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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Life Is A Fairytale...Let's Hope Not!

Once upon a time in a land far away, but somehow right down the street, there lived a girl. She was plain, in every way imaginable with glasses and a noticeable overbite. Due to her dry, yet stunning wit and advanced intelligence, she was seen as surly and not much fun to be around. She preferred math and science, comic books and martial arts and told off color inappropriate jokes with the vim and vigor of a drunken fratboy at a shotgun wedding bachelor party. She lived, not with her evil stepmother or sisters, preferring the comfort and solitude of a small apartment on the Upper Eastside of NeverNeverLand and enjoyed cleaning her abode, lighting incense and candles and turning off her phone for days at a time. When she ventured out to the Prince's Palace or other random society balls, she resolutely refused to "drop down and get her eagle on" at parties, but danced with a drum driven abandon, limbs akimbo in the privacy of her own home. She read the Wonderland Street Journal, but avoided magazine racks filled to overflowing with Fantasypolitan, PixieVogue and Better Castles & Moats. Avoiding television, she didn't even entertain celebrity the time that idiot Rapunzel almost went bald letting random men climb her lacefront. And somehow, she liked her life. One day, while she was fixing a flat tire on her chariot hybrid, a perfectly normal voice asked if she needed any help to which she replied, yeah, pass me that tire iron...thanks. Together, they fixed her flat and in gratitude she invited him to dinner at The Magic Elixir...the local 5 Star restaurant. She paid.
Weeks of dating, late night conversation in the crib, heart racin, tryin to be cool and patient. She touched on his eyelids, the room fell silent, she walked away smiling, singing Gregory Issac...(sorry, got lost in a moment).
Eventually, they signed prenups, got married, argued, made up, had babies, changed diapers, argued, made up, raised healthy well adjusted children, argued less, enjoyed each other and grew together more and died.

Feel free to share this fairytale with your daughters (AND suns) if you'd like them to know something about an optimistic, yet intelligent life. If not, go to your local chain store and grab two heaping handfuls of artfully decorated, fluffy pink propaganda and all subsequent special edition releases. Midblog caveat: I won't be mentioning the D word, so you can stop waiting. I WILL tell you some subtle character points, plots and flaws that stick in my considerable brain and will result in the need to hire a deprogrammer by the time your lil Wunderkind reaches 13.

I enjoy a good fictional account. I write stories in my head (and occasionally on paper) with a frequency that astonishes me. Sometimes, the wilder and more outlandishly unrealistic, the better. It's like chewing exercise your jaw muscles, enjoy an explosion of flavor, blow a couple of bubbles, then you spit it out.  It's like watching sports. You root for the underdog...cheer, jeer and leave the stadium with an unwarranted sense of accomplishment. No harm, no foul (unless you're watching Ireland...) It's a useless activity that provides gratification and maybe...if played/written correctly, you learn a lesson. My problem with certain types of fairytales is that last part. The lessons being imparted to a legion of young, impressionable girls. And it's consistent and pervasive across time. And what lesson is being shared?

Be pretty, use your prettiness, kiss somebody (either pretty or "ugly") and die. There's got to be more!

Consider an offering from 1833. After a blood request for a daughter is affirmatively answered, the loving matriarch dies to be replaced by an "evil stepmother" who spends the majority of her time in a mirror induced rivalry resulting in the step Queens request that the daughter be killed. Question? Where is this child's daddy?!!! You mean to tell me, the activities of the King are so time consuming that he doesn't realize his daughter is in danger? (Fishburne). BabyGirl's "prettyiness" (not the contract killer's conscious) saves her from said slaying, but she's left in the woods to fend for herself. She's rescued by 7 little dudes who contract her for a bit of indentured the StepQueen, after learning her whereabouts, reinforces her efforts to spill a bit of the Fairest One's blood. Enter the apple, deep sleep and a traveling Prince who is so enchanted by this comatosed (helpless, weak, disabled) girl.  Necro...nevermind. Prince kisses girl, she awakens, ticks off StepQueen who is quickly dispatched and they all live happily ever after...Bows and ribbons anyone?

Have you heard the one about the girl with double punch combination of evil stepmother AND stepsisters? Another absentee dad, leaving his daughter to the devices of someone who OBVIOUSLY doesn't treasure her existence, she's left being servant and emotionally abused. Along comes the Prince and his fancy shindig, a couple of magical mice, pumpkin and rags and our "heroine" is transformed into a beauty fit for the ball (with a timeline...don't dare age, young lady). As the clock strikes 12, a shoe is dropped, and the magic fades. Drifting on a memory, the Prince commands an assemblage of the towns women for a shoe fitting session, whereby he finds the Princess of his dreams.
Say it with me, now..."And they all lived happily ever after..."

You don't EVEN want to get me started on The Amphibian Loving Princess...

*For even more fun...take a look at some of the origins of your favorite fairytales...not for the squeamish*

Current movies follow a similar theme, unfortunately. The "hooker with a heart of gold", the "secret hot chick who removes her glasses and becomes glamorous", the "plain friend with both a heart of gold AND smokin' hot looks when she's not busy reading and being smart and stuff"...
What are we teaching our girls?

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