Have you read a fairy tale lately?! They are fucked up. I'm not even talking about the princess-being-saved-by-a-prince genre (yeah Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel you are doing nothing for your sisters but it's not your fault really) surely this has been done to death and we all know how effed these stories are in their reinforcement of the patriarchy. No I'm talking about the boy hero ones.
Let's take Jack and the Beanstalk, the story of a poor boy who finds himself in a rich man'a
S (giant's) house and decides to steal a bag of gold. Ok, he's hungry, he's just lost his cow, his mum is totally pissed at him, you can almost forgive this poor boy. But then the little fucker returns to the giant's place to steal more. Not satisfied with the gold he wants the harp, the goose, everything. Apparently a popular version of the story from the early 1800s suggests that the giant had originally stolen all that booty from Jack's dad but I've never heard that version and frankly, I'm not buying it.
What about Puss in Boots? I didn't really know this story well until Baby got a book. In this story a young man, a miller's son, inherits a cat that tricks the king into thinking the young man is a generous marquis. The cat gets all these people to tell the king the faux marquis owns a bunch of land and then the young man gets to marry the princess. What? Apparently this story is meant to demonstrate the importance of hard work and savoir fair, but I can't help feel that it demonstrates how to be a money-grubbing, manipulative douche or a willing pawn. And what the hell happens after the man marries the princess, how's he going to explain that he doesn't own all that land and that all his clothes other than those the king gave hit are more befitting a miller's son. I mean that cat isn't even smart, he isn't forward thinking at all if you ask me. In fact the more I think about this story, the worse it gets.
Thank god we've moved past these kinds of stories. I know that people go on about what a great movie Frozen is because the sisters are doing it for themselves, and word up to that, but I don't think we should overlook the industry of Christophe, a man with a passion for ice who works hard to get to where he is in life. Sure there's a little nepotism at the end, but that just reflects reality and he's still a hard-working ice man.
I also worry about the perpetuation of the idea of a stepmother as evil. I mean in this day and age that's got to be dangerous, stepmothers are no longer relegated to the realm of marrying widow kings and gentlemen, anyone can have a stepmother these days. Watch out also if your child asks you what a stepmother is, and definitely don't explain it by saying something like "well if daddy and I decided not to be boyfriend and girlfriend anymore..." Because while personalising things may be helpful in assisting understanding, unnecessarily introducing the idea that parents can split up to a small child is, well, unnecessary.
Wow, who knew it was possible to hate on fairy tales so hard!?