss following the dragon slaying. Did she even realize that the guy was still living with his parents? Who came up with this stuff anyway, some drug addict?

So what did we learn from watching the fairy tales? Well, women should just pine for a well-to-do man (preferably royalty-- and handsome), look really pretty, and soon all your worries will disappear replaced with "happily ever after." What did the princess do in the castle for "ever after" anyway? No place of work, no need to clean or cook, since the castle staff had that covered. Oh, but that's what "unhappy" people do before you're saved by a prince. Wow, I can see now why men are upset with the gold-diggers of society. Just blame it on Disney: ruining the true meaning of love and sanctity of marriage in a home near you.

Words of wisdom from a former princess: the glass slipper is a dangerous fit for women in the world. One bad slip, and the glass breaks, sending shards of sharp edges into your foundation. It's best to keep your feet safe by telling your step-monster to her face if you don't like something, and stop with the passive aggression. Get a job, and stop looking for a meal ticket to happiness. Focus on how you can be happy on your own, even if it's a modest cottage in the woods, and not the royal palace. After all, the cute little animals in the forest made much better friends than the phony people who are privileged enough to step foot in a castle. Even the princess had to have a fake dress made by her fairy God mother to get in. Enough said.


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    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 5 years ago from Southern California

      Do I know you, Winsome? Well, I wish I did.... what a romantic thing to say. Can I keep you?



      aka Sheila

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Shiela, I bet the prince talked to her as they danced and it was the infectious banter and heartfelt admissions that captured him, not just the outfit and makeup. I also think she would have been happy to share whatever came, whether in a castle or a cabin. He was probably more than charming, he was also just a boy, standing in front of a girl asking her to love him. I think he would have died for her, but I also think he would have worked every day to make her happy, even if it meant mining coal and picking her wild flowers.

      Love is a fairy tale and as I said in one of my greeting cards, "Love does not mean that all of your dreams will come true, love is finding the one you want to pursue them with."

      Yes Shiela there is true love and when you find it, every day is a fairy tale. xo =:)

    • RelationshipXT profile image

      RelationshipXT 6 years ago from Netherlands or Nevis.

      It is all in the timing wondeful1. The backbone is often missing from these men long before the need for a Best Man to "stand up for him" at the altar!

      Unless these men want to lead a life of futility trying to satisfy the insatiable glass slipper fantasy, he needed to use this backbone before he turned over the other attachments at the Altar!

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 6 years ago from Southern California

      Not only are you correct, RelationshipXT, but if the guy is missing his backbone (and balls), and is perpetually a "Momma's Boy," then problems are going to fester in the relationship. Well said, and thank you for the comment.

    • RelationshipXT profile image

      RelationshipXT 6 years ago from Netherlands or Nevis.

      I've discovered that quite often men stray because they simply cannot maintain the fairy tale prince role model expected by their trophy wives. It is far to heavy a burden to carry and they seek a simple release from the stress. Wonderful advice expressed so well to resist those pair of glass shoes!

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 6 years ago from Southern California

      Well said, EyesStraightAhead. Enjoy the moment without putting too much into "what about....".... excellent. Thanks.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image

      Shell Vera 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      As a woman who wasn't raised to believe in fairy tales, though we were allowed to watch them, I loved reading this to better understand where my friends were coming from. I was in love and married and spent my 20s married to a man I loved dearly, but who was not a prince (nor have I ever been a princess!). I cannot understand why so many people worry that more than 3 years after my divorce I am still single and why I haven't taught my children to look for a prince but instead teach them to be comfortable with themselves, work hard, know what they stand for, and then love will come in whatever form their destiny is to be. Some women love princes, others love their careers or families. Some love men and some love women. Some love to surrounded by others and some love to be alone. Thank you for reminding women everywhere that we should not be waiting for a glass slipper but instead should go to the ball and enjoy who we are. Only then can one even truly find love and passion...which beats the castle and the frogs any day!

    • Brian Burton profile image

      Brian Burton 6 years ago

      Excellent hub, I never really thought about this topic from a woman's perspective and furthermore never realized how much society (such as fairy tales) have shaped the thoughts of many women.

      I'm in complete agreement with you. It is risky to depend on one person to take care of you. The analogy of a fragile glass slipper is perfect!

      As a guy, I found this line to be fantastic "Get a job, and stop looking for a meal ticket to happiness"

    • capricornrising profile image

      capricornrising 6 years ago from Wilmington, NC

      Carrying the fairytale metaphor all the way through this "teaching" Hub was really inspired - I chuckled all the way through it!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear wonderful1

      YOU are VERY WELCOME, my friend. And 'tis "I" who is honored at having YOU follow me and be my friend. I can learn lots from you, wonderful. And I do appreciate you complimenting my hubs. I will keep in touch with you. And I WILL NOT, anyway soon, let your priceless words and nice thoughts fade from my mortal memory. Kenneth

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for that, Kenneth, I'm honored. Best wishes to you and yours, and I'll be catching up with your work. I love what I see so far!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      December 5, 2011

      wonderful1, amazing; deep; some humor, but all impressive. Voted up and away on this hub for you earned it. Love your style of writing and your creative manner. I am now a follower and proud of it. Sincerely, Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, a small northwest Alabama town that looks like Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. Oh yeah. You are invited to check my hubs if you need a good laugh and I would love to have you as a follower. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Kenneth

    • Charlotte B Plum profile image

      Charlotte B Plum 6 years ago

      Oh I totally enjoyed this! Love your writing style and your sense of humor, although there is much truth to this!

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 years ago

      What a wonderful POV from a former princess. Voted up, useful, interesting and AWESOME for busting some myths. Thanks!