Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tale as old as Time

I love Disney animated films. That's something that most people know about me. My favourite Disney heroine is Ariel, the Little Mermaid. She's feisty, she's independent, she's a little rebellious. However, despite these good qualities, she still feels like she needs to give up her tail (in a painful transformation) to gain legs and barter her voice in order to be desirable to her prince. Putting aside questions of trans-species romance, it got me thinking about how far women will go to try to please a man. Luckily, in Ariel's case, Prince Eric actually fell in love with her voice (I'm going to use this as a metaphor for her mind rather than her singing voice) rather than her looks, and so when she turns back into a fish, he risks his life to save her. Sweet. But not all women are so lucky, hiding their true selves from a man to try to 'make him like me', and then being surprised when the man is not being too happy when his slender sex goddess transforms after 6 months/a year/2 minutes after the wedding into a bloated prude.

And then there's my other favourite Disney film, Beauty and the Beast. Tale as old as time indeed. Girl meets monster, monster learns some etiquette to impress girl, girl falls for him and sets about trying to change him from monster into prince. What if the Beast was just that, a beast who somehow learned how to wield a spoon to eating porridge? I for one went out with my very own 'beast' for a long time, thinking that perhaps I could work a miracle and change his abusiveness and violent tendencies simply because we "loved" each other. Well, love, as great as it is, is not some powerful magic spell, and simply served to give me a temporary (albeit too long) lobotomy, convincing myself that I was happy and could cope with his abuse because one day it would change and it would all be worth it. Belle lost her freedom to the Beast; I lost my self-esteem. And what did I get? A toad. Which I thankfully threw back into the duck pond in disguist.

It's easier to pretend you're someone you're not, or exagerate your good qualities, in order to impress someone who you've only just met. It doesn't hurt so much if someone rejects you in those early stages if you play this game, because you can say to yourself that if they had 'gotten to know you', things would have been different. But if someone isn't pretending, if they really are vile and cruel, don't think you can change them, because you can't. Change has to come from within.

1 comment:

Sabrina Mei-Li Smith said...

yay! disney! i really am becoming a serial killer...