Friday, April 27, 2007

The Cinderella Effect

For most every little girl, sooner or later they aspire to be a princess. Little boys do as well, but I'll stick with girls for now. Look at this a bit closer:

A "magical" role model, nothing wrong there. But the dress is huge and heavy, the jewels are probably paste and the glass high heels are killers. Well, seriously, it's a harmless enough thing; growing girls dress, fantasize and play as if they were the beautiful princess, observing the doings in their immense castle, and fully assured that the Prince is galloping to her side. To what, to...rescue her? From what? All those servants, the castle, the clothing? Is this little girl being taught that she requires a man to complete her, if she's ever to be a "real" princess in the world?

He may get there and work his way to her heart then rob all the bling and off he goes, that's more the reality! Or more likely, he's coming to supplant her as the one in power. Little girls are never taught to imagine he's coming to join her in friendship, no, instead they're taught he's there to become her King and have dominion over her, to complete her life. Only then will she live "happily, ever after." Phsaw.

Someone please write an intelligent "princess story" where she gets to keep her powers, throwing out the tiara and torturous glass slippers, the huge heavy gowns - let her chose her own clothes - and destiny for that matter. Why the Prince? I mean, nothing wrong with true love and all those hearts and flowers but when you're just a little thing, why should you be made to feel you need someone else to make you whole? Silly.

I say, more books about Princess Elizabeth, who, on her own merits and by her own power, became the great Queen Elizabeth Regina 1. We recall her as "The Virgin Queen" but truth be told, she took her pleasure when and where she wanted. She took no man as her "King" and did so for the sake of her country, a noble Queen, this. The British would never have accepted a man by her side, sharing the throne of England. And this Queen could fight, lead troops to victorious battles, command the respect and admiration of her court and her nation.

Little boys need better fantasies too, if they're to stop thinking they need to save the world, to be "real men" and go out to conquer a woman. What if the little guy dreams about gardening, or fixing ladies' hair? Any problem with that?

Guess I'm yearning for something I never had, but in truth none of us really did, so among all these talented folks surely someone is a passable writer - I wish there were more books on the truth about what little girls can dream of, what little boys can aspire to. Written by adults who as kids had no limitations on dreams. We'd all be the better for it.

29 comments:

lanurseprn said...

This has been an issue for years.  Women wanting to be 'rescued' by the prince.  I do agree with you, we do need some more realistic tales for kids to read.  I'm not the one to do the writing though. Perhaps you could?  
Pam

rayne1123 said...

i agree.  have a great weekend
hugs
noelle

treesrgreen78 said...

This indeed is a very interesting thought, I will voice my opinion later on.

daddyleer said...

Interesting entry. Because of my wife's MS I not only needed to be a spouse caregiver but also basically a single parent and the 'nurturing' parent for our daughter. I "know" what you mean about so many of these stories because I was thrust as a guy into a little girl's world. And in defense of literature, there are empowerment stories available you just have to look for them and they are as rich and wonderful as more traditional tales. ... I did have to chuckle because we had a board game called "Pretty Princess" where you moved around the board gaining "bling" you got to wear and encountering Princess dangers such as dragons, etc. I love looking at the picture of me and Megan playing in all the Princess jewelry. The dialog that went back and forth between daughter and Dad kept the princess mythology in perspective. ... I think parents and the home play as big role as literature in how these mythologies of childhood are viewed.
Patrick    

preciousone25 said...

I'm 44 years old and am still waiting for that DAMN prince... SHAME!!!  However, I really do love my OWN life... I DO like being in charge of ME, but there are times I just wish I had a prince BESIDE me to share life with!!  I totally understand where you're coming from, though!!  I've been trying to instill in my niece the power she actually has!!!  I'm going to read more about Queen Elizabeth Regina 1... but I really think YOU should write the children's book about her.  Great entry!!!

Joann

slimhawk said...

Wow, thank you for inviting me to your journal.  I am a lover of truth, that's me.  I am in no way perfect but no one is perfect, it's just that I believe the truth is what I can live with.  So I will say this, you hit it right on the penny with this entry.  As little girls we are taught that the thing we should look for is our night and shining armor and grow up to get married and have kids and live happlity every after.  How about a book on the lives that are ruined by trying to live up on that failure?  What are the statistics on people who have their lives shattered because they will settle for less than best for them, just to live up to what sccietry once thought are the, " Norm ".  I agree, 100% with what you say here.
I am a lucky one, did find that incredible knight in shining armor and the love of my life but, we didn't fit into the sounf peg with our square but unique love affair.
So, I broke it off with him and did what was morally right and trusted in a better way, restoration, redemption of some kind.  Today I live with the knowledge that after all these years, eight of them, this man is the only one who is still here for me, still loves me endlessly, still is here for me when I need him.  We have kept it on the up and up but the love between us is incredible.
There's a lot of women who don't need to be saved and don't need a man to be complete.  I'm one of those women because I refuse to go out and just find someone again, just so I don't have to be alone.  Mostly I am ok with life but the loss of this person I love, it's huge and never goes away.
I like your honesty.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Be who you are in private, in the light.

valphish said...

Those stories lied to me.  I remember, when I was tiny (and a sad little girl) thinking that I would one day get married and have kids and everything would "be okay".  LOL  What a joke.  Great entry, sis. xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason

firestormkids04 said...

WOW, Cathy!  You caught the attention of many people.  Uh . . . could you make 'em pay attention to me too?  Just kidding, my friend.  I'll comment when I can - probably after I get my new 'puter.  Love and prayers, Penny  http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/FromHeretoThere
http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/TimeforaLittlePoetry

madcobug said...

I think you can write good myself. I am not a good writer at all. Haven't you noticed that in my journal entery's. There you have the honest truth. Helen

acoward15 said...

I've certainly never dreamt of being a princess, but I have dreamt of having a princess!
http://journals.aol.co.uk/acoward15/andy-the-bastard

kemh632 said...

I love the cinderella stories.  My Favroite book is still is The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
That is the ultament Cindrella book.

queenb8261 said...

They are called fairy tales. And I grew up knowing the difference between reality and a white knight.  I knew in the town I was living in,there WERE none. As I was preparing to go off to school, in rode a  white knight, in a white vega panel truck. And guess what? HE DID rescue me. Our life together (almost 35 yrs) was certainly no fairy tell. I have 4 (and 1/2) granddaughters. They love princesses & to play princess. But they are also getting an education in life lessons. They're learning how to leap  &  bound on their own.  When they talk about the Prince we tell them that's all well and good, but we tell them how they can take care of themselves. They see the strong female figures in their lives. And they know. Have you ever seen Dora the Explorer? She's a strong littlle girl who goes off to solve an adventure (with her sidekick monkey, Boots).  So I think the stories are changing with the times.
Have a good weekend.
Hugs, Barb

gehi6 said...

After your e-mail I came to your blog and read all the entries including one over again I read and really enjoyed when I was here before, about your dad leading the way to an Easter celebration that ended when he passed and was no longer the 'leader of the band.'  I was interested in what the 8 orphans decided to do for Easter after both Mom and Dad were gone.  I enjoyed all these entries, including this one.  They held my interest and that is saying a lot!  Gerry
http://journals.aol.com/gehi6/daughters-of-the-shadow-men/  

a35ramy said...

Well I know one thing hun. This is a good thing tp post here. Who ever sets there children to believe like that thier kids will be in for a huge let down. Thats for sure. I always did tell my son the way this world is. I sure didn't want to set him up for sa huge down fall. Life would be a huge suprise if any of us were to do that. I hope that no one sets thier kids up for this. It would be a huge let down, lol. Specking about this hun. Have you read the newest entries in my journal? Growing up nothing? This story kinda made me think of this, lol.
Any way bI will try and get the addy right on my journal lol. Here it is I think, lol.
http://journals.aol.com/a35ramy/theillnesswithin

Again hopefully i did that right, lol. So let me know what you think. I am far from done yet but just add some here and there as I go, lol. Thaks again for the  subject you wrte about. At least I think that i read it the way you meant for it to be , lol. Talk to you later hun, Hugs, Ruth

libragem007 said...

you've already started to write what you're wishing to read, or wish books are out there. I say... bring those ideas into book.
Gem :-)

olachiaclan said...

I grew up with all the fairy tales, wanting to be a princess. Well, I guess I didn't mind havig that time in my life when I could pretend and get away from the real world. Life eventaully hits you right between the eyes. I think looking at the strong women,  (all the mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, etc.) with cancers surrounding most young girls today is enough of a picture of what is to come in life. I see your point, but I also think that the world of fairy tales is a beautiful place for a short and very brief time in one's life. Once you have grown, there is no going back.
Christina
http://journals.aol.com/olachiaclan/the-uniboob-club/

brainwhispers said...

Why dont you write a book then?
I cant write what little girls dream of, or little boys really.
When i was a little boy i wanted to be an archaeologist.
Then a fireman, then a farmer, then a vet, then to work in a zoo.
I still dont know what i want to do with my life.

gaboatman said...

Cathy
I think that you have a point here.  I've read the comments that suggest you write a book yourself.  Not a bad idea, actually.  When you think about it, J. K. Rowling decided to write some different kind of children's tales and is now one of the richest people on the planet.  What is important here, though, is that your question to us has caused us all to pause and think about this.  To stimulate thought and ideas is a wonderful thing, Cathy.
Sam

xxroxymamaxx said...

I agree!  I cannot stand the notion of the Princess helplessly waiting in her garbled garb for her "Knight in shining armor" to save her from life.  I totally agree with what you are saying here.  But I ain't the one to write the truth because my writing skills suck.  I know some others here in J-Land that are capable. : )  Love ya, Shelly

bowyerlori said...

that is a very good story keep it up!

jmorancoyle said...

    I've tried to teach my daughter that she was a whole person to begin with. If someone is going to make her happy, it will have to be her, because no one on this earth should ever have that much power over her. I've tried to teach all my children that a significant other is separate and equal. In any relationship, they need not spend 24 hours together in order to show that they're 'in love.' If they truly care, they can develop a better relationship by keeping certain things to share between them, and certain things seperate. I mean if he likes golf, fine. I like to read. If he likes football, fine. I like going to the library. We can do things separately now because when we go camping, or to the movies, to a baseball game, whatever, we can enjoy each other that much more because we haven't strained ourselves doing something we didn't want to do to begin with.
    As far as aspiring to be hairdressers or gardeners? I think the appeal even for little boys is limited, but it is something to think about. At least let them be aware that caring, hard working and normal individuals are as important as those who save the world.
    Now, as to the subject of your email. If you don't mind, I'd like to post it in my journal. A lot of times I'll read someone's journal and I will tell myself that no one cares to hear from me. You're right though. When I check my email, I'm looking for comments first.
    Take care.
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay

frankandmary said...

I got the email about this from you previous & looked at the entry, but waited because I wanted my bf's very smart 15 year old to read it & tell me what she thought.  She said her mom is a stay at home mom, but was never a princess.  Her parents support her decision to become a Cardiologist &  consider her career plans as important as her brothers.  She also said there are more books & movies out now that do show that girls can dream big.....but she also mentioned she loves new shoes & jewelry  LOL.   ~Mary

sassydee50 said...

Wow Luddie~I have not seen Feminism in action in quite some time! Glad there is someone who still talks about unnecessary role models and even damaging ones... Beyond Feminism even--why in most schools are all the children told to draw a tree and a house in frist grade? I mean why does creativity have to be so squashed? I stood on my head to make sure my son went to a school that had interest and funding for art and music; it was important to me. I'm sure homeschooling parents think about all these subjects a lot...As far as writing that story--I bet you could~ so get busy! ;-))) Deb

sunnyside46 said...

I am so standing on this soapbox with you here. I used to censor nursey rhymes...peter peter pumpkin eater...put his wife in a pumpkin shell? Really?
Marti

princesssaurora said...

True... interestingly enough, I began reading about Eliz I way back when I was about 10 and never stopped... I love reading about her!

be well,
Dawn
http://journals.aol.com/princesssaurora/CarpeDiem/

chatzeekay said...

Well nice enrty

lurkynat said...

Dear Luddie
ahh!..the joys of being a female eh?:)
grins
hugs,nat

merry1621 said...

Well, I was told I WAS a princess!  You mean I am not?  LOL Seriously, my Dad treated me that way, and my Mom babied me (just not as bad).  My sister who I am estranged from was a tomboy.  She never liked me. She thought I was prissy because I played with dolls and played movie star, and things like that.  I guess I thought I was a princess all my childhood and a lot of my adulthood.  I am not so sure that was bad. It was pretty nice.  My husband treated me that way, too!  Still does to a degree.

But nothng lasts forever, and I think my crown fell off a few years ago here.  So, Cathy Maybe you are right after all.

I don't see one thing wrong with wanting someone else whom you love to be with if they make you happy!  Or complete.  Just my little non important opinion. merry1621

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