Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Danger with Fairy Tales (and Fifty Shades of Grey)

First let me say that I LOVE fairy tales. I have always wanted to be a princess and would happily walk around in tutus and tiaras if I could get away with it. I also read every book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series and found them very enjoyable. But at some point in my mid-twenties, while watching Ever After with Drew Barrymore (still a huge favorite) it dawned on me that there really is no happily ever after and it kind of pissed me off.

I think of myself as a strong woman who can certainly provide for and take care of herself. But I am also a hopeless romantic who has been told since I was too little to remember that if we looked hard enough, we would find our prince charming, that he would complete us and that that would be enough. What little girl doesn't want to be Cinderella or Ariel or Belle. And yes, I do believe in my prince charming, but not exactly the way Disney spins it.

First, the idea of "...and they lived happily ever after" is a terrible lie. This one should be self explanatory, especially if you are or have been married. And I am not saying that we won't find our own version of this, but...most fairy tales conclude with the dream wedding (another stupid notion costing absurds amount of money and causing way too much stress), they kiss and then it pans away and The End. about The Beginning. Cause shit gets real after that. The first year of marriage, kids, jobs, money issues, in-laws and so much more. We are not told the truth and we are certainly not prepared. Have you ever heard the saying that what screws us up the most is the picture in our head of how it's supposed to be? Yup, pretty much.

Another very scary notion that a lot of us woman buy into is that we can change him. There are so many stories of a "bad" boy falling in love and ending up as the nice guy in the end. It only took the love of a good woman. And this is where my Fifty Shades of Grey discussion comes in. Make no mistake, under the handcuffs and kinky sex, this is a modern day fairy tale. There is a young innocent girl who falls in love with and captures the heart of a cold, super rich guy who happens to have some dangerous habits. I loved the books and couldn't wait to see the movie (which I did really like as well). However, something happens when you see it on the big screen and the reality of "punishment" cannot be denied. On the way home, my husband to said to me, "I don't care how much I didn't like a woman, I would never hurt her." And that is when it hit me that in real life, the ending to this story would not be the same. If a man believes that it is okay to hurt a woman, even with rules and consent, girlfriend you need to run away and never go back. Because in real life, he does not end up changing and he is definitely not your prince charming.

I am very lucky to have been raised by a strong woman and kind father who taught me what real love and commitment looked like. I wanted what they had even if I didn't know it when I was 10 and wanted desperately to be Cinderella. I think that even as adults we still struggle with what Hollywood says we should want and the reality of life. I think Frozen was a huge step in the right direction, but we have a lot more work to do.