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My word: Another look at the template

Readers Lounge By Christine Koech

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On this date exactly a year ago, the online platform of the British newspaper The Independent (www.independent.co.uk) published an article by Olivia Petter, one of its contributors.

In the article, “Five Reasons to Stop Reading Your Children Fairytales Now,” Petter argues that fairytales are full of “prejudicial and archaic stereotypes.” One of the stereotypes Petter mentions is “marriage is the ultimate reward.” She argues that this script is misplaced in a culture “where we’re getting hitched later than ever before and many choose never to marry at all.”

When I came across this article, I reviewed in my mind all the ways that popular culture has influenced modern society’s view of love and marriage. I remembered one influence that is being further perpetuated by social media – that the grass always seems to be greener on the other side.

So what magic is employed by the “happy” couples we see on social media? Those rosy relationships we read about in glossy magazines. You know, the ones that form the basis of books on “successful marriages”?

I’ve come to conclude that there really is no magic because magic only exists in fairy tales. Behind the smiles and well-manicured poses are real people who live in real relationships.

The truth is that the love story template has, for so long, concentrated on only one side of the story. Few people tell the story from the other side of “happily ever after” and the result has been lots of people getting into relationships and wondering why they feel short-changed.

So unless we strike a balance in how we portray life, the grass will continue to be greener on the other side or, like the Romans said, the harvest will always seem to be more fruitful in the other man’s field.

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Have a real weekend.

 

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