We all know Once Upon a Time has a penchant for sappiness and sugarcoating. That doesn’t mean the show doesn’t also have some very valuable advice though. Here, for better or for worse, are eleven lessons Once has taught women.
1. Don’t have affairs. We get that Captain Hook is a swaggering sex-bomb who could woo any woman, so it makes sense on a hormonal level for Milah to ditch Rumple for the pirate. But her decision not only got her killed but sent her beloved down the evil path and caused her hubby to become the Dark One. For the sake of mankind, keep it monogamous people.
2. Family matters. In the pilot episode, Emma had the choice between staying in Storybrooke to be near Henry (and suss out the weird stuff happening in town) or leaving. She chose Henry, which set off a chain of events culminating in her reunion with her parents. You might think your job or independence is the most important thing but it’s not; your family is.
3. You don’t need a man to save you. Just in case Katniss and Hermione Granger haven’t already beat this into your skull, take a look at Mulan and Belle. They use their smarts and skills to take care of business, like rescuing princes and wizards. So pick up a bow or sword or book and be the heroine, not the damsel.
4. Wait for your true love. Thank you Cora for this important lesson. Just because he says he’s a prince and he looks good in the dim lighting of a bar, doesn’t mean you should hook up with him. You might miss out on a happy marriage to a real prince and instead end up giving birth to a future psycho witch. Or whatever.
5. No relationship is perfect. Even when you have found your True Love, being together still takes work. Even the practically perfect Charmings get into marital spats. You’re not going to agree or get along with your significant other all the time, and that’s good. If you are, you’re doing it wrong.
6. Revenge isn’t worth it. We’ve all been there. Some snooty girl steals your man or your job. Maybe someone insults or hurts you. Naturally you want to even the score but according to Once, this never works out the way we want. Remember how Cora wanted vengeance so bad she ripped out her own heart, making her incapable of loving her daughter? Yeah, don’t do that.
7. Don’t try to be a superwoman. We’ll call this a mixed message. On the one hand, Once provides us with examples (i.e. Aurora) of women who usually need others to save them. Then there’s Emma, who is annoyingly stubborn about trying to do everything herself. So find the happy medium by being an independent woman who is confident enough to realize it’s okay to ask for help.
8. Your love can “fix” men. This would fall in the “less realistic” category but there’s no denying Once has this message at its core. As much as we love Rumple, Hook, Neal, and every other “redeemed” OUAT guy with a shady past, don’t go assuming you can change your man. Not everyone has a heart of gold buried beneath their darkness.
9. Life is not a fairytale. Considering Once is a run on Disney-owned ABC, you would think there would be a lot more happy endings. In reality, the show reminds us time again, whether you’re a princess, a witch, or an orphan, happiness isn’t guaranteed and sometimes life is rotten. Even so, in life, like on OUAT, everything really does happen for a reason, and you never know when things are going to take a turn for the better.
10. Misery does not need company. We know the saying goes that misery in fact loves company but as OUAT has shown us, it’s kind of pointless. Also, from an audience’s point of view, it’s really tiresome. Here’s looking at you, Regina.
11. Be proud of who you are. Ruby is a werewolf who accidentally ate her boyfriend. Snow White was a bandit, Emma a jailbird, and Regina the Evil Queen. But those setbacks and labels don’t have to define you, unless you let them. Choose to be awesome, no matter what you’ve done in the past. As Ruby told the conflicted Dr. Whale, “We can’t let [our past] stop us.”
Did we leave any lessons out? Hit the comments with your suggestions!
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