Languaging Valentines’ Day: The Prince Charming, The Knight in Shining Armour, and the Damsel in Distress

Why did Samson die and not Delilah? Why did Romeo die but so did Juliet, right?  Why did Jack die when he could fit on the door with Rose? Why was Edgar Allan Poe able to write poems for a dear Annabel Lee? What happened to Annabel? Did she write back?

These questions bugged me as a kid and since I was able to realise that an iceberg is actually a giant ice that makes oceans really cold.

image

The picture above gave me an idea of what to write about. While this piece is funny it is well, also somehow flawed.

So why do Princes battle dragons? Why do Princesses end up in a tower? Is Annabel Lee real? Is she an imaginary girlfriend? Is Annabel Lee even a girl? Because you know, I used to name my diary Edmund and the snoopers thought I was writing letters to a long distant guy and the search went on about who Edmund is and haha! You know what happened after that.

Growing up, I was exposed to superheroes being males and then there was Wonder Woman and then The Powerpuff girls and some others from Disney Channel or Cartoon Network. But when it comes to classic and traditional literature, it is always the guys: Prince Charming, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. And the girls aside from being pricked and sleeping for hundreds of years and being stuck in a tower, are also the evil queen who puts everyone’s life in peril.

The guys are the heroes, and us women, are represented as the evil queen, or the queen who died after giving birth or the damsel in distress. Nothing more significant. But how did this come about?

Our classic literature reflects how our society was: patriarchal and phallic centred. It was believed that a woman’s role is determined to be domestic only hence, exclusive. This means that if women would write,  they could only write about their experiences which included giving birth, menstrual periods, and housekeeping which cannot be understood by the general reader that of course, refers to men.

image

While men are more exposed to business, travel, and adventure, and women are confined within the homes, and while economic literatures are more interesting to counterparts that have not experienced anything related to that of the writer, a woman’s experience cannot be more relevant.

Imagine a man drinking coffee and reading this:

I crumple to contraction rotations for thirteen hours before the doctor finally gave the good news: that I am ready to deliver my baby while experiencing the feels of what seems like a hundred bones breaking at once for another hour or more.

What good would knowing about giving birth do to my business or excitement to travel?

Yes, that is more likely the reaction you would get.

Putting all this into equation, we can say that most writers in the classic era, if not all, are men. And in a society where more prolific characters are male, women don’t stand a chance especially when they don’t have more qualifications in terms of education and training. And since writers are men, our literatures are more biased to a man’s perspective. Given that, a woman superhero could  rarely exist. Because who can better write about women but women themselves, correct?

However, one interesting idea in the feminist discourse is that women are actually the driving force behind every man’s heroic adventure that includes  saving a screaming and ever distressed damsel. In most literature, the protagonist women do nothing but just exist.

Word per word that is a woman doing nothing to seduce or to lure a man. Her mere presence charmed him into liking her while she was just fetching  water from a well or singing while cleaning the garden. Everything starts with love at first sight.  Suddenly, he is Romeo, he is Jack, he is The Knight, The Protector. He is also the story teller thus, able to express his struggles, adventures, and how he came about but none represents her voice, her emotions, her perspectives.

image

While men are louder when it comes to their pursuits about love, women quietly have struggles too. You could read a man write I dashed to the castle, battled the dragons so I can save her but no olden literature would expose her world when she says, I made myself loyal to him, I patiently waited  by the castle window for when he would return and for me, no other man can equate to him.

Back in the day, men were more privileged to contribute and to allow literature to prosper and only after about a century that women were allowed to enter the picture. If circumstances had been different, I could be sure that Annabel Lee could have written back to Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Hathaway wouldn’t  just be Shakespeare’s wife but she could have been The Sonnet Queen.

And when Rose of Titanic died an old woman warm in her bed, she did die for love. Why? Because that was Jack’s dream for her not to die that night and she lived long enough to fulfill it.

You will die an old woman, Rose. Warm in her bed.

So, no women died for love? Nah, we just knew other ways of sacrifices. The kinds you don’t read from books nor see from the movies.

(Note: a more detailed piece under the same title is currently being written by myself. Alternate title: Languaging Olden Literature: The Prince Charming, The Knight in Shining Armour, and the Damsel in Distress)

Valentines: On Bludgeoned Sheep and Commercialization

Valentines is probably one of the times when some girls become uh, sad (?) for being single. And especially when most couples tend to flare up becoming all excited to profess their love for each other. And where does that leave the single people out there? In one corner being sad that they are alone

But for the religious romantics out there, you should know that while Valentines maybe a big deal to some, it used to be a pagan festival that involves bludgeoned sheep and women coated in blood.

image

Valentine Who?

If you would do research on Valentines, you would end up reading about three Catholic Bishops honoured on this day. While determining which story is the legit source, what is known is that back in the times of Emperor Claudius of Rome, he forbid marriage of young men because he found that single men made better soldiers than married ones. Deeming this unfair, a certain Valentine continued marrying couples in secret. Considering this a defiance, The Emperor ordered for his death.

Pagan What?

image

During the ancient times, a pagan festival called Lupercalia was being celebrated. As a belief, women used sheep blood to coat their body in order to elevate fertility. And believe me when I say that this festival is way too creepy! Go ahead, research this on your own but I already gave you a warning!

But if we have Tinder today, this festival could be the great grandfather of online dating sites! Eventually, single women put their names in a bowl where guys tend to pick the names of women they would meet. These meetings usually end up in marriage.

When Christians wanted to convert pagans to Christianity, the Church translated Lupercallia to a festivity in honour of Valentine. Aside that Valentine was known to defy the Emperor for love, February is also believed to be the mating season for birds.

One thing led to the other and tadah! Valentines Day as it is known today: flowers, teddy bears, and expensive dates. Aside that it is an illegitimate holiday, it is also a multi million commodity. Flowers, hotels, tours, dates, teddy bears and everyone’s favourite… Chocolates. And oh, don’t forget the cards too. That we can blame to a very loving husband that was Charles, Duke of Orleans who sent a love letter to his wife in 1415. This was during the Battle of Agincourt which happened sometime around February. So, this letter was not intended for Valentines per se but was just a thing of consequence.

image

During this day or month, businessmen profit on a very unique selling point: express love through lavish showcases or you just don’t love enough. Second from Christmas, Valentines records the highest rate for exchanging cards. We don’t need to go on details but today, as February comes, that is the time we tend to be bombarded with movies and gifts and everything else.

So being single or being a couple more so, shouldn’t be of a big deal at this time of the month. Other than that you can express love everyday, the whole Valentines shebang resulted in years and years of good marketing and advertising techniques. And should you know, naturally, animals have mating season, humans don’t and it is originally a pagan festival. That is a festival in honour of a fake god that who-knows-does-what. Again, images pertaining to this are scary.

Yeah, it could have evolved already and is no longer that, but please for legit intimacy, stay off Facebook. Because if your Valentines Date is all prepped for online consumption, then the intentions should be questioned, right?