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Be your own Prince Charming

As a fan of fantasy novels, anything from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to Pratchett’s Discworld, it is interesting to see the difference in the portrayal of female roles over time. Lord of the Rings had the love interest of the future king (played by Liv Tyler in the film), although very beautiful and powerful, still a romantic lead to the main character.

Fast forward a few decades and you have Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax a powerful cantankerous witch who was firmly single. That leads me on to the children’s classics like Beauty and the Beast; Rapunzel; Snow White and the seven dwarfs. All of whom required rescuing by a handsome prince.

When reading any of these books to my four year old, I feel compelled to tell her that she need not be rescued by a prince to be happy and successful. She probably thinks I am slightly mad for telling her this, but I hope I am more speaking to her subconscious and this knowledge will be absorbed and taken for granted one day. Are we though teaching our girls that they do require a male to feel complete; empowered and happy? Certainly these classics really do reinforce the traditional gender roles. 

I eagerly await the seventh series of a Game of thrones, and at least there we do have a strong female lead in Daenerys Targaryen, protector of the realm but she is protected by two male dragons. So maybe a slight twist on the traditional gender roles but still a woman who needs to be protected…




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