‘One day my prince will come’

Sania Chandrani, Staff Writer

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“I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid,” Aladdin sings to Princess Jasmine who is trapped in her castle waiting for her prince to whisk her away. From infancy, young children, particularly girls, face exposure to classic fairytales and fantasies. Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin, and Rapunzel come to mind as the stories I grew up hearing and inevitably loving. But were these stories subjecting me as well as my fellow toddling females to certain notions about femininity, beauty, success, and happiness from a young age?

Were the concepts of “damsels in distress” and “one day my prince will come” instilled in young girls before they could even begin to formulate complete sentences? Today, if a girl can be a policewoman or firefighter, a lawyer or detective, and a doctor or scientist, she should be able to be a knight in shining armor.

 True—not all fairytales involve a handsome prince rescuing a fair maiden from danger, but looking back at my childhood, stories with such plotlines seem to have been the most glorified. I knew Cinderella and Snow White as if they were my sisters. Their stories were my favorites during bedtime, and I don’t doubt countless other girls feel the same way.

“I grew up watching fairytales and I don’t have a notion that I need a man to complete me, so I don’t think that they are brainwashing us,” Elshaddai Girma, sophomore, states. She said she believes that fairytales are just meant to make kids feel secure and believe that the world is going to be a beautiful and happy place, “which is a lie,” she says. “Good doesn’t always win in real life.”

Some would dispute that fairytales are just that– fun, harmless tales. The point is surely not that fairytales are society’s underhanded way of keeping women under wraps, but perhaps they are accentuating, however slightly, concepts of weakness and neediness in females.

Today, people are beginning to realize the implications of such stories. Though they are entertaining and paint a pleasant picture of happily ever after, perhaps fairytales cement the ideas of a patriarchic society into the minds of toddling girls. These same girls, subconsciously, may go through life awaiting their Prince Charming who may never arrive. This waiting, subliminally, may be stopping them from attaining their goals and reaching their full potential.

The media and people over in Hollywood are taking steps to change views on feminism. Whether or not it is intentional, producers are releasing films that feature girls who are not afraid to take a stand– to rise above their male counterparts and to save the day themselves. Films such as Tangled, Snow White and the Hunstman, and Mirror, Mirror, though humorously, slightly twist the original fairytales of Rapunzel and Snow White respectively and give the female characters strong and resilient personalities.

Perhaps giving female characters a role in a film as more than a pretty face, an attractive body or a love interest will begin to change notions of subordination in young girls’ minds and make them believe that they can live for themselves. Now “let’s get down to business” as Mulan might say and defeat the ideas of a subjugated princess in fairytales. I am just anxious to see an action packed story, other than Mulan, in which the heroine rescues the prince and trumps the villain to go into the fairytale books for future females to enjoy.

Now who do I begin to talk to about all these male superheroes?