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Thread: Do you have the desire to save (or be) a damsel in distress? page

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    BestBetter's Avatar
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    Do you have the desire to save (or be) a damsel in distress?

    I was playing Dante's Inferno last night, and I got to thinking that the mission of the game (saving his wife who was taken by the devil) is a pretty common theme in video games (saving a damsel in distress). Then I was thinking that this is a common theme not just in video games, but in movies, fairy tales, pretty much everything.

    So, this got me thinking that if this is such a common theme, it must be because this is some kind of universal, innate desire that men have. Then, I wondered, does this mean that women have an innate desire to be saved?

    I'm trying to figure out if this desire (for men) is driven more by the need to feel powerful and strong, the need for blood and violence, the need to have a woman put in a postion of being grateful (and likely to repay the debt with sex) or a combination of all three. Or, some other factors I haven't considered.

    Also, I'm wondering if women who desire to be saved do so because being saved by a man will somehow prove his loyalty and strength, hence filtering potential mates.

    I realize that not everyone fits neatly into these categories based on their sex. I, for one, sort of have both the desire to save and be saved, which is perhaps related to being bisexual.

    I'm wondering what other people's thoughts are on this.
    Last edited by BestBetter; 10-17-2012 at 05:04 PM.

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    I recognise the desire to be rescued in myself and the hope that a man will come along and save me, but in my marriage I am the knight and my husband is the powerless princess; we both struggle with that. I have no problem with rescuing other damsels in distress (I too am bi), just men it seems. I've never thought it through fully in those terms, but there you have it. The power and gender roles we are indoctrinated with do tend to stick around to haunt us.
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    Eff that. I want to be capable of rescuing myself. I think that one should be ready to support and sometimes "rescue" a partner and be open to asking/accepting those things when you need them, but I do not want to be dependent or expect that a man will come along and rescue me.

    I've had dudes try to be the white knight when I was successfully taking care of myself, and it's just plain irritating and (to me) illustrates a belief that women are not capable of taking care of things themselves. If I already have the flat tire off and the new one on and my tire iron out to tighten the lug nuts, I don't need you to come along and make a big man fuss. I've got this, back off and let me do it. I welcome someone offering help and will accept it or not politely and graciously, but if I decline it, taking the heavy bag out of my hand without my agreement is uncool.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    BestBetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owly View Post
    Eff that. I want to be capable of rescuing myself. I think that one should be ready to support and sometimes "rescue" a partner and be open to asking/accepting those things when you need them, but I do not want to be dependent or expect that a man will come along and rescue me.

    I've had dudes try to be the white knight when I was successfully taking care of myself, and it's just plain irritating and (to me) illustrates a belief that women are not capable of taking care of things themselves. If I already have the flat tire off and the new one on and my tire iron out to tighten the lug nuts, I don't need you to come along and make a big man fuss. I've got this, back off and let me do it. I welcome someone offering help and will accept it or not politely and graciously, but if I decline it, taking the heavy bag out of my hand without my agreement is uncool.
    This was my attitude when I was dating a woman; I was really into being self-sufficient and tough and kind of saw traditional female roles as being weak. Somehow, now that I'm with a man, I don't feel the need to be the strongest one anymore; it's kind of nice to be 'saved' once in a while, since I'm so used to being the one who 'saves' everyone else.

    I think we can agree that most women don't in reality want to be dependent on men (or whoever), but this idea came from somewhere, and I'm trying to understand what it's all about, not argue that it's the way we SHOULD be.

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    You know it could just be that the guy is nice and doesn't like seeing women being abused. Put that as a mandatory 4th option since without it he'd just be a rapist (need to feel powerful, need for blood and sex? Yeah, recipe for being the guy who put the damsel in the tower, not the handsome prince).
    And I'm perfectly good with saving or being saved. Heck, my mother has fixed loads of problems for me throughout my life. And I've fought for her whenever a guy got violent towards her. I think it's more about doing what you can for the people you care about. Damsels just can't do much.
    In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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    I had several guys try to pick me up by playing the knight in shining armor card. It never worked. The few guys I did date "landed" me because they recognized that I was not a princess and played to it. I married Geek because, among many other reasons, he not only let me rescue myself, but when I did need help, found ways to not do it as a prince in shining armor.
    I also never wanted a knight in distress. If the man could not save himself from danger, he was a helpless child, and I wasn't interested. That's not to say I wouldn't help them if they needed it, but that I prefer that to be the exception that proves the rule.
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    I've been married ten years. Life throws up situations and you deal the best you can, but it's not easy. Over that time the roles have swapped and swapped about - which is as it should be - but we both find it culturally and emotionally easier when he is contributing financially to our wellbeing. I guess I was thinking of the question with that filter on.
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    I think that healthy adult relationships are about give and take and mutual support (and even taking turns as rescuer/rescued). I think the damsel in distress concept infantilizes women and also interferes with men being able to get support and help when they need it. I don't think it's an inherent human trait; I think it's one that's instilled in us through repeated cultural messaging through things like Disney movies and rescue-the-princess video games.

    Also, where did I say I always have to be the strongest or that I devalue traditionally feminine roles? I'm the cook in my home 90% of the time. I have a strong partner and am happy to let him carry things and fix things when he's more competent at those things than I am (he built our cabin, I fix our computers). What I dislike is someone trying to take over when I am perfectly capable and competent and obviously successfully doing something for myself. If I need help, I will ask for it and/or accept help that's offered, but some guys will almost rip a heavy box out of a woman's hands despite being told "I got this".
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    I am usually the damsal in a damn mess. I usually can figure it out, fix it etc. but it would be nice if I did not have to all the time.
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    I've never thought it through fully in those terms

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