On the train this morning, I overhear a father reading “Little Red Riding Hood” to his daughter. I admit I was happy to see a father reading to his child, especially on the train. Regrettably, it is still just enough of a rarity to be noted and appreciated when seen. I was even impressed to see that it was a classic fairy tale and not something from Disney. I smiled because it was a beautiful thing to see, but then it hit me.
This is where it starts.
Every little girl grows up with fairy tales. The classics of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty. Not to mention the several other Disney princesses, added to the classic mix. We females are just shy of programmed from toddlerhood to yearn for romantic bliss before we even know what hell romantic bliss is. This is where little girls first start getting the notions of a handsome prince, on a white horse, who will sweep them off their feet and they will live happily ever after.
We feed our children these fairy tales, especially our girl children, that covertly, or not so covertly, start to define roles. And then wonder why romantic expectations are not reality based when they are older. Yes, we have the princesses who have on their big girl panties, but they are still princesses or princess types that perhaps with the the exceptions of Merida of Brave and Elsa from Frozen, nearly all wind up with some prince (or princely substitute Flynn Rider – Tangled, Dimitri – Anastasia), rescuing them from -fill in the blank- and who is going fall in love with them and to make sure nothing bad happens to her ever again. Because heaven forbid a Disney princess be responsible for her own happiness independent of a man.
How do we empower our young girls with tales of strong girls who are not or will not be princesses and that’s okay? How do we empower our boys with tales of strong girls who are not or will not be princesses and are not a threat to their strengths? There has to be tales out there that show realistic yet loving relationships long after the dragon/evil witch/bad guy is taken care of. Where are those stories?
I’m thinking I need start researching this and stocking up on them in case I ever have a grand-child. Yes, I will read them fairy tales, but I am definitely throwing in some realistic tales in between.
Editing to Add:
Ask the universe and it will provide – this morning a good friend of mine posted the following link. Talk about serendipity! Now I know where to start my collection.
Let’s see what tales are being told this Day 11 of the challenge: