When I was growing up everything in the world told me that I would need to be saved.
The books I read.
The TV shows that were on.
The movies.
The fairytales I was told.
Everything told me that I one day I was going to find myself despondent, penniless, frightfully alone, quite possibly in rags of some sort…and I would need to be saved by a man.
It wasn’t something anyone talked about BUT it was implanted in our brainstems…it was programmed…it just was.
Get it together, Sharron. Get pretty, get thin, get desirable, find some hair product because ONE FINE DAY you will need to be saved.
It didn’t help that when my STEPDAD (eek…a “step anything” NEVER worked out from what I had learned thus far) brought my Mom back from their honeymoon in Europe (how the eff did the Matthews ever end up in Europe…we didn’t have the coin for that!?!?) he gave me a large yellow, German version of GRIMM’S FAIRYTALES.
And as we all know, most of those stories didn’t end well…they were much grimmer (pun totally intended) than the white washed versions today…but the general gist was:
The beautiful girl is cursed and needs to be woken up by a kiss from a stranger.
The beautiful girl has to kiss (actually marry and sleep with, was what was implied in this book) a frog…who might hopefully turn into a prince…no promises, people.
The spunky girl goes on an adventure, ends up straying off the path and then GETS EATEN by a wolf…a wolf that has already eaten her strong, solo, living in the woods Gramma.
Why so much kissing and eating?
Get ready to be kissed by strangers!
Don’t live alone.
Don’t stray from the path.
Bravery is not for girls.
SIDEBAR: AND that Archie Andrews could never decide if he liked hot Veronica or sweet Betty better…and they just let him toy with both of their emotions ENDLESSLY. So beware, you will ALSO need to compete for love and attention.
Lord and Taylor.
And then I found all of this conditioned me to enjoy the ROMCOM.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I enjoy a good love story…but the Cinderella tale has now been warped and turned into many different tales that are not as liberating as it was in the beginning. I DID think the fact that she ran off to a ball by herself, danced with a hot guy and then took off kind of cool.
ANOTHER SIDEBAR: There was also the part of the story where the step sisters cut off their heels and toes to fit them into a shoe so they could marry a Prince. But at least they were evil and deserved it, right?
Jesus wept.
In the new versions of the Cinderella tale you need to be a virgin or the hot MOUNTAIN MAN, PIRATE KING, SCOTTISH WARRIOR, PRICKLY NAVY SEAL, INSERT AGGRESSIVE DUDE HERE, QUIET DEEP MUSCLE MAN will not think you worthy of his love, sex or attention.
OR, and this is the newest version that has taken the world by storm, you need to be a virgin ( or at virginesque ) or the EXTREMELY wealthy, broken man will not save you from your ordinary life.
I gotta say, it is the shits, people.
Back in the day, I remember seeing Pretty Woman for the first time and feeling weird.
The part of me that believed that a woman needed to be saved, loved it…but the part of me that was struggling to find her way into womanhood was not having it. Not at all.
And everyone else seemed to love it too.
Loved it.
I was very confused.
I had already begun to realize that I could save myself.
“He saved her…and she saved him right back.”
I swear to god that that last line was added after test audiences were like, “WHAT THE FUCK?”…and that line made it all okay.
She was a prostitute…READ: HOOKER WITH A HEART OF GOLD…when did THAT become a character type…I don’t know…BUT IT IS, people.
So, again, she was a prostitute and he was a high powered business man who had no time for love…but needed a date…blah blah blah…he buys her, yes, he buys her…and asks her to stay on with him for $3000 dollars, she acts like it is the deal of a lifetime.
We move on in the story and he thinks she is doing drugs in the bathroom, she is actually flossing her teeth.
Blah blah blah.
She goes shopping but she is a hooker so no one helps her…he has to come with her to the stores…then it is fine.
We realize at one point that they have stolen a large part of the story from My Fair Lady (don’t get me started on that one), she gets screwed on a piano (not on the price of one…but literally ON one)…she gets hit by Jason Alexander…she gets humiliated a number of times…he tells her he wants to “keep” her…she has her limits…she leaves…he finds her…HE SHOWS UP IN A WHITE LIMO THAT IS LIKE A WHITE HORSE BUT NOT AND CONQUERS HIS FEAR OF HEIGHTS (WHAT!?!?) TO CLIMB UP A FIRE ESCAPE (stealing from WEST SIDE STORY AND ROMEO AND JULIET…god damn did they have ONE original idea?) to give her roses and THEN live happily ever after.
I loved and hated it.
It was treated it like a wonderful piece of escapist entertainment…a story that I, and many women like me, had been taught to cherish and sigh over.
What the high holy eff, people?
Then I spent the next 20 years really learning, many times the hard way, that I was my own saviour. The stories were wrong. So very wrong.
The times of fairytales like these were going to come to an end, right?
Now as we sit in the heart of the #metoo movement there is a broadway musical, with a score by Bryan Adams, of Pretty Woman that is being rehearsed and put onstage.
When I first saw this news I thought it was an Onion or Beaverton article. Satire, basically.
When I then saw that it was real, I googled the fuck out of it…and found out not only was it true BUT also that the ENTIRE creative team and almost ALL the producers are men.
One more time, the entire creative team….men.
Am I cray?
Does this not seem like the wrong project at the wrongest of times?
Aren’t we moving past the time when we want to set these stories to music and then sell tickets to young women who will come and see it on BROADWAY and think that this is a great story, a good tale, family ENTERTAINMENT?
Do we really want to step back and live in a time where a story like this is a FEEL GOOD MUSICAL?
I have tweeted about it a bit on the twitter, but I feel like I am yelling in a wind storm.
There is almost no way you can convince me that this…that this is a good idea. LORD AND TAYLOR…let’s empower young women…let’s support and lift up young women…not teach them stories like this.
This is not about hating men…I love men…I have a wonderful, supportive husband that l love to bits….BUT about equality, and not thinking we need to be saved…and not perpetuating that myth.


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