Our princess culture seeks Prince Charming

Princesses are very popular in our culture.

Many little girls dream of being princesses. Even if they have parents who resist the marketing of princesses, they probably have clothing describing them as princesses and have a room with plenty of princess games, toys, dolls and other merchandise.

It is notable that Sesame Street felt it needed a segment to let young girls know that being a princess is not a career—that they should want to be a teacher, a lawyer or have another job that they have studied and worked hard to get.

What may seem to be an innocent expression of being a girl can become more serious later in life. There’s more than one television show about helping young women who have lived their lives as princesses break out and become self-sufficient individuals. Then there’s the Bachelor that could be viewed as Prince Charming picking his princess.

It’s no wonder that when they grow up, there are young women who are searching for their prince Charming. Then when they fall in love, they may believe they have found their prince.

That is why we are spending time during Woman Abuse Awareness Month to ask: Is your Prince Charming turning into Prince Harming? Check out wcswr.org/charming  for more information.

While we would all love to experience storybook endings that is not the real world–even the healthiest relationships take work.

We are not suggesting that all men turn into Prince Harming. But sadly some do. Too many. And they may not appear that way to you at first nor in how they present themselves to the world.

Nor are we suggesting that every time a sign of abuse is present that the relationship is abusive. But at the very least, if you experience a sign of abuse you should take it as a warning sign and be prepared to act to protect yourself and any children in your home. Some signs of abuse cross the line and you should call our crisis lines to get our immediate assistance.

Our goal this month is to ensure that young women who have grown up surrounded by images and messages about princesses know what the signs of abuse are. We want them to know that if they find themselves in an abusive relationship that they are not alone and that we can help. We also hope that we can inform young women how to be proactive in avoiding finding themselves in an abusive relationship.

Let’s talk about abuse, controlling behaviours and violence against women so that dreams of being a princess don’t prevent us from living as strong, independent women living in healthy relationships.