The love-stricken, ridiculously good-looking couple rides off into the sunset on a white horse after overcoming a multitude of adversities with the help of their cute and cuddly animal friends. These troubles include an evil stepmother, gigantic dragon and/or poisonous apple. The prince and maiden, who have yet to know one another for more than a few days, can now fulfill their life-long dreams of finally finding their other half and “living happily ever after.”
How many times have you seen a version of this picturesque setting? And how many times after watching something like this have you thought, “When will that happen for me?”
This type of scenario, and in particular the four words “lived happily ever after,” should sound quite familiar to all ages and genders alike. As long as there have been available media to convey a story, whether it be on radio, in movies, in television or in novels, all-too idealistic love stories have been infiltrating the thoughts of the masses.
Because of these stories, consequently, expectations of life and love for many are hindered and unrealistic.
The well-known Disney corporation, which began in the 1930s, has especially been an accomplice to human fantasies when it comes to conjuring up enchanted fables with the help of animated movies. You can see the effect just by looking at little girls during Halloween or when playing dress-up. Their costumes consist of sparkly ball gowns with over-puffed sleeves, elbow-length silk gloves and tiaras atop perfectly coiffed hair.
At an early age, girls are given many examples of situations where someday Prince Charming will appear and want to take her away from their humdrum, less-than-magical life, far far away to his grand castle.
But it doesn’t stop at age 12, because when these girls grow up, they are still waiting for their very own princes. Countless women aged 20 to 50 sigh with a deep longing at the precise moment in the film where the leading male takes the maiden into his arms and kisses her, when instantly two characters fall head-over-heels in love or when lovers are reunited after being kept apart for an extended period of time.
I’m not saying these films are bad; they are called “entertainment” for a reason. Believe me, I’ve watched my fair share, but I always seem to prefer non-fiction to fiction. Maybe it’s because I know more friends with divorced parents than married ones and am aware that some things don’t last “forever.” Or maybe it’s just that I think a person can be complete without a significant other and that “movie-love” is more of a bonus in life.
Perhaps, instead of always getting caught up in the “someday my prince will come” mentality, the avid Disney fan needs to look a little deeper than that.
Look for the personality traits that make the trademark Disney characters stand out. For example, Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” sings “bright young women, sick of swimming, ready to stand.” This could be seen as a female’s stand for independence.
Another example is Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.” She disregards the townspeople’s judgments of her, and relishes in the fact that she is her own person.
Some may say that as a society we need fairytales like these to allow us to escape by the daily grind of life, but I beg to differ. The little things become what you appreciate most, like waking up to the person you care for the most. Though you may have smudged make-up, morning breath and messy hair, none of it matters when you’re with that person.
That’s real-life, and that’s what I call magical.
Human relationships are so much more complex and layered than what is spoon-fed to us from the movie industry. There are ups and downs, arguments and breakups, plus all the time it takes to get to know a person and see past their faults because you love them. When you finally understand that life isn’t a fairytale and doesn’t have to be “perfect” to be right, then true happiness will ensue.
A world without glass slippers, enchanted pumpkins, and Prince Charmings, can be so much more satisfying if you truly will it to be so. Personally, I’ll take whatever real-life adaptation of love I get over a fable any day.
Brittney Clyde is a journalism junior and a reporter for the Mustang Daily.