Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was carrying grocery bags and heading home. Very heavy grocery bags which looked like they would rip open any moment leaving her to collect all the fruits and vegetables on the ground. Then, there was a young man, a good looking man in his twenties who seemed to be in a hurry and walked right ahead of her to open the door. She pauses, she smiles as he reaches to hold the door open, she makes her way through but he beats her to it and shuts the door in front of her face. The unsuspecting victim whams into the door, ouch! Her face starts to reflect the colors of utter shock which highlights into complete embarrassment and paints its way to pure disgust. She wonders, Oh my god that was bloody rude! Then she looks around slyly, she is embarrassed; did anyone see her run into the glass door? She struggles to pick up her groceries and turns around and pushes the door open. She then ponders – why did I expect him to open the door for me? Uh, how about plain humanity? Or perhaps she expected him to be a chivalrous gentleman and make her life a bit easier by holding the door open? She wasn’t asking for too much was she? But yet she stood there completely bewildered and a tad hurt. She drills, she analyses, she argues, she concludes. Finally, she goes up to her room, removes her laptop and begins to start writing…
Deep down, this is something known as the Cinderella Complex, which is defined by the urban dictionary as “when a woman (often submissive and needy) spends all her time searching for her prince charming to come rescue her; brainwashed by rosy romantic images and ideals”. This complex was first explored by Colette Dowling, who basically wrote the book “The Cinderella Complex, Woman’s hidden fear of Independence”. The title says it all, she talks about the fact how women hide what they truly feel – Dependent. They are secretly desperate and seeking a man to solely rely on him for their needs and wants (and also to maybe open doors for them!). This concept is derived from the Walt Disney fairytale of a poor little woman named Cinderella who is abused from dusk to dawn and made to work like a slave by her step mother and step sisters and whose life only drastically improves once her prince charming rescues her.
“Her father protects her in childhood, her husband protects her in youth, her son protects her in old age – a woman does not deserve independence” – W.M Theodore De Bary, Sources of Indian Tradition
BLAH! Did you read that paragraph right? Today’s modern generation women DON’T NEED RESCUE! Or do they? Question is – Is it all talk or do we mean it? Or do some of us mean it and some of us don’t, if some of us do, how do you distinguish between the ones who really need men to rescue them and those who really don’t? Why is no one talking about this? Why are woman silently suffering the hidden fear of independence? Is it because it is expected of us now? Ask a man what does he want in a woman, and he replies – “oh, I am looking for a woman who is career oriented, smart and who can take care of herself”. In other words – independent with a capital I. Nope, they aren’t looking for women who would rely on them for anything or expect anything out of them. So how do the women respond? –“I am exactly what you are looking for”. In other words, we are women who lack the need to depend and rely on men only because we are expected to display the attribute of complete independence. And because of this expectation built by men and even a few feminists in our era, we mould ourselves and restrain ourselves in behaving the way we normally would if such restrictions weren’t applied or if we felt that our vulnerability would be used against us.
If you ask me, I frankly prefer the modern day version of Cinderella, the one where Hilary duff works her way through high school, gets all the inheritance from her father, manages to score the football quarter back and hottest boy in school, gets into a prestigious program in Princeton University and then runs off to college into an independent free world all on her own. But hey then again – how do u know if I really mean it?