Forbidding Fairytales?

Posted on November 9, 2009

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I have a serious question for all you readers out there. I’ve heard many women grumbling against fairytales. “They should be illegal”, “I’d never let my daughter read them”, “misleading” and so forth.

Some friends and I were chatting one night about this very subject and I was astonished that they felt so hostile towards fairytales. One friend is going through a separation from her husband, her illusions of Happily Ever After destroyed when her Prince Charming turned out to be a toad. Another is dealing with family issues and a husband who prefers to view the world through rose tinted lenses. A third friend is married to an emotionally distant, psychologically abusive jerk.

Seeing things from their point of view I can understand I suppose. As little girls most of us grew up dreaming of the handsome prince who would ride in, sweep us off our feet and carry us away to his land of love and happiness. When you put a stake in this dream and fool yourself into believing it, it makes the bitterness easier to comprehend.

But these women are alone in their feelings, right? After all it’s our personal experiences that color all our reactions, right?

So I believed…

In the movie, “Enchanted” Patrick Dempsey plays a disillusioned father/lawyer who refuses to buy his little girl the fairytale book she wants because it gives the wrong idea. He thinks that Happily Ever After is a corny ending that doesn’t apply to the real world. Instead, he wants her to grow up as a strong independent woman.

Can’t a woman have both? I mean, what is so wrong about wanting to be viewed as an equal but still wanting respect? I miss the days of men opening the door, holding out the chair, giving up his seat, calling me Ma’am. It doesn’t detract from my ability to kick butt when it’s needed. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have my own opinions, be treated fairly, receive the same pay, etc.

Sorry getting off track here. The question is are fairytales psychologically damaging to our little girls? Or is the attitude of death to the fairytale a nasty side effect of our “evolution” into the 21st century? Can it be blamed directly on the Women’s Liberation Movement?

Honestly? I don’t think there is one thing wrong with fairytales. The real world is a scary and dark place, our future is colored in shades of gray, blackening on the edges. What’s so wrong with offering our girls a glimpse of happiness? They will learn soon enough Happily Ever Afters are few and far between.

So, what do you think?

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