In the 1950s, “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Snow White” were fairy tales that girls took seriously. I know because I was one of them. In Disneyland, the beautiful orphaned maiden needed someone to rescue her from a witch or an evil stepmother. That “someone” was always an incredibly handsome prince who saved the damsel in distress just in time. The “prince in the tower” became a metaphor for chivalry–not to mention, inexhaustible wealth, and power. Most important of all, he was capable of loving only one woman: the poor, hapless, helpless (but beautiful) damsel.
By the late 1960s and early 70s, a lot of disillusioned women sidestepped the fantasy for something more reliable than a man–a career. But even a career with its ups and downs caused some to take a second look at their biological clocks and head to the nearest fertility clinic, Justice of the Peace, or both. Meanwhile, “the prince in the tower” was consigned to the dungeon. The notion that marriage was the beginning of “they lived happily ever after” was passe. Love stories became less romantic and more earthy, leaving nothing to the imagination.
Fast-forward to June 2013. Today’s brides-to-be have their pick of wedding dresses. They can find racks of full-length wedding gowns at any thrift store, consignment shop, or yard sale for just a fraction of their original cost. (No doubt, each secondhand dress conceals a cautionary tale.)
Just the same, the fairy tales of yesteryear are making a resurgence. Google “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “the Little Mermaid,” and “Pocahontas,” and you will find a harem of tiny princesses waiting for Mom or Gram to purchase for the little girls in their lives. Somehow the need to perpetuate the “prince in the tower” fantasy by passing it on to the next generation always prevails.
Why do we do this? Is it Hollywood, hormones, or nature’s sleight of hand to ensure that we continue to procreate?
The myth doesn’t begin and end with little girls. Even women (including those jaded with cynicism) are watching fairy tales with a contemporary twist such as “Once Upon a Time,” and “The Twilight Saga.”
As for me, I’m waiting for the real Knight on the white horse. He’s perfect and He’s coming with the hosts of Heaven to claim His Bride. In the meantime, I don’t need fairy tales, which are often very “Grimm,” despite Disney’s airbrushed versions. But I still believe in romance, and that’s why I wrote THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER.