I was raised on fairy tales……
Is it any wonder so many of us women have issues with being dependent on men, thinking we cannot live without a man in our lives, losing ourselves in order to keep someone happy, valuing ourselves by our looks only, when we are brought up hearing stories like these:
Cinderella, a girl who had nothing and did nothing remarkable, but was so beautiful (and had such tiny feet) that she won the prince's love and was whisked away from her difficult life
Sleeping Beauty – she just had to lie there and the prince fell in love with her beauty and woke her from her sleep by kissing her
Snow White – just like Sleeping Beauty, she was so beautiful all she did was lie there like she was dead, and the prince fell in love with her immediately and carried here away to his kingdom
Rapunzel, locked away in a tower, all she had to do was stand at a window and sing, and the prince came and climbed up her hair, fell madly in love with her and eventually led to her freedom from the tower
The Little Mermaid, so desperate was she to win the prince's love that she gave up her tail and her voice. Every step felt like she was walking on knives, and unlike the others, this could be seen as a cautionary tale, for in the original the prince does not fall for her, and she ends up dying out of love for him
Beauty, from Beauty and the Beast, is imprisoned by a horrid beast but manages to change him into a kind and handsome prince simply by loving him
Where do these tales come from? Why are they so pervasive? They were almost certainly all written by men, and long ago. Why do we love to pass them down to our daughters?
Most of the women in these stories came from difficult circumstances, where they were being abused or imprisoned. Instead of having to work on themselves, or use their intelligence or strength to save themselves, they were all rescued by men, men who wanted them because of their physical beauty.
I will be looking for stronger role models for my own daughter. She may be a princess but I don't want her to ever think she needs a prince in order to be happy.