Annotating Fairytales


We can’t all be princesses…

Someone has to clap

when I walk by.

Girl Two Doors Down



Among my favorite treasures is this photo of my daughter and her Disney equivalent in matching costumes, both dark haired and wide eyed, beaming broadly in recognition of a kindred princess. She wore her Snow White costume for much of the year she was four years old until it grayed and frayed around the edges. Fast forward fifteen years later, she begins to find that honoring her own needs isn’t always high on the agenda of a prospective Prince, so it might as well be on hers.

While Meghan Markle‘s dilemma has provided entertaining distraction from our prolonged and heavy real world concerns, it is high time we edit the fairytales we’ve innocently fed our daughters’ imaginations so that they might stand a better chance at the elusive “Happy Ever After” they have been told to expect after every grand wedding.

Food for thought for our young–and not too young–to consider:

Entitled women need not suffer royally. Fairytales have scientifically proven that the best brides for a prince are those used to being invisible slaving away at the hearth, grateful to wear rags and hand-me-downs, and have a knack for diplomacy around the varied temperaments of (s)even very short men or a couple of wicked stepsisters. Such brides never talk back at evil stepmothers or in-laws and would never dream of demanding that her prince make the heart-rending choice between her own happiness or that of his family.

Every parent wants their son/daughter to marry up. What sane parent–even those whose blood isn’t blue–will want less than the best for their own son/daughter? When a royal family concedes to an “unexpected” match, should we then assume that they will happily surrender all other stringent protocols and stifling roles that have governed everyone living under their palatial roof throughout history? Is there to be no price to pay for entry into that magical kingdom of fancy ballgowns and dress up parties?

No one is a victim. This is a tough sell with our culture firmly hooked up by (social) media onto the IV drip of glorifying victimhood as the surest way to more thumbs up and shares, fame and publicity, book publishing and movie deals. May we strive to be adults who: (1) take responsibility for our choices and acknowledge the quid pro quo in getting what we want; (2) embrace dark emotions as natural and necessary human experience, fertile ground for growing our own understanding, strength and resilience; (3) open our eyes to the fact that no matter how much we chafe at the injustice of reality, the caste system is alive and well even in first world nations–only made difficult to swallow under the egalitarian spell cast by democracy. Oprah herself covered this with her bookclub choice Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.

A true modern princess wields her power over social media responsibly, aware of the influence her example sets on young minds. Knowing the animals, prince, and system she has to live with, she seeks to bring together nations, using her understanding of the rules that govern the terrain to navigate her way with dignity, never pandering to other people’s pity nor glamorizing helplessness.

Click “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your tips on how to keep feet squarely on the ground while making our dreams come true.







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