We were told this by every movie, TV show, novel, comic book, video game and song we encountered. When the Karate Kid wins the tournament, his prize is a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity. Marty McFly gets his dream girl, John McClane gets his ex-wife back, Keanu "Speed" Reeves gets Sandra Bullock, Shia LaBeouf gets Megan Fox in Transformers, Iron Man gets Pepper Potts, the hero in Avatar gets the hottest Na'vi, Shrek gets Fiona . . . and so on. . . . From birth we're taught that we're owed a beautiful girl. We all think of ourselves as the hero of our own story, and we all (whether we admit it or not) think we're heroes for just getting through our day.In the last few decades we (as a society) have spent a lot of time talking about how stories affect girls and women. I've heard and said ad nauseum that, for example, Disney's princesses aren't the best role models for girls. After all, waiting for a handsome prince to come rescue you isn't an effective plan of action. But for the most part, we only pay lip service to the ways these stories affect boys and men: We write three pages on how out-of-proportion Barbie is, and then tack on, "And guys shouldn't feel they have to look like G.I. Joe either."
Our laws and government consider women and men to be equal members of society but - in light of the recent spate of insulting and patronizing moves against women in both the media and legislative bodies around the country - it looks like we're still telling a lot of the same old stories.