Monday, December 14, 2009

F'ed Up Fairy Tales

Call me an arrogant douchebag, but I have a Google Alert set up on myself. As a self-pubbed writer who has pimped herself out for articles, interviews, quotes, reviews and anything else that will get my name out into the world, I like to keep track of where I am floating in cyberspace. This morning, I got an alert about an interview I did on fairy tales over a year ago for Online Dating Magazine. I must have been wearing my sassy-pants when I did it! Here is the interview. Enjoy...

Dating with Disabilities
by Melissa Blake
An Interview with Theresa Rose

I know I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately for this column, but I’ve been talking to so many great people with such great insight, and I can’t resist sharing their knowledge and expertise with you. Besides, you must get sick of hearing me prattle on week after week, right?

Did you grow up loving nothing more than a good fairytale? I did. I used to read about Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, and before I knew it, I started waiting for my own Prince Charming to come riding up on his white horse and sweep me away to our own, personal Happily Ever After. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a great story for a young girl to have in her mind, but that’s just what it is – a story. Somewhere along the way, I began thinking that this is how real life – and of course, real love – was: all romantic and pretty and filled with heroes who save the day. But as I got older, I realized that some of those classics can lead young women astray, especially in leading them to think that they need to rely on a man for happiness, or that they are doomed to be damsels in distress forever.

What happened to Girl Power? I wondered if I was alone in my thinking (which, as you know, happens to be the case sometimes), so I got the inside story (no pun intended) from Theresa Rose, the award-winning author of the book “Opening the Kimono: A Woman’s Intimate Journey Through Life’s Biggest Challenges” (Serious Mojo, 2009). Read on for her thoughts on the lessons we internalize from fairytales.

What do fairytales really teach us about love and life?
As a mother of a seven-year old girl who adores "All Things Princess," I can say from first-hand experience what these fairytales teach about life: they show us to value looks and superficiality above all else, that girls are totally clueless to their surroundings and how victim hood ultimately serves us. What a bunch of malarkey! Each female in these stories is a passive victim who is waiting for some man to rescue her from the terrible situation she herself got into. Of course, it goes without saying that the love found in the stories is totally based on physical attraction alone. How on earth could those perfect dudes fall in love with their princesses after only a few minutes? And they lived happily ever after? Please.

Why have these fairytales transcended time and remained relevant even in 2009?
Despite how totally unrealistic and even harmful these stories are, little girls (and big girls) everywhere are drawn to them like moths to a flame. There is something so appealing about imagining oneself as the prettiest, most sought-after girl in the room. We get to wear fancy clothes, have men fight dragons for us and essentially have no responsibility whatsoever for our own happiness. When shown through that prism, becoming Snow White sounds pretty good to me too. It's the same base desire that had women flocking to the theaters to see "Sex and the City."

How can women use these stories to benefit their own lives?
I believe the biggest benefit from these stories is to show women where they learned patterns of victim hood and unreasonable fixations on appearance. Women should look at challenges in their lives and ask, "What Wouldn't Snow White Do?" We can be our own heroes instead of waiting for a man to save us. Although, I must admit that Cinderella reminds us of the power of wearing a killer pair of heels.

Is there anything else you think I should know?
The best fairytale heroines are Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Fiona from the Shrek series. Belle taught us that reading is cool, and what is on the inside of someone is more important than what's on the outside. Fiona taught us that you can get the love of your dreams and still have terrible skin, a barrel for a belly, a bulbous nose, and freaky ears. She is responsible for her happiness, sticks up to her man when called for and chooses her own destiny over what other people think. Fiona ROCKS!

No comments: