“Prince Charming” has been a universal idea throughout all our childhoods, and even adulthood. We may not call our significant others “Prince Charming,” but in many heterosexual relationships we see in media, the roles women play make it seem like we should.
This kind of thinking crumples women’s minds, causing them to think they will be swept off their feet by their own handsome prince, sitting patiently in the dark, waiting for that one special person to save them from their misery. But this belief that fate calls men to save women prevents us from taking responsibility for ourselves.
Statistics from ABC News in 2006 convey that women over 40 are more likely to be killed by a terrorist than find a husband. With media’s stress on finding the perfect partner in romanticized music videos, popular films, and cheesy TV shows like The Vampire Diaries or Pretty Little Liars, children and teenagers start to fantasize about finding true love.
Disney princesses are not the only ones saved by society’s “perfect” men; women all around us are. Everywhere you go – to Starbucks, to the grocery store, to school, to work – people are physically embracing each other with coats of affection so often that it’s almost impossible to avoid seeing couples in love every day. It gets hard not to think, “Cinderella’s life improved after a rich, handsome prince fell in love with her — someone can fall in love with me, too!”
Although this might seem to offer hope, women often get sucked into this idea of “Prince Charming” and forget their independence. Characteristics like intelligence, as well as external and internal beauty are shown off in hopes to attract others. We show kindness not only to be “nice,” but to be known as “the sweet one” that men want to date. Because of this, women lose sight of who they are and instead depend on men’s attraction to validate their abilities and worthiness.
Luckily, feminism has been catching on, and its messages have been stressed for many years. I was eight years old when I watched The Cheetah Girls, and my favorite song from their soundtrack was “Cinderella.” My best friend and I used to sing it all the time, even though we didn’t understand its message. But as I grew up, I recognized that the lyrics “I don’t want to be like Cinderella, sitting in a dark, cold, dusty cellar, waiting for somebody to come and set me free” and “I’m gonna rescue myself” convey a lot of independence and confidence.
Societal standards are not guidelines for life, but rather the box we should be thinking outside of. Women are capable of so much – look at how far we’ve gotten! From Amelia Earhart being the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic ocean, to talented superstars like Beyoncé sharing the strengths of being a woman, women will continue to grow, prosper, and fully gain the title equivalent to the power of men we deserve.
One step at a time, more of us are becoming our own “Princess Charmings.”
Krista Pak is a junior in high school and loves to spend her time producing stories and creating poems. With her identity as a strong egalitarian, she is motivated to spread equality through modern issues.