Tuesday, February 03, 2009

On Fairytales

I wonder what would happen if little girls weren't raised on a constant diet of damsels-in-distress, of princesses who only become truly happy when they're finally married off and in a position (presumably) without any work? Look at Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty: NONE of them are happy until they've met Prince Charming in one of his many incarnations. Perhaps more disturbingly, none are happy until they're married to a man wealthy enough to 1) take care of them and 2) save them from any sort of labor.

Granted, cartoons have become a lot more progressive since then: look at Mulan, the girl who became a soldier...who again was happiest at the end when she'd found a man. Is society a reflection of the crap we watch, or is what we watch a reflection of society? Are women only truly happy when they're in a romantic relationship, or are we just bred to think that way? I think it's really interesting that statistically it's MEN who report being happier, more content, and are longer lived when they're married. So who perpetuates the idea that women are happy married: women, or the men who want to marry them?

I won't lie: I do wonder now and again what it would be like to be single, to be responsible for only my own feelings/goals/dreams/household/job etc. Who wouldn't think about it now and again? I don't generally feel guilty about it either: it's not a wish to be single, it's an idle wondering. After being through all ups and downs in my relationship over the past seven years (good GOD, seven years) I honestly think I'm happier overall being married than I would be single.

I was reading that blog again today: the one written by an young woman (maybe mid 20's) who's been cheating on her husband the entire time they've been married. With several different men. Reading it always leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, as I'm particularly offended by any type of betrayal, but most especially betrayal of the S.O. kind. It's just part of my makeup: honesty is #1 for me, even if honesty hurts I'd rather that than the lie. Anyway, while today is no different, I found myself wondering why an adulturous woman is called a homewrecker when an adulturous man isn't? Don't they wreck the respective home(s) together?

Is the Jezabel label another product of the fairy tales we teach little girls...that only bad women sleep with men outside of marriage? Only sluts and bitches fall in love with people they shouldn't? But why is behavior often percieved as a "weakness a wife should forgive" in a man percieved as "evil homewrecking slut" in a woman? And more interestingly, why when there's infidelity in the marriage does the spouse blame the OTHER person, not the offending spouse?

I don't have the answers, but I think this'll roll around in the brainpan for a little while. Maybe it's the product of American Puritanism. Maybe it's based on biological impulses to compete for genetic dominance. Maybe it's all a load of crap and people need to just rediscover honor.

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