Most of us grew up on fairy tales and we went on to reading them to other kids, those we babysat for and those we parented. Most of us took something from those stories and let them influence our lives in subtle ways.
The story of Cinderella is a classic example. Little girls listened to the words being read to them and in their subconscious mind they waited for Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet and carry them off into the sunset, knowing that they would never have to worry about anything because their prince would take care of everything.
Snow White is another one. In one version of the story, Snow White falls into a poison-induced sleep until her prince wakes her up with a kiss. Writers often use the imagery to suggest that a woman who is experiencing lovemaking for the first time, has been asleep all her life and she is now awakened.
Then, there is the tale of Rapunzel who is being held a prisoner in a tower by an enchantress. She is very beautiful and the enchantress wants her kept away from the world so she puts her in a tower that has no doors. Every day, she would call up to Rapunzel to let down her hair so that she can climb up to see her.
One day, the king’s son sees her and falls in love with her but he doesn’t see a way of getting to her. The next day, he hears the enchantress telling Rapunzel to let down her hair so that she can climb her golden stair. The next night, the prince calls up to her to let down her hair so that he can help her escape.
And, once again, little girls who heard this story, took with them the thought that their prince would come to their aid and all their problems would be solved.
We have gone through generations of girls wanting to be princesses, taken care of by a prince, and boys being taught that they had to protect girls and take care of them.
Fairy tales wouldn’t be fairy tales if there was a healthy dose of realism in those stories, but it sure would have led a lot of women to chart their own destiny instead of waiting for a man to take care of all their needs.