I remember being a little girl and looking forward to my first boyfriend or marrying my prince charming. Often times we fantasize about our romantic lives being fairytales and living happily ever after. We also create checklists of what we want in the “perfect partner.”
Mine went something like this
- Must open the door for me.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- Pays for the first date
- Treats me like a queen
Now, my expectations in relationships changed a bit as I got older but there were definitely things I looked for in a partner. Do you remember your checklist? Don’t lie! You and I both know we go into relationships with expectations. Why is this?
Maybe, it has something to do with the examples we were exposed to as children. Remember Cinderella or The Little Mermaid? Oh and don’t get me started on the Nicholas Sparks’ movies. We watch stuff like the notebook and then easily become disappointed when our partners don’t sweep us off our feet like in these movies.
There have been multiple studies trying to figure out if there is a direct correlation between romantic films and our expectations in relationships. Can you guess the answer? DING DING DING! Yes, we can thank Walt Disney himself for making us think the world owes us anything. Little girls grow up with prefabricated ideas of what their life should look like. Of course, these movies serve positive purposes such as self-love, self-worth and that woman and men deserve to be love. However do not get it twisted! These movies also can cause a lot of insecurities.
Girls slowly form the idea that they have to look a certain way in order for the “perfect” guy to love them or fall for them. For example, it was not until recently that Disney films created more diversity in what a princess looks like. Let’s not forget though that Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella all fell into the typical stereotype. The perfect body, pale skin, and beautiful teeth… sound familiar? It’s 2018, and the man that loves me is going to have to love my stretch marks, curly hair, and tan skin.
How about the sacrifices that women often times make in these films? The Little Mermaid literally gave up her voice to be with her prince. Anybody remember the film pretty woman? Yes, Vivian (Julian Roberts) is in search of her own happiness but in order to reach that happiness, she has to fulfill Edward’s needs in the movies. I know these examples sound exaggerated. And yes… they are. But, it’s a perfect example of media representation and what we are exposed to in our adolescence.
So, will I still hope for a happily ever after? Duh! Will I still have expectations in my relationship? Of course, because I deserve the best. But, now I understand that some expectations were prefabricated because of what society considers normal and needed. And now I know that my love story doesn’t have to be like Allie and Noah in the Notebook. It’ll be my own realistic version of a romantic fairytale.