Sunday, February 3, 2013
the problem with princesses
Note: My friend Lacey did a really great job at pointing out how it's the commercialized "princess culture" that actually causes the problems I've outlined in this post, not the princesses themselves. Her comment down below points out the true side of the princesses. Besides this edit up here, I am leaving this post as is, but I do want to thank her for pointing that out.
Let me start of by reminding you that I own a Disney princess garbage can, pens, post its, t-shirts, and bed spread. Oh, and I purchased a sparkly tiara from Charming Charlie simply because it looked really great on me. I love princesses just as much as the next girl. And I absolutely believe in happily ever afters. (Just as much as I believe in starting sentences with the word "and".)
Cindella's my favorite, so, we'll start with her. She has a rough life, as many of us do. One day she decides she wants to go to a ball, her fairy godmother shows up and gives her a fancy dress, she rides to the ball and BAM! Love at first sight. Then, she runs away because she has to be home by midnight and that boy hunts her down and marries her. Happily ever after with little to no effort on her part.
Then we have Snow White: The one with the jealous step-mom. Huntsman is supposed to kill her, he takes pity on her, and she finds a secret cottage with seven dwarfs to live in. Now the only men she knows are all way too short for her (I feel ya there, Snow) so, what does she do? She harmonizes with birds and sings "someday my prince will come." Queen/step-mom finds out Snow is still alive, poisons her with an apple, and the dwarfs put her in some fancy-schmancy glass coffin. Then, out of nowhere, handsome prince comes, falls in love with "dead" girl in glass coffin (weird, right?), smooches her and she's good to go. Happily ever after from the stinkin' grave.
Sleeping beauty sings in a forest and her prince is just drawn to her, she pricks her finger and is in some enchanted forever sleep. So, Prince Philip fights a dragon for this girl he's met once (and dreamed about, I suppose) and smooches her into happily ever after.
Rapunzel has zero life stuck up in her tower, a prince hears her singing, isn't creeped out by her forever long hair (p.s. how DOES she wash that??) climbs up her hair and proposes. Happily ever after with the first male human she's interacted with. Like, ever.
Are you catching the theme here? These girls have some serious trials in their lives, they wish, hope, and sing and out of nowhere, Prince Charming comes along, falls instantly in love and they live happily ever with zero effort and their problems are all instantly gone.
What have I learned? A- Love requires no effort from me, Prince Charming will come sweep me off my feet. B- If I have challenges in life, I just have to live through them (or run away) until I find "true love" and then everything will magically be all better.
So, that's good, right?
Like I said, I really do love princesses and there are actually a lot of positive things you can find in the princess movies. (Like, have you seen this video? LOVE.) But the point I wanted to make is that we cannot just wait around for our happily ever after. Happily ever after is something you create.
We all have trials in our lives. Maybe they're evil step-mom's with poisonous apples (let's hope not) or maybe it's a sickness we've had to deal with, an accident that changed our lives, losing a family member, fighting with a friend... these challenges don't magically get better when you fall in love. You have to choose to find happiness in wherever you are in your journey.
And Prince Charming doesn't just show up out of the blue to sweep you off your feet. Love takes work, it takes initiative. We don't need to magically fall in love, we need to find the magic that is already there in our lives and fall in love with that. We need to put forth effort to put ourselves out there. Love comes from taking chances, meeting new people, and serving others.
I do believe in happily ever afters. I very literally believe that happiness and love can last for forever after. I believe in Princesses and in Prince Charmings. They're all around us, they are us. But it's a choice, an action. Your happily ever after started long ago. So stop waiting for it and find it in your life right now.