The Top Five Children’s stories that shaped our dating values.

In an effort to continue my out of the box thinking I am proud to write this blog. I have never accepted the belief that our behaviors when it comes to the people we choose to date are natural and organic. Wanting a man with money and a beautiful woman are not natural to the human species. Pimping and prostitution are not the oldest human professions like people like to say. I have always understood that if these values were humanly natural then they would be found equally throughout time and the cultures of the world. Since they are not I have tried to answer the question of where do they come from. I have seen the roots of these desires in many different places. Women offering their sex in exchange for advancement in life and men objectifying women are beliefs I can trace back to the books we read as children.
While volunteering at my son’s elementary school for a book fair I found myself giving out books that spread these shallow dating values. It was then that I decided to write this blog and share my thoughts on these influential stories. In my Stop the GAME college tour I use Sleeping Beauty and the concept of a Knight in Shining Armor as references but there are more than just these stories that has affected our thinking.
Children’s stories or Fairy Tales all started around the same time and have a few writers. The main authors are Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the brothers from Germany , The Brothers Grimm and French author Charles Perrault who was the first of the great fairy tale authors. Charles Perrault was writing in France in the 18th Century and he wrote such stories as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast. All of these stories were in a book he published in 1697 which was titled Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals with the subtitle Tales of Mother Goose. Just in the title of his book you can see the intention of these stories to influence our morals and behavior. When I mention Sleeping Beauty sometimes people laugh but I don’t think you will laugh after to read my thoughts on these stories.
Cinderella or “Cinderella and The Little Glass Slipper” (French: Cendrillon ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, German: Aschenputtel) is a story about the power of physical appearance to conquer class separation and oppression. In the story Cinderella discovers the power of looks. Given a high powered make over by her fairy godmother she is cleaned up for a royal party. Cinderella once HOT just has to smile and be friendly and she will be able to become a Princess and raise up from the lower class. It wasn’t her going off to college or even being the best housekeeper it was her magically given looks that was the key ingredient. Cinderella was in a house full of other women who want to snag the rich prince it only reinforces the power of looks when she snags the prince. Remember this was one the stories published in 1697 by Charles Perrault.
Impact. This story is basically about a gold digger. Granted she was on her first day of gold digging but never the less she succeeded. This story inspires little girls to look better than they normally would to catch a man who is so rich he can upgrade their lifestyle.

Sleeping Beauty. (French: La Belle au bois dormant, “The Beauty in the sleeping wood”) by Charles Perrault. Sleeping Beauty and the very similar story Little Briar Rose (German: Dornröschen) by the Brothers Grimm are classic fairytales involving a beautiful princess, some form of magic and a handsome prince. In this story you have a beautiful girl who is sleeping and when she is found by a rich prince wearing shining armor she is whisked away to live happily ever after in his kingdom. The prince knows nothing about this sleeping woman he only sees her physical appearance. However that is all it takes for him to wed her and make her the mother of his children. Sleeping Beauty was first published by Charles Perrault in 1697.
Impact. This story is about the stupidest of these children stories of the all. I blame this story for single handedly messing up the American dating process by lowering the selection criteria. The biggest problem we have in the world of dating is people select people to date based on shallow values and don’t consider the character of the person they like. The Sleeping Beauty story has no dating process. He finds her and marries her. She wakes up and because he is rich she marries him. It is because these simple values that makes the movie Shrek so funny. Shrek throws a monkey wrench into the story by making the prince and ogre and the sleeping princess an ogre as well.

The Ugly Duckling. (Danish: Den grimme ælling) is a children’s story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. This story is about brown bird born into a community of ducks who is deemed unattractive and excluded from their activities because of his appearance (this would be considered bullying now-a-days). Labeled the Ugly Duck he become depressed and feels worthless. The story ends when the “ugly duckling” goes through a puberty type phase and turns white. After this process he realizes he is not a duck but another bird called a swan. Swans are considered the most beautiful birds of all. “The Ugly Duckling” was first published in November of 1843 with three other tales by Andersen in Copenhagen, Denmark. The story was well received right from the beginning.
Impact. This story speaks to the enormous value we place on physical appearance. The Ugly Ducking speaks to so many issues. I use it to illustrate racial confusion of African Americans but it is has been used to illustrate the pressures of gender confusion. In all of its uses The Ugly Duckling speaks to self esteem and self worth two qualities for healthy dating. A strong sense of self worth is so important to the formation of a healthy relationship that I do not advice people to date without one. I even consider the word ugly to be one of the most dangerous words and concepts to people. I have stopped using the word after I stopped learning how bad it affected people. Thinking you are unattractive makes people more likely to be in an abusive or unfulfilling relationship. On the flip side when the bird realizes that he is a Swan and beautiful he becomes happy as opposed to asking what is beauty anyway? In the real world its easy to see that beauty comes in a variety of different ways. There are so many variations of human appearance its safer to say not attractive to me instead of saying ugly.

The Frog Prince or, Iron Henry“ (German: Der Froschkönig oder der eiserne Heinrich, literally ”The Frog King or the Iron Heinrich“) is a children’s story that there are a lot of versions of however the Brothers Grimm have the most recognized version. The story tells of a spoiled princess who befriends a frog (possibly meeting him after dropping a gold ball into his pond). After befriending the frog it turns into a handsome prince. Now in the modern versions the transformation is triggered by the princess kissing the frog. In the original Grimm version of the story the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust. A popular phrase related to this story is, ”You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince."

Impact. This story also places a lot on emphases on appearance because the frog is looked at as undesirable and ugly. If the frog was just an animal then the story wouldn’t work because they could remain friends and they help each other find mates. This story reinforces physical appearance in the dating selection because even after the princess liked the frog he was not good enough until he looked good.

Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a children’s story which has a few similar versions. The first version was published by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins in 1740. While the best-known written version was in an abridgement of her work published in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, in Magasin des enfants, ou dialogues entre une sage gouvernante et plusieurs de ses élèves. Both versions were in French and a year later an English translation appeared in 1757. This is a long story so I will try to be as brief as I can. In this story a girl is told about a prince who wishes to meet her by her father. When she goes to live with him she only finds an ugly man, the Beast. The Beast waits on her hand a foot and asks her to marry him. She thinks that he is holding the prince captive and refuses to marry him. After living with him at the palace for a few weeks she leaves to go home and when she learns the Beast is dying she returns and admits she loves him and doesn’t want him to die. The Beast turns into a handsome prince and tells her he was punished by a witch to be ugly. Impact. This story pulls from all of the other children’s stories themes. This story has gold digging values, priority on appearance and a materialistic reward. First the father does not tell her that the man who helped him was not attractive because he knows his daughter is hung up on appearance. Then the daughter only goes to the palace because the man is rich and nice, mostly because he’s rich. When she gets to the palace she refuses to marry the Beast only because of his appearance. She waits for weeks to meet this prince. Finally, the Beast who is just an unattractive person has so little self worth that he feels he has to trick a woman into marring him. I know people think this is a happy story but to me it is very sad.

In the writers defense I don’t think they meant to create gold diggers, players and pick up artists. What I think happened is as times and society changed the message in these stories were viewed differently. I know there are many different ways children can interpret these stories in fact public school lesson plans reinforce the wholesome message of these stories. The messages I have taken from these stories is really a subliminal or indirect message. No matter whether the messages are subliminal or not they can still be interpreted the way I have interpreted it and that makes them part of our dating problems. These stories are innocent but Dating Predators find their inspiration from them. Dating Predators are like most people, they want the prize the easiest way they can get it. In the real world there is no magic making people unattractive and people don’t turn into another species of humans that is beautiful. In the real world people who don’t build self esteem natural compensate with cosmetic surgery and cars they can’t afford. If the Beast were a real person even after the daughter realized she liked him he still didn’t like himself and would need to a nose job or something. In the real world gold diggers learn how to seduce rich men instead of being lucky like Cinderella. In the real world Pick up Artists don’t go out like the Beast they improve themselves. And when the clean themselves up into a handsome stud they seek revenge on all of the beautiful women who diss them in high school. In the real world players who achieve financial success believe they have buy a woman. This grows into the belief that they can have as many women as they can buy gifts for. This is the same way they feel about any of their other material possessions like cars and houses. In the real world the percentage of women who get breast enlargements because of the loss of one breast or another medical reason is minute compared to the percentage of women who get bigger bobs to improve their looks they aren’t waiting for a magical fairy god mother.
Why do we feel our women have to look like some standard collection of body parts to find a man? Why do we feel our men have to have a lot of money to have an attractive woman? And why is physical appearance so important? I don’t know for sure but I am sure children’s stories are part of the reason.

Thanks for reading Yo Jeff out. Comments please post and question please email