The Prince Charming Effect (Part 2): A Woman and her Identity

Once upon a time, there was a mystical kingdom that held a beautiful, skinny, petite, blonde princess, who could sing, draw, act, socialize, bake, cook, talk to animals--her only companions, and truest friends--who didn't have one intelligent thought in her mind, and trusted all she met to a fault. There she waited, held way up high in the air, locked in a tower, and guarded by an evil fire-breathing dragon, for a tall, muscular, brave, egotistical, gorgeous, perfect prince, who was destined to come save her. Where upon they would share true loves' kiss, be married on the next morning, and awaiting the arrival of their new child just nine months later. They would live happily, ever after.

The end? More like Bull sh--! 

As social roles develop and change, it seems there are two distinct images for women: dutiful, involved mother or tempting, immoral adulteress. Sure, these roles have complex standards, but there's no in-between as far as these roles allow.

Picture from Diney's Cinderella.

Picture from Diney's Cinderella.

First and foremost, many single women are viewed as slutty-- "She sleeps around!? What a whore!" But society ignores that a man is praised for his multiple conquests, and even deemed a "man" when he has his first lay. Yet, catcalls are shouted at her left and right, "Meow, meow pretty lady!" But she's a prude when she doesn't respond, rejecting their advances. If she doesn't have a man, she needs one: some day her prince will come. When she finds a man, she should be a lady and keep "it" to herself; she should wait and not "give it up," but people will believe she has, even if she doesn't. He's her prince after all, why wouldn't she, won't they end up settled together? 

For people to not view women in this skewed, sexual way, she has to be a wife to her Prince Charming, with obedient children. On-lookers expect to see full coverage, jeans and a plain t-shirt, maybe a long skirt and a blouse, a “good girl image.” She has to be the Betty Crocker image society associates with a “real” woman. Is culture a good enough argument to refine a woman to a role where she always has to be a homemaker? She has to be perfect, to a degree. Keep it covered. Wear make up. Be good at socializing and developing connections. Plan. Organize. Run the household. Clean. Cook. Sew. Know fashion. Mother children. Be a good lover in bed. Be discreet about her affairs. Be perfect for her man and take care of him.

Betty Crocker.

Betty Crocker.

A woman loses her identity when she gets in a relationship. She's not just "Susan" anymore, she's greeted with "Where's your hubby?" Or "How's your other half?" She's pestered with questions about housework and children, school schedules and lessons, shopping and groceries lists. She surrenders her body, heart, and soul when she commits to a relationship, losing herself to a slavery of never ending Daily Tasks.  

Screw that.

If a woman is going to be those things, she should do it because she wants to. Not because she’s expected to. Men have pressures of their own, but we don’t demand that a man lose his identity to his partner the way a woman loses her identity to a man, nor do we expect him to take on the roles that society put on to a woman. We shouldn’t ask him to, and we shouldn't expect a woman to lose herself to a society's ideals and standards. A woman in today’s society still can’t be her own woman.

If she’s alone, we expect her to find a husband—she needs someone to complete her. Why?  

Women can function by themselves without a man, so why is society pushing a woman to feel she needs a man? Why do we tell her about a fictitious prince who will, quite honestly, never come? Women are trained and groomed their whole lives to believe that they need a man, and that they’ll find him “some day.” Women should be warned instead, that though passion and romance are beautiful things to strive for, those items are not the basis of a relationship, mutual respect and friendship are. Let's work together to teach girls and youth that a prince is fantasy. Teach a girl to strive to meet her goals and follow her passions. If a man happens along in her life and fits positively, that's okay; but a prince should not be her focus.