I was trying to process what I was feeling recently, in regard to the fact that I am somewhat dependent on my husband right now and I really f**king don’t like this feeling. BUT, even though he may not admit it, I think he likes being in the position to “take care of” me and my kids, at least for the moment. So I started to explore that and my feelings about it, from an angle of perceived control and feminist leanings.
After wading through my anti-Disney views, I realized a few things about boys and the similar messaging they receive through childhood movies, namely Disney. While so much focus is on girls and the messaging that they receive from the media, on their bodies, their sexuality, their gender defined roles and expectations…BOYS do too.
Take Beauty and the Beast for example. He is a hairy, mean, aloof asshole really. Sure he is well read and intelligent, but he is an asshole. But despite any sort of Patty Hearstesque issues in Belle, we still get to the end of the story and Belle fell in love with him despite all his shortcomings.
The message to girls: You can turn a monster into a beautiful clean-shaven prince if you love him enough.
The message to boys: If you are rich and have a castle and isolate a girl, she will love you despite how you treat her. And plus, at the end, you get to look like an Abercrombie model.
How about Aladdin?
The message to girls: You can be a spoiled little brat if you are beautiful and don’t dress conservatively but you have no real power unless you are married to a man, regardless of how evil he is. Ahem, enter Jafar.
The message to boys: If you are a street rat and steal the right thing, it can lead to riches and glory with which you can obtain the affection of a rich and beautiful girl who never would have looked at you otherwise…You just gotta get that money, even if you have to steal it. *White boy rich, right?* Additionally, it helps to have a Genie, a monkey and ride into the girl’s line of sight in the most badass form of transportation possible…elephants for Aladdin..Jasmine don’t want no scrub.
What about Snow White and Sleeping Beauty?
The message to girls: above and beyond the obvious “only a prince will save me, I can’t save myself from the powerful woman we perceive as a witch,” what about the “if a boy kisses me while I am passed the eff out, its ok, he was trying to save me.”
The message to boys: If you have money and power and want a girl, go ahead and have your way with her if she is passed the eff out. She will let you do anything because she needs someone to save her cause she can’t do it herself.
How about my own personal favorite childhood movie (seriously, I just realized how eff’d up this is….) Peter Pan:
The message to girls: Don’t worry about the guy climbing through your window, he was in love with your mom and your grandma and has watched your whole family grow up, he looks and acts like a boy but he is really like freaking 60 and refused to grow up. Go ahead and take the “fairy dust” he offers you to make you fly.
The message to boys: Eh, you could take this from the Peter Pan Pedophile view or the brother’s view, either way, if you take the girl you have to take the brothers as well, either to keep people off your trail or to protect your sister, who isn’t smart enough to go alone and she takes care of you, like a mother, anyway.
Boys receive the same messaging girls do. Only they receive it from the opposite side. Boys have to be big enough and strong enough and rich enough and good-looking enough to get one of these girls they need. Because you aren’t successful unless you have a family to take care of and support independently.
And dear sweet ancient baby alien space monkey jebus forbid, you are not heterosexual. Then you are just screwed. Who is the bread-winner? What if you can’t get married? What if you can’t adopt because you are gay? What if you don’t want any effing kids anyway? What if you don’t want to be traditional? Then what?
Look at George Clooney for example:
He is what the media likes to deem a “lifelong bachelor.” He is rich and good-looking, etc., but people ALWAYS assume one of these days he will meet a girl who will knock him off his feet and tie him down. Um, he is dating a WWE girl and she hasn’t done it. I don’t think it will be done. And why is this not ok? Maybe he doesn’t want a fairytale BS path. Maybe he doesn’t want any damn kids. Maybe he just borrows some of Brad and Angie’s when he feels the biological pull….*eyeroll* OR MAYBE THE BIOLOGICAL CLOCK IS A MANMADE (OR AT LEAST PERPETUATED) FEELING CREATED BY PREDETERMINED ROLES!!!!
Here comes the role strain.
Here comes the anomie.
Yeehaw! Boys, be who you want to be. Love who you want. Marry who you want to marry, if you want to marry. Have kids if you want. Be your most authentic self, regardless of what Hollywood and Disney and the GOP tells you that you need to be. Watch the documentary, “Happy.” Money DOES NOT equate to love or happiness. I promise.
As far as my own feelings, they are still be processed. But at least you get some insight into the feelings an independent woman might feel. We don’t want to be dependent either. So that should remove some stress 🙂