- Gender and Relationships
The tragedy of living the fairytale life
Real princesses often have tragic endings
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.