I grew up in the Disney era when little girls were taught that, if we were good little girls, someday, our prince would come and rescue us. All the movies of my childhood preached the idea that girls needed a handsome prince to give them a happily ever after. My grandmother used to tell me, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man” over and over again. All this preaching didn’t sink in, however. I was a rebel and the feminist movement was the female voice that was speaking directly to me. I had a long string of relationships with men who were not only, not rich by any means, but not ambitious either. I was the bread winner and the caretaker until I realized I wasn’t getting anything out of the situation, lost all respect for my partner and eventually moved on. I have become the man I want to marry and I never wanted children, so marriage has now become a moot point for me. I firmly believe that marriage is for people who are planning on raising children. But lately I’ve been thinking about the message that society has been sending women about love and marriage.
As I mentioned, the Disney movies of our youth told us to wait for that handsome prince to rescue us. From what? From getting a job, standing on our own two feet and realizing that we are strong enough to take care of ourselves?
I guess there’s a shortage of princes and rich men now because it seems lately the romantic movies are preaching to successful women that we should go for the sweet poor guy rather than the rich guy who’s married to his career. Movies like Sweet Home Alabama, Letters to Juliet, and Leap Year illustrate this message. Of course the message is wrapped in the delusion that it’s only the sweet poor guy who could ever REALLY love you. Don’t rich men have feelings too? Apparently, if we are successful women, we can’t have a successful man because that would throw the earth off it’s axis or something. The movies of today are also telling men that they are spending way too much time working, money is not what’s important and they should be home with their families more. Movies like Liar, Liar and Click illustrate this point.
My question is, if no one is working, who is earning the living that’s needed to raise a family? Kids are expensive. So then we get back to the women should marry rich message again, but that’s bad. If you do that then you’re a gold digger, which is the societal equivalent of being a whore, which is also bad. After all marriage is supposed to be about love, pure love, true love. Scientists have found that this thing we call love is simply a chemical reaction in the brain caused by hormones and neurotransmitters… romantic huh? Maybe my grandmother had it right all along… it is just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man, when you look at love in terms of hormones and neurotransmitters.
Let’s go back to the gold digger label for a moment. It used to be that women sought out a good provider to mate with so that their children would be well taken care of. These women weren’t called gold diggers, they were called smart. Now that so many women are a success in their own right, they are looked down upon for seeking out a good provider. In my opinion, gold diggers are getting a bad rap. In the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe has a great little speech where she defends herself against the accusation of being a gold digger. “Don’t you know, that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but, my goodness, doesn’t it help? And if you had a daughter, wouldn’t you rather she didn’t marry a poor man? You’d want her to have the most wonderful things in the world and to be very happy. Well, why is it wrong for me to want those things?”
So, which is it? Do we marry for love, marry for money, make our own money and marry for love, marry for money then force our hard working husband to spend less time working or just say to hell with it all and try to find happiness no matter what it looks like?