Fairytales, Magic, and The Search for Prince Charming

I am a complete sucker for a fairy-tale, love story, weepy movie or novel. I enjoy crying over fictional characters living happily ever after. Or show me a film with over acting based on one of the main characters dying after they have found their one true love and I am in my element. The English Patient gave me a sobbing induced headache that lasted for weeks. ( It was so worth it though). I was surprised I was not asked to leave the cinema when watching My Sisters Keeper ( have you seen it? If you haven’t, don’t and definitely don’t unless you are in the privacy of your home) as my wails ruined the end of the film for everyone.Life is Beautiful, Sophies Choice, The Notebook, Amelie, a lot of the John Hughes movies ,the list goes on and on and on.My favourites are cheesy love stories though and if they are a musical, even better.

I won’t lie, becoming an adult, when you have grown up watching musicals of love stories and have listened to and then read fairy-tales from a young age, can be a little disappointing. Can you imagine my surprise,when I realised most people met their future partners in work, nightclubs or through friends. No serenading under bedroom windows, no full-blown orchestra when you were kissed for the first time……Pretty gutting. I probably ruled out several potential relationships when I was younger for the sole reason they lacked the fairy tale magic.

So it should really come as no surprise that my six-year-old is displaying the same tendencies. She loves to dress up in princess costumes, listen to stories where the ending always results in an elaborate wedding and can belt out cheesy pop songs about lurve all day long.Did I mention she is six?!

We have never really encouraged the girlie girlieness. A lot of the blame has to come from Disney. She may well grow out of it and  I probably over-think things but I have wondered are fairy-tales and Disney movies cancelling out the work I do in trying to raise my children to believe boys and girls are equal in every way?

Take the main Disney princesses for example.

Jasmine- Father tried hard for an arranged marriage for her. Aladdin really didn’t get his girl until he transformed himself from petty thief to prince and then he was deemed worthy. Ultimately Jasmine’s Dad decided though.

Snow White– Domestic slave to seven hard-working male dwarves. Poisoned but rescued by Prince Charming. On Horse. They live happily ever after.

Cinderella– Domestic slave. Rescued by Prince Charming. They live happily ever after.

Sleeping Beauty– Falls asleep for 100 years, can only be rescued by Prince Charming. On a horse. They live happily ever after.

Belle– Father sends her off to be domestic slave to Beast. True love conquers all, he transforms into a Prince Charming. They live happily every after.

Ariel -Gives up her voice and family. Prince rescues her. They live happily ever after.

A common theme runs through all the stories, true? Even take Tangled, Disney, vowed to make this princess more modern, Rapunzel gets a makeover and she is now a lost princess and a kick-ass one at that. Ultimately, it ends with a marriage proposal and a happily ever after.

This is what I was worrying about. Are all the fairy-tales setting my daughters up for a life-time of dependence on a man to make them happy? I know, I do over-think a lot of aspects of parenting but this one has been on my mind for a while.

Tonight, the eldest girl put on a show for us, re-enacted Cinderella complete with props of a dish cloth, ball gown and slipper. The boy was pulled from the “audience” to waltz with her and place the slipper on her foot. The two-year old then wanted in on the action. So act two involved the eldest girl directing, the two-year old in a princess costume and the boy played the role of the troll who once kissed turned into Prince Charming.

I watched the eldest girl not only perform but direct and boss the boy around the garden. How he should dance. How he should place the shoe on her foot. How he should bow and take his applause and realised I was worrying about nothing. No man will ever control her if her behaviour tonight was anything to go by, in fact, bossing a man around will probably make her most happy.I will make sure her film viewing and book reading is balanced.  My daughters can have the fairy tales and watch the news and current affairs programmes too.

After-all, all the romantic thrash I have watched and read over the years, hasn’t ruined real life for me ( once I got over the initial disappointment in my early twenties that nobody was going to stand under my window and play music to me). My Prince didn’t arrive on a horse, he was wearing a hoodie and he has never sung to me, doesn’t make him less of a Prince Charming though and he makes me happy without me relying on him to do so. It worked out alright for me and ,I realised tonight, I have been worrying about nothing.

To be on the safe side though, I did print the following image and have a pretty girlie pink frame for it. It will be hung on the girls bedroom wall beside the bookcase of fairy tales.

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