Let the sleeping beauties sleep
Have you read the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ fairy tale, or seen any of the half a dozen movies Disney has made on it, both animated and live action? You probably have. The story itself is pretty classic fairy-tale material: A princess is cursed and is awakened by true love’s kiss. In the movie ‘Maleficent’ the true love’s kiss is that of the supposedly evil fairy queen played by Angelina Jolie – a love that is quite maternal. Most stories though have the kiss from a handsome prince who gets besotted by the sleeping beauty’s irresistible looks and just has to kiss her.
That pretty much is what this article is focusing on. Is t really OK to go and kiss a sleeping beauty?
Let’s re-imagine this story in our everyday context. We will call our central character “Joy” for the heck of it. So, Joy got all decked up and happily went to a party. It is a great party. Let’s imagine that this is Joy’s best friend’s birthday party. Everyone Joy knows and loves is there. And some guests. Everyone is having a great time. There are glances exchanged, and little gestures of attraction and interest between different parties – not necessarily the same people one came into the party, to be sure. It is all well and good. No harm. No foul.
So, the party goes on into the wee hours, and most people have left. Joy is sleeping over. It is, after all, Joy’s best friend’s house and why not party till really late, get up the next morning, talk the party over as you clean up the mess, get some breakfast and have a chilled day? A few other are sleeping over as well.
Now, and here’s the crux of it: Our sleeping beauty, Joy, who zoned off and is lost to the world, wakes up in the dark hours before dawn, to the sensation of being kissed – and sees that it is some stranger, supposedly besotted with how beautiful Joy looks when sleeping. What do you think Joy might feel? Would Joy really feel the tingles of true love, or would Joy feel bugged and irritated, or more intensely, outraged and violated?
One would think that Joy is certainly likely to be really, really angry. And rightly so.
If the argument is that the ‘kind of kiss’ matters, and that the fairy tale just refers to a light brushing of lips, and it is not really so bad, and in fact, actually sweet, or that it is a cultural thing – that in ‘western countries’ it is quite normal to do that, one would still say – not amongst strangers. Perhaps with old friends, or family where this is custom. Not among strangers.
The point of talking about this is simply that these stories do more harm than good. We need better reference points for stories of love, coupling and relationships. Sleeping beauties might be a classic fairy tale – but kissing any random sleeping beauty? That is surely a no-no.
As written for and published at
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.