I know, the song doesn't match the blog title...but it's the closest match I could find, and it may be apropos after all.
I can't speak for other cultures, or even for the male half of this one, but little girls in this country are raised to believe in a myth that (I believe) can be devastating - the myth of Prince Charming.
We are given frilly little dresses and shiny shoes and taught to dress up and pretend.
We are taught that our very own Prince Charming will one day sweep us off our feet, best any dragons, ogres, or sorceresses we face, and give us our happily ever after.
If we aren't popular, it's okay - Prince Charming will be along and all will be well.
If we are the girl in the corner, the one in the shadows, the one who is not invited to dances or parties, the one who is awkward or not as pretty as the others, the overlooked one, the shy one, the fat one, the gawky one, the tomboy, the one the boys walk past to get to her friend or the girl beside/behind her, it's okay - Prince Charming will see us and in his eyes we will be beautiful, wonderful, perfect.
So we wait for him. We sit in our corners, watch from a distance as others laugh and love, smile when the man we were interested in walks past us to get to another, try not to show our hurt when he doesn't even see us there, and we cling to the idea that our very own Prince Charming will soon be along and we'll get our day in the sun.
What we aren't taught is that we don't need Prince Charming to rescue us and the idea of happily ever after is a fairy tale, nothing more. Don't get me wrong - I believe that we can be happy in our lives, but forever? In that storied kind of way? No...no I don't.
We also aren't taught that sometimes Prince Charming doesn't come along...or that he, too, will pass us over...or that he's gay. We aren't taught that love comes along every day, in many ways...aren't taught how to recognize and honor it. We don't know what to do when we get older and older and our own Prince Charming is nowhere to be seen...so we sit and wait to be rescued and flounder in our lives and wonder what's wrong with us...why does everyone else have what we long for...when will we be seen?
I will not be teaching Sprout about Prince Charming. I will, instead, teach her that princesses (and Sprouts) can damn well rescue themselves. I will (I hope) raise her not to depend on some mythical One True Love, but rather to take joy and pleasure in even the smallest loves. I hope she will learn that she is visible, even if she's hiding in the shadows, and that it's okay to be seen and be different, to be her wonderful self without worrying about whether or not someone - male or female - comes along to notice her. I hope that she will believe that she doesn't have to have a partner, lover, husband, or wife to be fulfilled, that as long as she is living the life she loves, society's definition of happiness is moot.
If I can teach her those things, maybe I will come to believe them myself - but as for Prince Charming...I'm done believing in/hoping for him; I love and most of the time even manage to believe that I am loved, and that's more than enough for me.