Side note: classic fairy tales before they were Hollywood-ized and Disney-fied had a lot of heroines saving their families and/or themselves. If they didn't die. They were pretty gruesome tales.
I have a complex of sorts about this kind of thing. I think. In the throes of my depression in high school, I was convinced that the only thing that could relieve me of the mental pain was an outsider. In time, I taught myself that I was the only person I could count on to rescue me. It's now really hard for me to accept or ask for help from others, though I still revert to wanting other people to "save me" in dark times. I'm kind of a whiny, but capable, damsel.
Not so interested in being the damsel anymore, but that's probable due to bad experiences with men who can only function in the role of knight, I.e. I'm not much good to them self-sufficient. Unhealthy dynamic right there, so I have learned to never need money from someone if I can help it - I have my own job and can pay my own bills. Well, now I am married and the primary breadwinner and yeah - it would be nice to have some of that pressure lifted, since I still do most domestic kthings and organizing what the kiddos need for school and other activities. My hubby has definitely taken a lot of that pressure off me, but it would nice to have someone else putting as much forward financially as I do.
I think what I take exception to is the whole damsel/knight/saved lingo. If there is a heavy piece of furniture that needs moving, it's awesome to have the man of the house get in there and do it. But I don't need or want saving -what floats my boat is having a full partner in life and all of the good and bad life throws you.
ETA that the damsel lingo is less relevant now that women can and often do make more than their spouses. We need less saving but I don't think the desire to have someone come and 'save' the day ever goes away, regardless of whether you are a helpless maiden dependent on men for everything or a strong, independent woman who wants to even out the workload. Or get a heavy box lifted :)
I guess it's a common theme in older games (Mario games, Legend of Zelda, etc), but not so much in new ones. Well, unless you count Cortana (the "female" AI in Halo that you have to rescue from a Covenant ship in Halo 3). I'll go out on a potentially flame-igniting limb and make the observation that games where rescuing a "damsel in distress" tend to be produced by Japanese developers -- by people from a culture with a much stronger emphasis on the traditional roles of males and females in society. Though I guess Dante's Inferno might be an exception to this, not sure who developed it but it was published by EA. Still, it doesn't seem to be a recurring theme in a lot of highly successful modern western games (Halo, Elder Scrolls, etc).
Annnnnnnyway, I don't want to save someone or be saved. I mean, if someone were trapped in a burning house, I'd probably consider trying to help them get out, but I don't have any romantic fantasies about it. Also, my personal independence is very important to me, so if someone came along and tried to "save" me, it'd probably piss me off to no end.
I don't think that people should get their worldviews and opinions of other people via pop culture. Actually, it's really kind of insane (and even scary) when you research it and you realize how much people get their sense of the world nowadays from TV and movies.
Separately....I do think that, generally speaking, many women have a huge pull toward men who stand up for them. I say this because I was once lightly dating a girl. We went to a party where her friend's boyfriend was drunkenly saying mean shit to her, and I literally stood up for her and told the guy to leave her alone (acting physically tough in doing so). The guy tried to save face a little, but soon just drunkenly stumbled away. At this point, this was no big deal to me: just another incident dealing with a drunken American jackass. However....later that night, my (then) girlfriend let me know, in no uncertain terms, how much she'd been aroused when I stood up for her (even in this pretty minor situation). For several months afterward, I could do no wrong, and she doted on me endlessly. I believe that her response displays just how much women want a man who can stand up for them - not necessarily physically (because that's rarely in jeopardy nowadays), but just for their dignity and character.
I think from a Grok point of view, "rescue the damsel" has primal roots. Groks were (are) generally larger and stronger than Grokettes, and Grokettes have the responsibility of caring for the children. Evolutionarily, it was much more likely for the man to save the woman and children from physical danger.
As societies evolved and sheer physical size/strength wasn't as necessary, Grok retained his position of rescuer via other kinds of power. It all had roots in physical size/strength, but that was translated into other areas. Women being the "weaker sex" came to mean weaker mentally, emotionally, etc., as well as physically. This evolved into societies where women were (are) seen as the property of men, as being sub-human, etc.
Many of today's societies have the game field leveled because we have weapons and ways of defending ourselves that don't depend on actual size or strength. That's not to say that size and strength aren't necessary, but I can pull the 10 lb. (DA) trigger of my Sig P226 just as easily as any man. Because a small female can be just as successful as a large male in providing for a family, protecting others against (most modern) danger, etc., it's more socially prevalent/acceptable to portray women as the rescuer.
Plus, the companies that sell the games want to market to as wide an audience as possible.
I think that the "rescue" inclination is also partially individual. Some people are naturally drawn to be police, firefighters, military, while others are not, regardless of sex. Some people become counselors, religious leaders, social workers, which is another kind of rescue profession.
For me personally, I have no desire to be "rescued", but I appreciate help when I really need it. I have no particular desire to rescue anyone else, but I am glad to help when I can.
The more independent we become as individuals - education, careers and the less we depend on others to meet our own needs (eg the internet for example gives all of us on this forum some "social interaction" without all the discomfort of actually doing it in real life), then the less we need eachother. It's a basic human need for most people to feel useful, desired, capable and [I]wanted[/I]. It's outside validation of your own worth which is natural given that we are not solitary animals. So to me it makes sense that a man fantasy entails helping a woman. It's honorable, heroic and a manly thing to do.
And I am glad ladies are independent. At the same time [URL="http://www.amazon.com/End-Men-Rise-Women/dp/1594488045/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346533800&sr=1-1&keywords=the+end+of+men"]I mourn the obselescence of men[/URL].
I saw the dynamic much more when I was younger. Stable guys taking on what they perceived as d in d, and what other women merely saw as f***ed up chicks. The dynamic rarely stays viable, and if that's what the relationship is based on, it leads to trouble.
Do I want to be rescued? Nah. And at my age, dowager in distress is kind of icky. ;)
[I]She who looks for a knight will often end up cleaning up after his horse.[/I] I don't know where I read that, but it has stuck with me.
Women (in general, very general) like to feel wanted. This is why they dress up, and worry so much about their looks. They want to be chased. Of course they have standards, so do men. If the wrong kind of guy is looking them up, they'll be annoyed.
And men, well they want to chase them.
This dynamic is not iron-clad of course. But it's quite common. And you can even see it in nature.
I'm a strong female and can take care of myself but its nice to have a man step up and "rescue" you.
[QUOTE=simpstr;981923]I'm a strong female and can take care of myself but its nice to have a man step up and "rescue" you.[/QUOTE]
there ya go sista! +1