Can You Be a Feminist and an Old-Fashioned Romantic?

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Can You Be a Feminist and an Old-Fashioned Romantic?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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nce upon a time, there lived a princess. For all her wit, beauty, and intellect, her life seemed incomplete, until Prince Charming came along and saved the day with a grand, romantic gesture of love to sweep her off her feet. You’re probably unsure which fairy tale I’m talking about, because all of them have the same pattern – it begins with once upon a time and ends with a happily ever after. Cinderella’s prince went from house to house, in an arduous search for the maiden whose foot would fit the glass slipper. Snow White’s prince rode through cruel forests to find her and give her the kiss of life.

These are the stories we were raised on as little girls, and as we grew up, pop culture reinforced the notion that romance equals theatrical displays of undying love. Bollywood’s idea of love meant a boy “pursuing” a girl, regardless of her wishes, and no Hollywood rom-com can end without a romantic date that’s probably grander than most weddings, capped off by a dreamy ending that even Cinderella, Snow White, and Prince Charming would kill for.

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