I’ve been watching television recently and have seen the advertisements for the new Cinderella movie. I have to admit this story is really one of my top three favorite fairytale stories. (The other two being Beauty and the Beast and Snow White.) But as I watched I began to ponder something that I think many of you have also chewed on. The idea of a handsome prince.
First, let’s journey back to the original fairytales. Back before they were Disney stamped and animated. Cinderella was originally a folk tale that was passed orally through the generations. It has often had may variations although the plot remains the same in each culture. A widowed father remarries and acquires two step-daughters. They abuse ‘Cinderella’ and she becomes their maid. After receiving many gifts from a ‘fairy godmother’ she attends a royal affair and loses her shoe on her departure. The prince then scours the land in search of her and eventually finds and marries her.
Now, I adore the story told. And who doesn’t enjoy the thought of marrying a handsome prince and being pampered for the rest of your long life?
In the real world people come in many shapes and sizes. Some more attractive, some less. Some are kind, others are cruel. And while this story does in fact portray many of these aspects, which I fully endorse, there are a few flaws.
The idea of everyone finding a handsome prince to marry is, let’s face it, unrealistic. There I said it. Let’s be serious. While many a lucky woman does eventually find a loving husband who cares for her, the reality is that this is the real world. Allow me to explore this.
Recently one of my favorite books has been made into a box office hit. Divergent is the dystopian story of a teenage girl who sets forth the demise of her world. During the story she meets a guy and a love subplot begins. In this story the main male character, Four, isn’t your ‘handsome prince’. He has a crooked nose and many faults. His strange attitude being one. But the crowd loves him!
In Twilight (sorry folks), Edward has a crooked smile and isn’t a really ripped guy.
In Hush, Hush Patch is a dark and seemingly sinister heartthrob.
Now, why do I point these out? Because these stories show more flawed characters. The hot, girl-saving guy is not a blonde haired, blue eyed, tall prince. (Race is a different post. Just research the origins.)
I feel that with many girls they believe your mate should be that style of person. I have a major issue with that. Here in the southern USA a bunch of women think that the man with a six pack, cowboy hat, tan, and a nice car is “the guy”. And look at why they think that way.
But thankfully, today the stories hitting the mainstream have characters that are well fleshed out. (Thank you editors!) These men are various skin colors, face styles, personalities, etc. I know each mother worries about their little girl dating that ‘bad boy’. But what defines a ‘bad boy’?
Now, I also have to insert here that many people are grateful for the movies Brave and Frozen for showing that a woman doesn’t need a man to be happy or productive. Which is fine. But maybe ignoring the prince is a good thing. Frozen, however, does emphasize Kristoff who is not a prince. And he is odd.
But looking back any mother would have looked at Hans and picked him for their daughter prior to being informed of his evil ideals. Who would pick Patch? Or who would pick Four? And why would they not?
Without these kinds of stories taking the forefront we wouldn’t be open to many styles of relationships.
My husband is shorter, with dark hair and deep eyes. But I find him very handsome and intriguing. He is smart, loving, kind, and supportive. Isn’t that what every mom asks for in a husband for her daughter?
Today’s ideal man is shifting. He isn’t the prince of old. He is unique. The world is beginning to realize that loving imperfections is what real love is about. No one is perfect. No one’s family is ‘normal’. But so long as love exists then the world will continue to grow.
It’s not about a prince. It’s not about a slipper, though these things are nice and make for good stories. But maybe it’s about learning to love the beast before he is a prince. Maybe it’s about showing how loving them can help them become the prince of the story. Remember, Ever After? He wasn’t really a prince until he met her. Ella Enchanted? Char wasn’t a prince until he met Ella.
A woman may not need a man, but maybe he needs her. Maybe it’s not about a prince saving a damsel, but a damsel saving her prince. And a very handsome one at that, I mean someone’s gotta teach them!