The scene from the Disney movie version of Into the Woods we will consider today is the one in which the Baker’s Wife has decided over her husband’s protests that they will walk 500 paces into the woods in opposite directions from each other to look for Jack. After she is well away from him, Cinderella’s Prince Charming comes riding by on his horse.
Baker’s Wife: Hello, Sir.
Immediately we have our first lesson. Where is the Baker’s Wife? Is she where she is supposed to be? Is she with people who will keep her safe, both from others and from her own sinful and possibly dangerous impulses?
Lesson for women: Do not go where you should not be. There is no reason for women to be out drinking in bars, fraternity parties, or nightclubs (our modern equivalent of “the woods”) alone or with other groups of women. It doesn’t matter if “everyone else” is going; you shouldn’t because it is both dangerous and foolish. Only neutral or bad consequences can result and a few moments of fun is not worth the potential cost to you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There are plenty of places a young woman can meet a decent man that do not pose this kind of danger. And the Baker’s Wife, like all married women, had no reason to be off asserting her independence from her husband.
Cinderella’s Prince: Hello.
Baker’s Wife: You must be here to slay the giant.
Cinderella’s Prince: Yes.
Baker’s Wife: Have you come upon the giant yet?
Cinderella’s Prince: No.
Baker’s Wife: I have.
Cinderella’s Prince: (stops walking) You have?
Baker’s Wife: Yes.
Cinderella’s Prince: And why are you alone in the woods?
Baker’s Wife: I came with my husband. We were…well, it’s a long story.
Cinderella’s Prince: He would let you roam alone in the woods?
Baker’s Wife: No, actually, it was my choice. I’m looking for the lad.
Cinderella’s Prince: (moves closer) Your choice? How brave.
Baker’s Wife: Brave?
Cinderella’s Prince: (next to her) Yes.
Notice how the seducer affirms her foolish and rebellious behavior. Players who write about how they seduce women with what they call Game talk about this very tactic, which they refer to as overcoming a woman’s anti-slut defense. They will say things like, “You’re a strong and independent woman. I admire the way you can be sexual when you want to be. No one has the right to judge you for that.”
Lesson for women: If a man is flirting with you and begins affirming some behavior that you’re engaging in, stop and reconsider the behavior. Is it really in line with your character? Does it really square with your sexual morals? Don’t let a man sweet talk you into believing that sin and rebellion are empowering and fun. That’s only what your itching ears want to hear in the moment.
The Prince begins singing to the Baker’s Wife:
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE WOODS
MAY I KISS YOU?
(BAKER’S WIFE blinks)
ANY MOMENT WE COULD BE CRUSHED
Baker’s Wife: Uh…
Cinderella’s Prince: DON’T FEEL RUSHED
(he kisses her; she is stunned, turns to audience)
Notice how he becomes physical with her even before she expresses any desire for him to be. She didn’t clearly say no or push him away, so he moved in closer and then stole a kiss. Players refer to this as escalation or kino, which means during a seduction the man will escalate things sexually as quickly as possible and try to establish physical contact of some sort with the young woman he is trying to seduce.
This can feel very nice and flattering to a young woman, but she should immediately become cautious if a man whom she doesn’t know very well (or even one she does know) touches her in any sexual way. This is why sexual activity beyond holding hands and maybe a quick kiss should be left until marriage: because it is easy to get caught up in the moment, which feels very nice, and it is very difficult to say no once things begin progressing.
Lesson for women: Have clear boundaries about physical contact and never ever allow a man to transgress those. Despite all the feminist quacking about Yes Means Yes!, understand that it is your responsibility to say no loudly and clearly. A man you have no relationship with should never kiss you and you should get away from him very quickly if he “steals” a kiss, no matter how nice the kiss felt.
Baker’s Wife sings to the audience:
THIS IS RIDICULOUS,
WHAT AM I DOING HERE?
I’M IN THE WRONG STORY.
(resumes the kiss, then pulls away; music stops)
Wait one moment! We can’t do this. You have a princess.
Cinderella’s Prince: Well, yes, I do.
Baker’s Wife: And I have a Baker…
Cinderella’s Prince: Of course, you’re right. How foolish.
Here the Baker’s Wife offers what players call last minute resistance. She wants him to continue the seduction but she wants to put up some token resistance so that she can tell herself it “just happened” – why, it wasn’t like her at all, it was some trick of the woods!
Lesson for women: Our characters are revealed by what we say and do. If you want to be a woman of good character who would make a good wife, do not put up “token” resistance and then wait for the seducer to overcome it, for he surely will try if you give him any reason to believe he has a chance. You, like the Baker’s Wife, know right from wrong; never allow anyone to tempt you to engage in what you know is wrong. Remove yourself from his presence as quickly as you can.
The Prince sings:
FOOLISHNESS CAN HAPPEN IN THE WOODS.
ONCE AGAIN, PLEASE…
LET YOUR HESITATIONS BE HUSHED.
ANY MOMENT, BIG OR SMALL,
IS A MOMENT AFTER ALL.
SEIZE THE MOMENT, SKIES MAY FALL
(kisses her again)
Because she gave him the opportunity to continue seducing her, that is exactly what he has done, by trying to convince her to “let her hesitations be hushed”.
Baker’s Wife: But this is not right!
Cinderella’s Prince: RIGHT AND WRONG DON’T MATTER IN THE WOODS.
LET US MEET THE MOMENT UNBLUSHED.
LIFE IS OFTEN SO UNPLEASANT…
YOU MUST KNOW THAT AS A PEASANT…
BEST TO TAKE THE MOMENT PRESENT
AS A PRESENT FOR THE MOMENT.
Again the Prince affirms her foolish behavior by directly telling her that there is no right or wrong and just to let go and follow her feelings. He encourages her to give in to the moment, even though she knows it is wrong. Players are very good at this kind of thing; if they suspect any possibility of a woman being sexually attracted to them, they will try every trick in the book to convince her to give in to her sexual urges.
Lesson for women: Resist and remove is the best course of action. Resist allowing a silver tongue to convince you to “follow your heart”. Why?
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
And remove yourself from the presence of the man who tries to entice you into sexual sin with him, no matter how tempting you find him. Feminists will try to convince you that casual sex is empowering, but evidence does not bear that out (some women will insist that as long as sex takes place in a “relationship,” whatever that means, it is somehow moral, but I would urge you to avoid that as well; marriage is the only safe and licit place for sexual activity).
If you seek marriage and family formation, do not allow yourself to be seduced. It is your responsibility to avoid players and seduction, and you can do that by educating yourself about the tricks (“game”) seducers use so that you can spot and avoid them.
Other posts in this series:
- Lessons from “Into the Woods” – an introduction
- “Though scary is exciting, nice is different than good.” (Into the Woods, Lesson 1)
- The just desserts for a woman who takes a Baker for bread and a Prince for “whatever” (Into the woods, Lesson 2)
Useful outside reading (the posts are good reading but the comment threads should be avoided by young women):
- Confessions of a “Good Christian Girl”
- Advice to Young Women: Avoiding, Spotting and Resisting Players