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Damsel , Princess
The Damsel in Distress may be the oldest female archetype in all of popular literature and the movies. She is always beautiful, vulnerable, and in need of rescue, specifically by a Knight and, once rescued, she is taken care of in lavish style. When disappointed, a Damsel must go through a process of empowerment and learn to take care of herself in the world. The shadow side of this archetype mistakenly teaches old patriarchal views that women are weak and teaches them to be helpless and in need of protection. It leads a woman to expect to have someone else who will fight her battles for her while she remains devoted and physically attractive and concealed in the castle. Many women still expect to marry a man who will give them a castle and take of them. And some men are raised to expect to do this (see Prince and Knight).

The Damsel's fear of going it alone is holds the Damsel/Knight relationship together. It also often shatters the relationship when the Prince or Knight grows older and expects to have a perennially young, attractive Princess at his beck and call. The Princess inevitably grows older even if she remains helpless. Or she becomes more interested in the outside world, develops skills and competencies and is unable to maintain the same old dynamic of dependency. Either way, most Damsel/Prince relationships ultimately find that they change or fail. The Damsel/Princess must ultimately learn to fight her own battles and evolve into a Queen.


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