Female Sexual Empowerment & The Walt Disney Syndrome

If you have ever watched a scary movie you know that usually the first person to get killed by the psycho axe murderer, is the girl who has sex.

She’s usually the bubbly, giggly, provocative one in really short shorts, who has no qualms about “going all the way”, while the girl who survives the slaughter is the one who has retained her chastity, and denied the sexual advances of her male suitors.

This may seem insignificant all on it’s own, but this is a common theme that runs throughout all the cultural media that we are exposed to, from the time that we begin listening to bedtime stories and Walt Disney fairy tales, to the time that we read teen novels, Harlequin romance.

We receive our education or “guidance” in this culture about what is socially acceptable behavior for men & women to engage in through our stories, our television shows, our movies, and other forms of media.

We are repeatedly shown images that first suggest to us preferred behavior patterns, and then reinforce that suggestion again, and again, and again, until it becomes a subconscious belief system that we are operating from without even knowing.

Advertisers are well aware of the power of repetition, which is why the same commercials, songs, and advertisements are played ad nauseum. I am 37 years old as I write this book, and to this day I still remember that Dunkin’ Donuts commercial from the East coast that played during the early 80’s, which showed a man rising early every morning with the statement “It’s time to make the donuts!”

I have confused many a friend and lover when I have spent the night at their house, and awoken in the morning singing “Time to make the donuts!” They look at me very confused and say “I didn’t know you were making donuts this morning, wow, what a treat.”

They are inevitably disappointed when I explain to them that donuts will not be forth-coming that particular morning, and that it is simply my cultural conditioning playing out. Yes I’m a joy to sleep with.

We are programmed from birth to accept certain behaviors, certain ideas, and certain beliefs all as part of our social conditioning. And yes, this is a vital function for us as humans, part of socialization so we can co-exist with a degree of relative, if not absolute harmony.

Yet, many of the belief systems that we have been conditioned to accept, especially in regards to our sexuality, are debilitating and harmful, and they are external suggestions that we have subconsciously accepted as our own.

These culturally conditioned belief systems control how we think and feel about our own sexuality, preventing us from innocently exploring that aspect of our HUMANITY, preventing us from knowing and understanding the truth of our own bodies, and our inherent connection to divinity that can be realized through our sensual awareness & sexual bliss.

We have been conditioned to fear our sexuality as women by the social suggestion that bad things happen to “those” kind of girls.

“Good girls don’t, bad girls do.” And who wants to be a bad girl? Cripes!

Bad girls at best get knocked up and live on the wrong side of the tracks in abject poverty, raising a child or two on their own, being social outcasts.

At worst, they get raped and killed, and end up in ditch somewhere, all for wearing a skirt that was too short, and having had too many lovers before.

The Walt Disney syndrome encourages all little “good girls” (and then teenage girls, and then grown women) to “wait” and wish and dream for the handsome prince who will ride up on his shining white horse, give us the kiss of life, and awaken us to a glorious new world of happily ever after.

The underlying suggestions of these stories are:

a) The girl has been living a life of relative suffering or boredom without out him.

b) She is under an evil spell and is sleeping or “dormant” (sexually dormant)

c) He is overcome with her beauty (pretty girls always win) and gives her the “kiss of life” (i.e. again, she is sexually dormant until the big strong handsome man comes and awakens her sexually)

d) They ride off into the sunset, and live happily ever after, her arms wrapped lovingly around his waist, her savior.

So what does this “fairytale” imply to my young and girlish mind?

It implies that; my happiness as a woman is dependent upon finding the right man to “save me” and life does not really begin until that first kiss.

It implies that; my sexual awakening lies in the hands of the perfect man, “my prince”, and that I lie in relative dormancy, living an un-awakened and somewhat unfulfilled life, until he the right man arrives.

And of course I am chaste and demure until that day, just wishing, dreaming, hoping, someday….

And thus I wonder, how many women are still waiting for the “right man” in order to finally “find happiness”?

How many women found “prince charming” only to have him leave her for another woman 10 years and 2 kids down the road?

How many of us kissed man, after man, after man, desperately hoping, wishing and praying that he would finally be THE ONE, and we could finally be happy, the search would be over, life has now begun!

The point I am trying to make with all of this is that- from the time we are little girls, we are overtly and subtly conditioned through various types of cultural suggestion to believe that our life happiness and sexual pleasure lies in the hands of a man, our handsome prince, THE ONE.

Even the wildly popular “modern” female erotic book 50 Shades of Grey follows the pattern of – sexually awkward and un awakened young woman, meets older, wealthy, and sexually powerful man, who takes her under his wing and proceeds to awaken her to her own sexual pleasure. She is enraptured and falls under his spell. Devoted to this one man who has awoken her and given her the kiss of life.

This reads like a Harlequin Romance, but set in modern day. A sexed up version of Snow White and Cinderella, with descriptions of what happens in the bedroom of the big castle, at the end of their sunset ride.

Women are dissuaded from consciously exploring their own sexual pleasure, beyond a clitoral orgasm here and there, and many times not even that.

I have had many women share with me that they have never self-stimulated in any way, and felt very uncomfortable with the thought of doing so for themselves. As if giving themselves sexual pleasure somehow takes away from their partner.

I remember thinking for most of my life that the inside of my vagina was “his territory” , to be reserved for men, or “the right man” to explore.

I was horrified at the thought of sticking something inside of me for my own pleasure, and did so with great reservation and quite tentatively at first, as if I would somehow damage the sanctity of my vagina by daring to venture into that territory by myself.

This fear of owning, knowing, exploring, and understanding our own physical-sexual pleasure keeps us fragmented, helpless, weak, confused, &  dis-empowered in life.

This fear keeps us disconnected from our own intuition, and the inherent knowing that arises from being deeply connected to our bodies and the visceral responses that they give us as guidance. The body knows what it wants. There is a deep instinctive wisdom that we can tap into when we honor the information that it gives using the form of sensations. Pleasure/happy=good, pain/yucky = bad or dangerous. It is that simple.

When we remain ignorant of the most basic understanding of how we feel we offer up control of not just our own pleasure, but our own clear wisdom and choices into the hands of another person, usually our male partners.

Which is also dis-empowering for them, as they are now charged with the task of being responsible for our sexual pleasure & satisfaction, without any real guidance of how to do so.

I believe The Walt Disney Syndrome contributes to sexual dissatisfaction for both men and women, (and partners of all genders) by encouraging unrealistic expectations for both parties. Women believe that the “perfect man” will know how to kiss her perfectly, and fulfill every sexual longing she has ever had (all of her sexual longings being fed her through media, fairy tales, and romance novels such as 50 Shades of Grey).

Read more about Female Sexual Empowerment in my new book- “Shake Your Soul-Song! A Woman’s Guide To Self-Empowerment Through The Art Of Self-Pleasure”

Get a coupon for $5 off your copy when you register for my 7 Favorite Sensual Enrichment Suggestions.

What do you think of The Walt Disney Syndrome? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

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16 thoughts on “Female Sexual Empowerment & The Walt Disney Syndrome

  1. Pingback: 66 Days Of Self-Pleasure « Authentic Tantra™

  2. Amen! Love this post! 33 years later, I’m still trying to shake myself awake from the Walt Disney Syndrome. I was single for at least 3 years before meeting my current boyfriend and during those years, I was living life on my own terms and pretty happy by myself. But then, once I started dating again, all the old conditioning surfaced and I literally stop making myself happy and made it his job to fulfill me, both emotionally and sexually. The way I saw it, I had met THE ONE so it was no longer my job to be in charge… of my own life, thank you. No need to say this hasn’t worked… lol. Although I didn’t have a name for it by then, I realized a few months into the relationship that I was a victim of the Walt Disney Syndrome. It really holds strong power over us. As you said, we are programmed this way and, unfortunately, many of us still believe this is the ‘right’ way to live. Thanks for posting this.

    • Yep, we are so conditioned to give away our power in order to be in relationship. I myself notice feeling very empowered and self-sufficient, and when I begin becoming attached to a man, I start feeling confused and unsure of myself. It’s really bizarre how this conditioning kicks in. I recently began practicing the art of “witnessing” when this arose. Not resisting the emotion, nor dramatizing it, just observing what was going on internally, observing the stimulus, and observing my reaction with out judgement. Kinda curious, like “wow, interesting. I wonder what I am afraid of right now.”. It’s all a journey….. :)

  3. thanks for posting this! I have been divorced for 6 years and have a 12 year old girl, just a year ago I met a man who is gentle and caring and in touch with himself and very nurturing. He took me through all the healing from a very bad marriage and it was all good until I began once again to follow that walt disney pattern.. looking to him to fulfill my happiness and my needs and leaving all my hard won independence behind.. we are no longer together and I am launched on my continuing journey a little wiser and with a lot more trust.. but thank you for clariflying some things by posting this.. now onward to self pleasure! i will look on your site for good self pleasure implements and suggestions!

    • Thanks so much for sharing. It is indeed a life journey, and at times a tough one, but well worth it to reclaim our self-empowerment.
      The best tool that I can recommend is the actual book in which this article is taken from. You can get a coupon for $5 savings when you purchase through my site at http://femininemergence.com/ Best wishes to you!

  4. Pingback: Devi Ward’s "Shake Your Soul-Song!" Focuses on Sensual Pleasure & Personal Responsibility {Review} ~ Candice Holdorf | elephant journal

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