Peter Pan and Wendy are Terrible Influences
For centuries in Western culture, women have been subjected to systemic oppression and the objectivation of their bodies; while men have taken authority, defining what it means to be a virgin in the female perspective. In the patriarchal society, women have had limited agency over their bodies because of the power men hold in Western society. Because of oppression and the objectification of female virginity, women “romanticize” their own virginity, considering their virginity to be “sacred.” Therefore, because of systemic oppression and objectification (fashioned by men), female virginity has taken yet another turn. Women have taken the matter into their own hands, “romanticizing” their own virginity and in result, objectifying themselves in the process, in order to obtain any ounce of power.
European folklore, also known as “Western folklore” and commonly known as “fairy-tales,” are a popular genre of literature, especially among children. Fairy-tales are popular in the West, stories such as Peter Pan, Snow White, and Cinderella are some of the most popular among readers and children. Fairy-tales are, of course fictitious but there is a deep psychological impact these stories have on children—potentially changing their outlook on life and how they perceive/and or carry out their actions. The Peter Pan Syndrome is a “pop-psychology” term used to describe those who simply do not want to grow up nor expand their understanding and knowledge.
Historically, men have fallen into the box that is the Peter Pan Syndrome. Peter Pan is a fictitious character from the popular play Peter and Wendy by James Matthew Barrier. Peter Pan is a narcissist who never wanted to grow up—he simply refused. Authors Melek Kalkan, Meryem Vural Batik, Leyla Kaya, and Merve Turan discuss how men (specifically) are placed on the broad Peter Pan Syndrome scale, in their academic article, “Peter Pan Syndrome ‘Men Who Don’t Grow’: Developing a Scale.” These men who “never want to grow up” often face a multitude of problems; these problems include child-like behavior, lack of responsibility, difficulty expressing and processing complex human emotion, and lack of sophistication. These are the same men who often have authoritative jobs and or take authoritative positions such as police officers, lawyers, doctors, scientists, researchers, government officials, and politicians. The lack of a sophisticated mindset often cause trouble for those who have to follow or understand these ideologies; the simplicity of these ideologies often cause confusion and uncertainty for those who must follow or understand these created ideologies. It seems counterintuitive that these often simple ideologies cause mass uncertainty but the as the cliché goes, “the easier the harder.”
Female virginity is understood to be a simple, one-way definition. The deprivation of complexity causes women to be restricted of the freedom to express their own intuition and understanding of female virginity. When defining female virginity the female perspective is most important but that is often ignored. Female virginity, along with female perspective, is severely complex and difficult to understand. Men who demonstrate symptoms of the Peter Pan Syndrome will surely not even begin to understand the complexities of female virginity.
Along with Peter Pan Syndrome, there is the notorious “Wendy Dilemma” that often effects women in Western culture and society. The Wendy Dilemma is another “pop-psychology” term used to describe women who take on a “mother’s role” in a marriage instead of taking the role of wife. By taking on a motherly role in a marriage, problems occur such as creating an unhealthy dynamic between the two people married. Thus contributing to the Peter Pan Syndrome. Men who are essentially catered to, will feed off of this, contributing to their behavior and inability to “grow up.” The Wendy dilemma and Peter Pan Syndrome is an unhealthy tug-a-war that creates a ripple effect in society. Women who face this dilemma and constantly accommodate to their husbands, in essence, create these Peter Pan like men. In turn, these problems come back to bite them.
The unhealthy relationship between the Wendy Dilemma and the Peter Pan Syndrome will cycle through generations of people. These problems are visible in family households, classrooms and even the workforce. As author Neil Davidson describes in his opinion piece, “Oh boys! Sex education and young men,” men and women are born with the same emotions. Influences coming from the classroom, parents/guardians, peers, friends, coworkers, the workforce, and society are all contributors to an individual’s development as a person. Davidson also stresses in his article that men are taught to be more “masculine” while women are taught to be more “feminine.” By “masculine,” Davidson means men are taught to be “tougher,” “stronger,” and “rougher.” In juxtaposition, women are taught to be more “feminine” which means to be “soft spoken,” “more gentle,” and “more attending.” An individual’s actions are influenced by those they are surrounded by. Circling back to the unhealthy tug-of-war between the Wendy Dilemma and the Peter Pan Syndrome, these two issues bounce off each other, feeding into each other, causing the division of perceived emotions. What is taught during the early years of childhood and adolescent development, causes men and women to develop Peter Pan Syndromes and Wendy Dilemmas.
The ripple effect of these emotions that are ingrained into children’s development and the role it plays into the development of a Peter Pan Syndrome and or Wendy Dilemma has enormous effects on the social standing between men and women. The West is a patriarchal society where men hold more power than women. Because women are taught to be “more feminine,” developing a Wendy Dilemma to appease their husbands, women lose power. Historically, virginity has been a heavily debated topic and has been defined many different times by many different men. In the West, female virginity has a simple definition that often holds tremendous power. In order to gain any sort of power, women take advantage of this one narrow understanding of virginity by “romanticizing” their virginity in order to obtain any ounce of power or higher standing. The Wendy Dilemma comes back to bite women and in the end, women objective themselves but allowing men to keep this power. By simply resisting and giving up on “catering” to the male population, female virginity would at last be an ambiguous term that every woman has the right to define herself.
Davidson, Neil. “Promoting Public Health through Public Art in the – Proquest.” Oh Boys! Sex Education and Young Men, ProQuest, 1996, https://www.proquest.com/docview/1560670647?accountid=13605.
Kalkan, Melek, et al. “Peter Pan Syndrome ‘Men Who Don’t Grow’: Developing a Scale.” Men and Masculinities, vol. 24, no. 2, 2019, pp. 245–257., https://doi.org/10.1177/1097184×19874854.