ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Are Fairy Tales Sexist: With the Rise of the Me Too Movement Is It Time to Say No to Bedtime Stories?

Updated on December 9, 2019
Gabriel Wilson profile image

I enjoy writing horror stories and reading horror stories. Nothing like a scary movie with a big cushion to hide behind lol.

Are you reading fairy stories to your kids?
Are you reading fairy stories to your kids? | Source

I have read some rather alarming articles recently regarding children's fairy tale stories and where they fit into our every growing feminist world. Don't get me wrong: feminism is by all accounts a good thing however even too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Celebs are very keen to speak out about sexist behaviour in support of the Me Too movement which has grown extremely complexed. I wonder if perhaps there has been some manner of confusion that has slowly clouded rational thinking. I am struggling to see a fairy tale in the same light as sexual harassment and I really don't see any positive in connecting them. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are very serious allegations. To experience either in any way is horrendous and damaging. I think an induction of clarity regarding fairy tales is required and rather urgently, Celebs should not be using such conversation to highlight their own profiles, it's wrong.

I read fairy tales growing up and loved the very idea of them and still do. My six year old loves stories and has even wrote a few herself. I see a young mind being stimulated by words as I believe was mine. Do I honestly think that she will expect all little pigs can talk as well as grunt and live in houses. No! of course she doesn't think that. Or a wolf who would really dress up as granny? Absolutely not! And what about Goldilocks: can bears make porridge? I guess not without honey.

Keira Knightly an English actress who achieved international fame in 2003 after playing Elizabeth Swan in Privates of the Caribbean said she has banned her daughter from watching Cinderella. She believes this story sends out the wrong message.

''Because she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don't. Rescue yourself, obviously.'' She says.

And while she likes the songs from The Little Mermaid she has a problem that the mermaid gave up her voice for a man.

''Hello!'' she quips.

And there was me thinking Cinderella was a slave to her stepsisters and stepmother with only the mice for company. And it was in fact her fairy godmother that saved the day by magically making a beautiful dress and shoes and a carriage with footmen so she could go to the ball. I'm pretty sure Cinderella was making a bee line for the prince, thusly saving herself obviously. A little like an American lady who is now a Duchess married to a prince and jetting all over the world. And let us not forget, Cinderella kept her glass slipper. She wasn't getting rid of that. Clever Cinders knew exactly what she was doing.

The story behind the little mermaid was her desire for a human soul. She saves the prince from drowning when a storm hits his boat. She rescues him and carries the prince safely to the shore. Giving up her voice was about love. Love at first sight! It does happen. Why would anyone think that love at first sight is anything but romantic. Look at all the celebs that fall in love at first sight and get married. They do it all the time, again and again and again.


Snow White kissed without her permission!

Kristen Bell the voice of Princess Anna in Disney's animated film Frozen expresses her concern for Snow White and the messages that the movie send out to her young girls. Being kissed while asleep and without her consent, Ms Bell believes Snow White should have been asked first. Obviously Kristen didn't get the memo that Snow White was in fact in a deadly sleep, a coma of sorts having been poisoned by her wicked stepmother. The same stepmother that had sent her into the forest with her huntsman: ordering him to kill her and cut out her heart.

Indeed the original Snow White or at least the one Disney later made into a movie was based on a German fairy tale published by the Grimm brothers in the 19th century. The wicked stepmother tries to kill Snow White three times finally succeeding in putting her into a deathly slumber with the bite from a rosey red apple. I doubt very much that Snow White would be happy to stay in a deadly slumber and would be grateful for anyone to kiss her and wake her. I know I would.

Perhaps we should take these stories as they are meant to be. Fairy tales to create wonder and laughter with our children. To encourage the enjoyment of words thus reading. To open their minds and introduce them to the world of stories and books and education and conversation. It is interesting and maybe a little odd that neither of these women thought it important to discuss the evil and darkness in these stories. With all the sensational bullying in the world here you have young girls being targeted by none other than their stepmothers, stepsisters and/or witches and yet that seems ok, that is not up for discussion. Attempted murder by your step-mum it seems is not a worthy subject. And kindness too in the form of godmothers, dwarfs and even princes is a little too bland perhaps for discussion. What message does that send out to all our daughters?

On a very serious note, men and woman should respect each other in every way. Undoubtedly there has been a history of disturbing behaviour in certain environments and I certainly don't condone sexist actions. I do believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and others in how we behave and there is no denying that elements of behaviour in the acting, singing and modelling world are questionable. There is of course the huge influence of money, drink and drugs in these worlds. Expectations and exploitation going hand in hand with desperation. The desire for fame is a slippery slope and not easily achieved by all who go there.

The Me Too movement has the power to be a positive tool against sexual harassment and sexual assault if used correctly. Speaking out about fairy tales sending the wrong message is not a positive affect for me. It has had the opposite affect. I want my daughter to know what it's like to enjoy a first kiss (when she's old enough-maybe 18). To fall a little crazy in love. I want her to have good friendships with boys and girls but mostly with us her parents. We are teaching her that we love her and she can tell us anything and that she will always come first. We are teaching her to respect herself and others, to be independent and later we will teach more things that go hand in hand with her childhood, teen-hood and adulthood.

I will continue to read fairy tales because a world without the magic of talking animals, scary witches that never win and fairy godmothers that can make your dreams come true would be a sad world for me and my little girl. We will enjoy all the wonder of fairy doors, princes and princesses who fall in love and mermaids who want to be human. And when she dons her red super-cape and tells me Tony Stark is her idol as she fishes out another Iron Man movie to watch on a wet Sunday afternoon: I will smile because I know I have the joy of Cinderella to look forward to: a story of kindness and love, a love that conquers evil and a kindness that allowed it.

Do you think fairy tales are sexist?

Would you ban your kids from watching fairy tale movies?

See results

© 2018 Gabriel Wilson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      20 months ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi Liz. Re-written versions are probably likely although I do hope they don't leave out the hero or the prince or the baddies lol. I suppose I see fairy tales as building blocks that construct our imaginations and varied blocks make for a curious imagination.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      20 months ago from UK

      I used to read them to my kids as I had had them read to me and mine loved the Disney versions. Although my son was always a little scared of the 'baddies' in the tales, probably more because of seeing them than reading about them. You have made a reasoned argument in favour of fairy tales, which has been omitted by the media. I suspect that generations to come might be read re-written versions of the originals.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      20 months ago from Madeira, Portugal

      You've said many things and too true. I myself was certainly climbing trees and had no interest in romance when I was young but I still get that some do and some don't. What I hope is that we don't ruin the future kids generation by taking all the fun out of it. Life is hard enough with-out analysing fairy tales when your hardly old enough to read them on your own.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      20 months ago from Chicago

      Stories that are considered "romantic" are inherently filled with elements of chivalry and sexism. Nothing says "love" like a man risking life and limb to provide for and shower a beautiful damsel in distress with all the jewelry, finest garments, and trappings the world has to offer simply for her being his woman.

      Even in late 2018 the sight of man {getting down on one knee} to propose marriage to a woman melts many women's hearts.

      In the U.S. the wedding day is all about the bride. When she enters the church dressed in her white wedding gown everyone stands ups. The groom is little more than a prop!

      For most women their wedding day will be the closest thing to them ever feeling like a fairytale princess. It's no wonder so many women stress out over the details and some actually become "bridezillas".

      Today we're at a crossroads with regard to dating and courtship. Once you get past the obvious sexual harassment, rape, and abuse there is starting to be very little room for any grey left anymore.

      There was a time when teenagers "making out" at the drive-in or wherever doing some "heavy petting" were viewed as innocent kids exploring with intense hormones. A teenage girl may tell her friends she let her boyfriend get to "second base" last night or a teenage boy may brag to his friends that he got to "third base" with a girl. Just because those girls stopped the boys from going further or rejected them didn't mean there was an "assault" that took place. In many instances they ended up "going all the way" several dates later.

      However for those who never went out again there looms the possibility that young man's attempt at going to "second" or "third" base {if brought up today} might viewed completely different compared to the 1950s, 60s, 70s, or 80s.

      In the 1950s Jackie Gleason had a hit show called "The Honeymooners" where he routinely threatened to punch his wife and it was considered "funny". At some point we have to figure out if it's fair to compare and judge different eras by what is acceptable today.

      I suspect fairytales and "chick flicks" are here to stay along with many traditional gender role expectations. The "stay at home husband/father" never really caught on in our society. It's not uncommon to hear someone define what "a real man/woman" is and is not. Women who make good money are not expected to pay for first dates and women who want to get married aren't expected to propose to their boyfriends.

      On the other hand giving them an ultimatum is fully acceptable.

      Traditional women look down on progressive sexually liberated women. They feel as though they are destroying courtship values. Apparently some women would rather be "special" than equal.

      The truth is (women) in particular love fairytales. Little boys however have never dreamed of growing up to become "Prince Charming" or a "Knight in shinning armor". Most likely they hung out with other boys in a treehouse with a sign which read: "No girls allowed!"

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)