Girls, Do We Grab the Glass Slipper or the Sword?
I was born in 1965, to some millennials and younger, that may sound quite old. I was from the Gen X generation; the last children to play make believe games and ride our bikes all over the neighborhood. It was a wonderful, freeing time of no cell phones to track us down. Being nostalgic over that time period brings a smile to my face, with some of the fondest of memories. I was a typical little girl. I dreamt of being a princess and having a prince come rescue me. My mother unintentionally gave me the “Cinderella Complex”. Having this complex makes it very hard for a guy to live up to. My mother was very fortunate to meet a wonderful man who took care of her and she innocently wanted that for me. “Marry someone smarter than yourself”. Hmmmm, she meant well, but it also meant my mind and career didn’t matter. As long as someone was taking care of me, that was what mattered. I graduated with high honors and got my Bachelors in Fine Arts, majoring in Fashion Design and Merchandising. Mom was proud, but my Holly was the major airline pilot…now that mattered. I have no sorrow over it, it’s just ‘the way it was back then’. I giggle when I think about her. My mom was an amazing mother and she passed on to me magic that I am so grateful to possess. Fairytales, dragons, mermaids and princesses…all magic. I am smiling right now as I type this.
What fascinates me, is that young girls today have a totally different outlook on the world and how girls should grow up to be. Their goals are set higher! Our generation had Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. All three were complete once Prince Charming showed up. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my fairytales, but I also embrace the new energy women are moving into. Young girls have so many more options and role models. They can see endless possibilities. I am always with jaw hung open when I see powerful women in Air Force commercials and strong leading ladies in a movie.
The shift in powerful energy for women is very subtle, but every little bit matters. Those slight shifts slowly change the world. People who were ‘old school’ did not like the new female pirate at Disney World’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Over the years, my mom and I loved seeing the sassy redhead, but the reality of it was that she was tied with a rope, being sold, looking down. That sits tucked away in a girl’s consciousness. Women are powerless, they can only be sexy, nurture kids, support their man and be gentle. Today, we have a strong, empowering female pirate, head held high, that little girls see as they enjoy the ride. Again, tucked away in her consciousness. Along with that image, also tucked away are other strong characters throughout her young life…Moana for example. Moana stayed true to herself and followed her heart’s desire to lead her people. Elsa didn’t even need a prince charming, just the love of her sister to save her. These images and stories with strong women and girls are so important for the young girls of today. I simply did not have that.
Regardless of your political views, one cannot ignore the wave of influential women coming into politics; all colors, religion and sexual orientation. They are not backing down, but speaking up, not settling but wanting answers, wanting change. We are shifing our conciousness into perseverance.
It is quite refreshing to see this above image. All my life, for the most part, I saw old, white, Christian men in politcs. I remember someone telling me “we cannot become what we never see“, words so true. Young girls see all of this. They see endless possibilites of the part they wish to play to create a better world.
So ladies, do we chose the glass slipper or the sword? Hmmmm, I love glass slippers, they are pure magic. They don’t break or hurt your feet. The Fairy Godmother told Cinderella that she simply got her to the ball, the rest was up to her. “The music is in you.” (Brandi version of Cinderella, 1997). The slippers reminded Cinderella of her power. Can women play the brave knight too? Joan of Arc did and in the end, she was so brave. Adult women like myself still have time to chose a sword and catch the fast moving current of unstoppable women hitting the entertainment world, showing us endless opportunities of courage, sacrifice, hard work, discipline, recognition and stamina.
Many actresses are demanding strong, significant roles in the entertainment industry, breaking that glass slipper into pieces. They want swords! Audiences want to see this as well. Us ‘fairytale girls’ need this. It taps into a part of ourselves we thought could not be discovered or revealed. We can rule lands, ride dragons fearlessly, and be brave. I had no idea I even had a choice to pick up a sword. Brienne and Arya showed me I could!
Maybe the days of Cinderella are fading away. The roles of Moana and Elsa are stepping forward. We look up to Brienne and Arya in Game of Thrones to save the day no differently than their male counterparts like Jon Snow. Girls are trading in glass slippers for swords. They want to have their own power and lead their own way.
We all remember Bella in Twilight. The men around her all wanted to protect her and make decisions for her. In their minds, they knew what was best for her. But in the end, she did it her way and with her unique vampire powers, it was her that saved her family of vampires in the end.
Being a woman or being feminine does not mean we can only chose the glass slipper, we can chose the sword too, we can chose both if we desire. We were meant to be so much more than what our limited childhood taught us to be. Cinderella can rescue herself. Snow White can walk away. Sleeping Beauty can pick up a sword!
Strong, powerful women didn’t just appear recently, they have always been around, maybe silenced, hidden, or simply not seen. Remember, ‘we cannot become what we cannot see‘. I am so happy that young girls today can get the seeds of empowerment gradually as they get older. It may start with a strong female pirate at Disney…. 😉
I may have been raised on glass slippers, but I can still reach for my sword whenever I need it. Ladies, keep the glass slippers in your closet, next to your sword. Remember, the power is in you. You can rewrite your own fairytale anytime you like.
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