Can fictional stories be harmful?

Unfortunately, I have to say yes… hesitantly.

Fictional stories can absolutely be harmful if taken the wrong way or interpreted incorrectly.

A good example would be many of the Bible stories. The Bible was a good written by man for man. I can’t speak to who wrote the old testaments or how, but the new testament, at least as far as the Gospels are concerned, were written for different groups of people. This is why there are noticeably different from one another.

Is there historical truth in them? I’m sure there is, to a point. Like there was historical truth in Homer’s Iliad.  We know that Troy existed, we know that there was a war that destroyed the city, but were there Gods and immortals fighting there? Unlikely…

The Bible is similar in that while I do believe that Jesus existed as any good Christians do, I believe that he was crucified, and I believe that he rose from the grave, some of the stories may have been exaggerated or made up for the purposes of creating parables or lessons for people to live by. Keeping in mind that all of the canonical gospels were written well after the death of Christ and far beyond the life expectancy of his Apostles.

Yet knowing this, how many have been killed because of these stories? How many wars have been fought?
(Again, this is my personal opinion, I know that there are those out there who interpret the Bible as historical fact and I am well aware that I could be wrong.)

Another good example are the fairy tales that we know and love. Disney is a good example of this as they have recently been taking flak for altering the original stories and watering them down (Removing the Little Mermaid’s suicide, removing the part about Cinderella’s sisters  cutting their toes off… and don’t even get me started on Frozen…)

How do these harm us? Well…

For starters, I don’t believe in love at first sight and I don’t know very many people who do. Now you can call me glass half empty kind of guy, and maybe I am, but I prefer the term realist. Some of these stories paint a dangerous picture of how relationships are supposed to go. For one, painting women as an unequal part of the relationship, the damsel in distress, and the guy always being the one to save her is especially worrisome, and I’d like to illustrate why.

Guys and girls, we all suffer from a complex, more so than most of the previous generations, that may stem from some of these stories.

We here in the news all the time about a girl getting beaten by a guy, or fleeing for her life, and battered women shelters being overcrowded. Many people ask how they get themselves into those situations. Why do they go back to an abusive spouse or boyfriend. Why do they even give that guy the time of day to begin with?
Well, there are many reasons, most of them psychological, but also conditions like children or not being financially stable, but let’s focus on psychological for a moment.
In most cases, at least in my experience from the friends that I’ve had, the idea that he really is a good guy if you get to know him, or the idea that the woman thinks she can change the guy, or he wasn’t always like this, comes up a lot.

Most of the time when it comes to this, the girl sticks with him because she sees something there deep down that if she can bring out, will make the guy an upstanding person. The ability to see something in someone or something that no one else sees is a wonderful gift, but it can also be a very dangerous one at that. The reality is that most people can’t be changed, even if they want to. Nature is a hard adversary to combat.

This is one of those areas that some… albeit less thoughtful people will say that the woman brought it on themselves that they should have known better. Well maybe, if they saw it at the beginning, then they should have run the other way and quickly. However, if they didn’t see it, then it’s a lot harder to get out of once you’re already knee-deep or beyond. Again, the fairy tale goggles come into play here too in that they may see the man inside the beast. (Beauty and the Beast Reference.)

Guys, we are not immune to this. We’re not. Where women go for the bad boy in order to try and change him… we do the same thing, but in a different way.
Many girls, even if they don’t realize it see themselves as Bell and that guy as the beast.  Guys, we see ourselves as Prince Charming. Laugh all you want, whether you realize it or not, it’s true. Where girls go for the asshole, guys go for the… for lack of a better term, the girl who has been damaged in some way.

It’s always the same story over and over, a guy meets a girl, get’s to know her, finds out that she has either a troubled past, cruel or abusive parents, or some psychological issues. Does that make us go running? Should it? Well that depends. Unfortunately for many guys, on some level, we see ourselves as the hero who is going to be the turning point in that person’s life and we start trying to build said person up and try to restore confidence, break the hold a bad parent has over them, or try to help them overcome a psychological issue. The result in too many cases is that the guy who is trying to be the hero, the guy who is trying to help, eventually in the eyes of the girl, becomes part of the problem. The end result is that the girl takes the new-found confidence or strength and using it against the very person who tried to help. Thus pushing that person away and sending the girl back to the downward spiral such as the abusive party that they were trying to break free of.
In the end, you’ve got the opposite of the desired effect, and both parties comes away damaged.

Now, does this mean that the damaged girl or the bad boy are unworthy of compassion and love? No, absolutely not. What it means is that the person who chooses to be with them can not try to change them. Help them, but don’t push them into it. Accept them as they are and go from there. It’s unfortunate, but it is the reality. You can’t change a guy and Prince Charming doesn’t exist.

So that’s it, now are fairy tales 100% to blame for this? No of course not, nature, nurture, and… yeah in some cases, stupidity also play an affect, but that doesn’t mean that the stories we tell our children shouldn’t be examined en mas to see what kind of damage that they could be doing.

Anyway, leave a comment, let me know if you think I’m right or if I’m way off!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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2 thoughts on “Can fictional stories be harmful?

  1. lorellepage says:

    I’m glad someone said it! I find I cant read contemporary romances because instead of escaping reality, I’m thrown into it. Namely, that my life is nothing like this and never will be so I become depressed. So it’s not really escapism, which is why I read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • StCyril says:

      It’s tough, really tough. I had an especially hard time when I wrote my stories because there was an element of romance involved and I didn’t want it heading for the princess story.

      Like

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