Do Fairy Tales Send the Wrong Message?

My neighbor’s daughter just came home from school in tears.  The young girl – a teen – is known in school for making really pretty earrings and the boy that she has had a crush on all school year just came up and asked if she’d make a pair of earrings that he could give ANOTHER girl for Valentine’s Day.

The daughter told the story between sobs ending with, “and I have to give him a pair of my earrings for his girlfriend on my favorite holiday that I’ll be spending ALONE.”

Oh sister. Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that women can attach expectations to and often find those expectations falling short.

Are fairy tales to blame? Do we set our girls up for disappointment when we read Snow White and Cinderella and watch Pretty Woman, the reality show the Bachelor and every single Hallmark made-for-television movie that ends with the guy and the girl falling in love for ever after?

How do we let our daughters know that true happiness comes from within and isn’t reliant on a someone else? How do we convey the fact that there are many women who live wonderful, fulfilled, lives without a significant other at the center? How do we let them know that the a partner is a nice-to-have enhancement and not the be-all-end-all of a happy life?  And what does this mother say to her daughter who cries harder with each Zales commercial on television?

Here’s a quote from an article called Fairy Tales Don’t Come True:

Life is all about the journey – the ups and downs the good and bad. It isn’t about waiting beside the hearth for prince charming to happen by for a dipper of water from our well. It’s about seizing the moment, making things happen for ourselves, looking in the mirror and being proud of what we see, not asking for a fairy godmother to make it different.