Have you heard about the #GiveElsaAGirlfriend social media campaign? By using this hashtag, fans are hoping to encourage Disney to make Queen Elsa a lesbian in Frozen 2. I would fully support this outcome and would be glad to explain to my kids why Elsa found true love in another princess rather than a prince.
Yet as I'm writing my book about divorce, I've been asked by an editor whether my ultimate goal is to remarry and live happily ever after with my prince. She thought it might be old fashioned for a seasoned divorcee like me to believe in fairy tale endings after the painful demise of my marriage.
Yeah, I suddenly thought. That's right! Shouldn't I want to be an independent woman? Shouldn't my goal be to find happiness and fulfillment beyond merely finding a second husband? Why is the basis of my whole book -- and every fairy tale for that matter -- to find a partner to love and rely on and live with and marry? Why is marriage the be-all-and-end-all? Why is wearing a ring a symbol of how valued or loved I am?
Life is hard. There are no fairy tale endings. Just a series of bumps you navigate on the way to realizing that true happiness is really just getting to finish a cup of coffee in the morning before it gets cold and watching the news in the evening without interruption. Happiness is watching your kids play the iPad nicely together and eating dinner together without anyone complaining they don't like what you've made.
So what if every Disney movie I ever watched has a happy ending? Who cares if Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Snow White find their prince, if Pocahontas marries John Smith and Beauty marries the Beast? Even Lady finds her Tramp (OK, maybe not the best example) but why should I care?
If the point of this new #GiveElsaAGirlfriend campaign is to advance feminism, would a Frozen 2 featuring a gay princess be that much different than all the other movies even if Elsa finds happiness in a princess instead of a prince? What's wrong with being a fiercely independent princess who lives alone? What's wrong with finding fulfillment in ruling a vast country such as Arendelle by herself?
I'm going to buck the trend. Even the gay trend. I've decided to edit out the "poor-single-me" references in my book and focus on being proud to not need a partner to make my life fulfilling. I'm going to focus on my kids and my friends and my writing and finishing my MFA. I'm going to focus on finding pleasure in the simple act of riding a bike on a nice day.
But the nights are kind of lonely. And I would sort of like my boyfriend to be there when my kids say something funny so we can chuckle about it later. It would be nice to have someone to drink coffee with in the morning and watch the evening news. Lying in bed by myself, night after night, even after I've edited my manuscript, I got to thinking.
Maybe Lady had the right idea. Maybe Ariel's sacrifices were worthwhile. And maybe Elsa doesn't want to live in a castle by herself because it's more fun to have a partner. Damn it. I've been totally brainwashed by Disney. I want to get married. I want to live with my partner. And not because I need him or hate being alone, but because I'm making a conscious choice.
Because I found someone to enjoy the simple pleasures with. Not because marriage is a status symbol. Not because I'm happy to accept anyone who will put up with me writing about them from time to time. Not because I expect every day to be perfect or fun or romantic. Because I want to handle life's ups and downs with the right special somebody.
I know the divorce rate of second marriages is even higher than first marriages. I know there's no such thing as a fairy tale, but maybe I want to write my own ending with my own idea of what makes me happy.
Is it such an old fashioned view to want a partner? To have found my match? To have a realistic vision of what life would be like even knowing we will have to face unforeseen challenges? It wouldn't look like Arendelle, necessarily, or feature fairy godmothers, birds that chirp merrily at my window or mice who can hem my Lululemons for me.
#IAmAModernWoman and #IStillWantToGetMarried. How's that for a social media campaign?
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