We've all grown up with fairytales... And its no surprise that different people take away different learnings from these timeless stories. Let me talk about how these influence women we call "strong".
Who are these strong women? How do you define them? How do I define them?
For me, these are women who are courageous, passionate and most importantly not bound by gender defined roles. I've grown up with these women around me. Of every shape, age, and size. I've never known any other kind. So I grew up believing that this was the way to be. And I chose to be around people who resonated the same beliefs.
Now the thing about strong women and fairytales is that we are taught to Not be the Damsels in distress. We do not identify with those characters because we don't know their motivations. The whole thing about feminism and such. "You do not need someone else to come save & protect you...". That's all good, right?
But what happens when we start identifying with the Saviour Knight? Because the world around us is inundated with stories. And you can't have a good story without a hero and a villain. Mostly these are gender specific roles. The good thing about my kind of women is that we're not differentiating by gender. The problem is that we're still identifying with fictitious expectations.
The Saviour Knight is a powerful, resourceful, intelligent persona. Out to save the world. And when we become that, it defines the way we deal with our relationships. With our lovers, husbands, parents, children. Why else would strong women hold on to weak relationships if not for the belief that they alone can save the other person in that dyad? We're so used to being called on for help that it becomes an involuntary behaviour. We now want to give it even when its not asked for.
We want to save our men, our friends, our children because lets face it, who else can? Right? And just like in fairytales, we believe we would be the ones who finally save them from themselves, from the big bad world that hurt them in the first place. We would be the ones to make them see the light of day. Lets call BS on that, ya?
Does this mean we stop helping and supporting our significant others? Absolutely not. We're not primed to be that way anyway. But there's a difference between being supportive and being reckless. The Saviour Knight is reckless. Risking their own well-being in order to fulfil a societal expectation... That can't ever be a good thing.
Just as we vehemently reject the Distressed Damsel role, we need to be equally wary of the Saviour Knight complex. You can't save everyone. You don't have to. If there's anyone who needs a savin', its you.
It is difficult to disengage yourself from these archetypes that are so deeply engrained in our collective unconscious. But we've done that for traditionally defined gender roles already. So this isn't impossible either...