Maybe all Rapunzel could talk about was boys, and all she worried about was her hair, her complexion, her makeup, her clothes, and whether the “popular” people (who, apparently, no one actually liked) liked her or not.
Maybe the boys on Rapunzel’s bus constantly made sexually suggestive and, therefore, (duh) inappropriate, comments and watched carefully to see what her reaction would be so as to know whether they could continue to make sexually suggestive and inappropriate comments or not.
Maybe Rapunzel thought it was so important that these skanky excuses for human beings liked her and that she not seem a prude that it never even occurred to her to point out that their behavior made her uncomfortable. Maybe she had so little sense of herself and her own rights that their behavior didn’t even make her uncomfortable. And maybe this caused her parents great distress.
Maybe, at the same time, she was being treated to the state-approved “Sex Education” curriculum, “Willing to Wait” also known as “If you have sex you will get chlamydia and die” program.
I imagine Rapunzel’s parents would have been reassured if the class had involved realistic and valid discussions about the physical and emotional implications of having sex WHEN BARELY A TEENAGER; or discussions about what is and is not appropriate to say or to have to listen to.
I imagine Rapunzel’s parents would have felt better about Rapunzel’s outlook on life, career, education, her self and her agency and her responsibility for her own life if more of Rapunzel’s focus was less about what the world thought of her and more about what she thought of herself. It might also have helped if part of the discussion in these “Willing to Wait” classes included teaching the boys that what won’t be appropriate to say in the workplace when they’re 30 is also not appropriate to say when they’re 15, even if they are currently suffering from hormone-induced mental illness. Or if someone besides Rapunzel’s mother was telling her daughter that whether the boy liked her or not was less than half as important as whether she liked the boy; or that the first thing the girl needed to learn how to do was to support herself so that she would never need to rely on someone else for housing or food.
I imagine Rapunzel’s parents thought that shutting her up in a tower until she was 25 was actually for her own good.
I imagine I could agree.
It is too bad that the “happy ending” in this story requires her being rescued by a handsome prince.
Even better: a kick-ass job with a six-figure salary and a complete disregard for what anyone else in the world thinks about her appearance.