Fairy Tales are a childhood staple along with first haircuts and Sesame Street-Prince Charming and Happily Every After. We grow up hearing the stories and even worse- begin believing them.
If you read some of the fairy tales in their original tellings, you find that happily ever after isn't always the case. In Hans Christian Anderson's The Littlest Mermaid, the littlest mermaid doesn't marry the prince in the end. She becomes a wave after the prince falls in love and marries someone else. And while the Grim Brothers are known for their fairy tales, it is in fact truth in advertising. Their tales are well... GRIM.
So when did fairy tales become happily ever after? The filmmakers at Disney have skewed our beliefs with their movies. After all, movies where the main character dies alone, broken and sad just doesn't sell!! Recently on a family shopping trip at Disney World, I noticed outfits to make any child a princess. There were crowns, gowns and bedding. Parents can spend a
fortune so that their child can become Cinderella. However, there wasn’t anything to make a guy Prince Charming! (hmmm??)
Women today have grown up believing in fairy tales and expect to find Prince Charming and live happily ever after. What an impossible task! Frankly, even those real princes like Charles of England are flawed and fail to live happily ever after. And princesses don't fare much better! Princess Caroline of Monaco has had numerous failed marriages. Women can't expect that a man is going to be perfect. But ask any woman on her wedding day and she will reply that she has found 'her prince'.
We leave Cinderella on her wedding day. She is happy and ready to face the rest of her life.
But we fail to see how the next year or two will impact her relationship with the Prince. Who knows, they probably have to deal with meddling in laws, clothes left on the floor and money
problems just like the rest of us! I know some guys really do believe that their mother-in-law is wicked but can you imagine the family squabbles with a wicked stepmother and two wicked
stepsisters as family? Prince not withstanding, happily ever after takes work. Ask any couple married more than 15 years and they will tell you the truth.
We are hurting our daughters by allowing the myths of Prince Charming and happily ever after to set the tone for their lives. Parents today need to make an effort to teach our children the truth about relationships. It takes hard work and compromise rather than a fairy godmother to make a relationship last. It isn't necessary to never allow your child to watch a Disney movie but we need to present the whole picture to our children. Some authors and singers have tried to present a more realistic picture.
Fairy tales are make believe, fiction and a dream. Your husband may be Prince Charming but sometimes he is also frustrating and demanding. In loving him, you embrace all those facets of his personality because you realize that you are no princess either! Sometimes you are quite wicked;-). Happily ever after may be a goal in your relationship. But it should come at the end of your life as you look back and see that there were more good times than bad or
more happy times than sad. Let's give our children a fighting chance at a lasting relationship! Debunk the myths of fairy tales and open their world to real love.
Musings from Michigan