Friday, March 25, 2011

Cinderella and the Modern Single Girl

Having become single for over a year now I have had the opportunity to hang out with single people more than before. While I have met lots of incredible and inspiring women during the past year, I
have also seen many who are strongly obsessed with one goal, that of not being single. Unfortunately,
many women are under the impression that their lives are not complete without a guy in it. In fact, my observation has been that women in our society find it hard to fit in when they are not married, and the media and pop culture do not help either.

Ever since we are born we are bombarded with the notion that we are weak people in need of being rescued. If it were in my power I would ban fairy tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid. Think about it. Why couldn't Cinderella tell her cruel step mom to go to hell, leave her home and start a new life elsewhere? Why was her only chance of happiness in the hands of a prince who might or might not have shown up? What did Sleeping Beauty do other than sleep and wait?! At least the little mermaid was a bit more adventurous and wanted to leave the sea. But even her only salvation was to make the prince fall in love with her. I wonder, would we have grown up to have different desires, had we been brought up with stories of women warries, adventurers and merchants?

Now, I am not an anthropologist and I agree that there are fundamental evolutionary differences between men and women and their roles and desires. I am not claiming to be better than anyone else either. But since I am a newcomer to the single girls world, I have the advantage of looking at it with a fresh set of eyes and depending on the situation I find myself wanting to say, “Do something about it, and stop whining” or “Hey, but there is so much more to life”. Allow me to explain.

I hear this complaint a lot, “There are no good guys out there. I am busy with my job and I don't have time to go to out to bars. Even when I do, all I see are guys who have no intention of starting a real relationship.” I ask, “Have you tried anything else? Like online dating?” I get two responses. Either “No, I hate that” or, “Yeah, I went to two dates but they were horrible. I realized you can't meet the right person through the Internet and I stopped.” Now, think about these responses. If someone gave you these answers in any scenario other than dating, what would you think? Let's take a business example:

Business owner: “I need to buy component X”
Consultant: “Have you spoken to its vendors?”
Business owner: “No, I hate doing that.” OR “Yes but the two vendors I called were out of stock so I concluded it can't be sourced.”

Honestly, if you really wanted something, why wouldn't you go after it? I mean, really after it. Why wouldn't you make profiles on every single dating website out there? I am sure one can quickly learn what photos to include, what language to use, how to filter the responses, etc. and be successful at it. Why not take a class on flirtation or the art of seduction? Why not read books on the topic? I am serious. You want something, you go for it. Why should women be Cinderellas hidden in the kitchen waiting for the prince charming to discover them?

Now on to my second response of “Hey, but there is so much more to life”. Yes, it is great to have life partners but I would like to believe that each of us human beings (regardless of our gender) has enormous potential for individual growth and happiness. To think that a person's happiness depends on finding another person, is completely illogical to me and suggests that human beings are not complete on their own. Have you noticed how big, mysterious, and beautiful this universe is?

A girlfriend recently told me she did not take a job offer in another country because she thought the chances of meeting the right man were much slimmer over there! I was speechless. Why would anyone say no to an exciting life opportunity because of that? Why should a human being sacrifice the valuable seconds of her life not enjoying and living, but waiting? Yes, women are nurturers by nature and have a ticking biological clock too, but there is so much more to us -and so much more to life- than that. There has got to be. If not, there is something seriously wrong with the world.

I believe our focus should be on getting to know ourselves, our strengths, our passions, and our gifts to this world. We should be living our lives to the fullest because we are responsible for realizing our true potentials. Let's face it. We only live once. As women we need to stop waiting for prince charming and take responsibility for our own wholesomeness and happiness. No matter what, we have got to be our own person and true to ourselves. The fact is, we do not really need a prince in a shining armor. It is time to write new stories for our children.

15 comments:

  1. Having read the first few lines, I felt an attack on men coming and was beginning to feel defensive. Not so! Well written and true, even from a male point of view :)

    ~TM

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  2. Azizam, This blog is so rich and filled with wisdom. You as always have taken a new approach in life and I fully support your thoughts as I am a different version of you ;-) (Narcissism rules! )
    I can only say that having lived adventures myself and breaking many rules and boundaries, I can only say that human being is created to love and be loved and that is what most of us are seeking at a spritual level.
    Unfortunately, the society conditions us on what love is and how to love; however; true love should come naturally and that may be different for each and every person. One person finds it in a guy,gal another in friendship, one in pets or being close tonature etc… so there is no umbrella statement in how to love and find peace in it. It is very personal. So, yes it is wrong to live your life to find a partner when life is full of new things to explore.
    Having said that, there is one reason behind this society phenomena of looking for an opposite sex partner, simply a nature way of pushing human survival by regenerating ourselves,mate and having kids. That is why sexual desire exists without training. After all we are animals, only we call sex in a committed relationship, love and partnership! ;-) when the truth behind is the biological clock ticking to mate.

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  3. @Tissa, thanks. Feel free to share the link. I hope to get more discussions going.
    @Sah, thanks for the encouragement. Yes the desire to mate and procreate is natural. My frustration is with the passivity that women are encouraged to resort to and the unfortunate impairment of valuable human potential and rich experiences that result from being in waiting mode.

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  4. I have to express strong disagreement regarding Cinderella banning. :)

    The underlying message of Cinderella story is very positive; even the most unprivileged member of society should be given chance to reach the top. Relationship will get into trouble if Cinderella or prince believes that partner is the solution for all problems. Otherwise, it will enrich their lives.

    You suggested that girls should read stories about female adventurers and merchants only. It would probably encourage more women to seek solutions through professional success and wealth creation. However, carrier setbacks are inevitable and it is unlikely that world of business provides all answers. Relying on carrier only, would probably lead to disappointing outcome.

    Healthy relationship is one, and for majority the most important, part of more complete and fulfilling life. Professional development is another, and there are many more aspects available. Increasing number of options helps solving problems. On the other hand, reducing number of choices puts more stress on one segment of life.

    Hence, I think Cinderella ban is a very bad idea.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. @Elvis, thanks for your comment. Please see my responses bellow:
    "You suggested that girls should read stories about female adventurers and merchants only."
    - No. I did not suggest they should ONLY read such stories.
    " Relying on carrier only, would probably lead to disappointing outcome"
    - I am guessing you mean "career" and not carrier. Again, I never suggested women need to focus on career only or that career brings happiness.
    "Healthy relationship is one, and for majority the most important, part of more complete and fulfilling life."
    - Sure. But Cinderella is not a relationship story. There is almost nothing in the story that talks about a relationship between the prince and Cinderella. Cinderella is a salvation story. It is the story of a women being rescued from the cruel step mom by a man.
    I think you may have misunderstood the main point of the article. I never said that relationships are not important or that woman should focus on their career alone.

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  7. Maryam joon

    As the granddaughter of a a well known Sufi and mystic who was exposed to "new thoughts" since I was born, I have to agree with Sah's "love theory".

    As human beings we are looking for "love". Digesting this fact was very difficult for me for many years, because I was this highly educated, kiss-ass woman who pretended to not need anyone. I also made the transition from "non-single" to single years ago and again back to non-single. No matter how much money you make, how large your house is and how successful you are, there is a void inside which you can not get rid of it. I saw the movie "The Mystery of Love" from PBS (on Netflix online) about 6 months ago which was a really eye opener. At the very end of the movie "Dr Betty Sue Flowers" concluded the movie by saying:

    “Love is an instinct because it pulls us into life. Love is a cultural imperative, because, as the poet Auden said, ‘We must love one another or die.’ Love is our highest destiny, so we’re always on a quest for it. There is nothing in life that love doesn’t touch, that love doesn’t expand, and that love isn’t at the root of. It’s all love. And we don’t know it, mostly."

    ..... and yes, we don't know it mostly.....

    I also believe that there is a "law of attraction" in life....Based on the vibration that we give to universe, we will attract things events etc to our lives.

    When we are ready for things to happen in our lives, then things will happen. The right mate will appear in our life, the right contract will be signed, the right product will be launched, the right business partner will show up. But we need to be in tune with the right vibration and I have to admit that it is very difficult to be in tune.

    If we are not ready, if we are full of resentment and negativity, then going to the bars or having a dating profile online and being proactive will not bring the right mate for us. There is much more into life than proactively pursuing something.

    Hafez said:

    سالها دل طلب جام جم از ما می کرد
    وآنچه خود داشت ز بیگانه تمنا می کرد
    گوهری کز صدف کون و مکان بیرون بود
    طلب از گمشدگان لب دریا می کرد
    مشکل خویش بر پیر مغان بردم دوش
    کو به تایید نظر حل معما می کرد
    دیدمش خرم و خندان قدح باده به دست
    و اندر آن آینه صد گونه تماشا می کرد
    گفتم این جام جهان بین به تو کی داد حکیم
    گفت آن روز که این گنبد مینا می کرد
    گفت آن یار کزو گشت سر دار بلند
    جرمش آن بود که اسرار هویدا می کرد
    (بیدلی در همه احوال خدا با او بود
    او نمی دیدش و از دور خدایا می کرد)
    فیض روح القدس ار باز مدد فرماید
    دیگران هم بکنند آنچه مسیحا می کرد
    گفتمش سلسله زلف بتان از پی چیست
    گفت حافظ گله ای از دل شیدا می کرد

    We all have the jameh-jam inside. We are made in God image. We can all do what Jesus did... and yes, Mansour Halaj (An yar kazo gasht sareh daar boland)was hung because he said that we were God and we had all the powers inside.

    My point is that unless we are in tune with the universe we can not attract happiness, success, wealth or the right mate. But if we are in tune, then everything is possible.

    Women can be proactive and go to the bars and date 7 men per week and have online profiles and at the end if they are not in tune with the right vibration, they will attract a jerk or an unfit person and their life will be wasted.

    ... and yes, all of us, man or woman, married or unmarried are looking for love. Love is our highest destiny and we are always on a quest for it....Love is at the root of everything and unfortunately we don't know it mostly....

    ...and none of these are new concepts at least for Persians. Rumi talked about "law of attraction" and "love being our highest destiny" hundreds of years ago.

    ... and I agree with you on the Cinderella story. No one can rescue us... It is all inside... We are the only one who can rescue ourselves.

    Sending you loads of love and positive energy.

    Your childhood friend

    Zahra M.

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  8. Cinderella was not rescued by prince. She didn't wait at home for price to come and rescue her. Cinderella went to the ball and competed against heavy competition, stepsisters included. It was Cinderella who earned top position in the country despite low odds.

    The story teaches young girls that they can reach the highest positions if they believe and if they compete.

    In my opinion Cinderella is a very positive example for young girls.

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  9. I agree with you and I am so glad to see that this is your attitude coming out of a marriage. I have struggled to get the message across to single friends especially the newly single.

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  10. @Zahra Can't say I disagree with anything that you have written. In fact I think we are in agreement more than you imagine. My blog suggests that if finding a mate is important to one, one needs to take action. I suggested educating oneself about the topic by reading books or taking classes. Both of those cover learning the "law of attraction". Just pick up any book on dating or finding love and you will see it covered. Furthermore, nowhere in my article did I suggest that love is not important. My points were: self discovery is important, there is no night in a shining armor who is about to come to rescue, and every person is responsible for their happiness regardless of having or not having a mate.

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  11. Jeeezzzz.... Just realized that I mis-typed Kick-ass and it came out as "Kiss ass" LOL.... There is no edit button either...
    Can't agree more with your comment....

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  12. Hi I am back. I agree with Maryam that self discovery is the key and reducing women to be objects seeking partners to enrich their lives is wrong. I would not teach my dautgher to live her life seeking fro man. I think love is just confused with sexual desires. Men are OK with sleeping around and women wanys romance and commitment ,s o they call it love. True love is unconditional. I personally found it in motherhood;however; the drawback of my mlove it si all about giving and not so much expecting to get. So, it consumes me. My journey trying various things in life is, just be who you wnat to be and don't precondition yourself to what society dictates. Society for sure puts pressures on girls to be pretty, sexy, out there looking for aprince. Have you ever heard a fairly tale that the girl find love and comfort in relationship with a loser... (may be Shrek)

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  13. Maryam jaan,

    I just came across your post. I think fairy tales are important parts of childhood. Regardless of the outcome (finding the prince charming for instance) the message is to have a dream for a happier life and to know that if you try hard enough you will get there.

    I think finding the right mate is something kids can better relate to than running a successful business. Both of which in my opinion are fulfilling.

    I think they should come up with fairy tales for grown-ups as we get too engaged in our lives that we often forget to dream on!

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  14. Thanks for your comment Bita. Yes, I agree that dreams are important. Not sure how much kids really relate to finding a mate though. My 3.5 year old niece certainly doesn't understand that. But anyways, yes I agree that dreams are important and that we should come up with fairy tales for grown ups too. I read a quote the other day that I liked, "We don't lose our dreams because we grow up. We grow up because of losing our dreams". Can't remember whose quote it is.

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  15. Nice quote! I certainly had more dreams when I was younger and I think as some came true I simply lost the desire to dream more.

    I hope to one day regain that desire by the help of my best coaches: my kids!

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