Parents Vs. Fairytales

I just don’t know what to say anymore. I fear I’m sounding grouchier and grouchier these days.

Parents have stopped reading traditional fairytales to their children because they are too scary and not politically correct, according to research. Favourites such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Rapunzel are being dropped by some families who fear children are being emotionally damaged. A third of parents refused to read Little Red Riding Hood because she walks through woods alone and finds her grandmother eaten by a wolf.

Sounds like these parents are doing such a fine job of emotionally damaging their children in the first place that the fairytales are the worst of their future problems.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

2 replies on “Parents Vs. Fairytales”

Thats funny. My roomie sat in on an elementary school art class and she said that the teacher showed them all how to draw an elephant, and the kids all drew elephants with guns shooting each other.
I had a similar experience in highschool doing volunteer work at a public school- we gave the little kids coloring book pages with angels on them, and the kids all drew guns and bombs in their hands. Also, afros.

PS- do these parents realize that the fairy tales are already dumbed down? The real stories are the sleeping beauty got raped and giving birth is what woke her up, rapunzel banged the prince who climbed her hair, and cinderella’s sisters cut their toes off so their feet would fit in the slippers.
But why should we tell kids fairy tales when they can just play video games?

Christa: I don’t think that’s so new though, boys have had a thing for guns for a long time. Reminds me of something from The Simpsons, where Nelson draws a picture of a robot made out of guns, firing a gun that shoots smaller guns. I think I drew them too, in Junior school, when I wasn’t doing bad Tolkien-ripoff maps and trying to trace pictures of Sonic The Hedgehog.

I think there’s something terribly sad about fairtytales gradually being phased out, as if we’re slowly becoming more and more disconnected with our narrative heritage. First the myths & folklore go (a long time ago in the mass consciousness) then the fairytales, then pretty soon there’s a cutoff point for anything older than 1990 that you can’t watch on a TV screen. Or something.

Maybe this should invoke a clarion call for guerilla warfare in kids’ books – smuggling the old tales back in without the parents noticing. Change a few names, make a few other adjustments… Three bears, by any other name, still get angry when someone throws a house-party while they’re away for the weekend.

Would be interesting to see how the old fairytales have segued into the new fare though, from a meta-narrative point of view. Maybe a lot of them have already evolved/mutated into others as a kind of survival strategy, Darwin applied to stories…

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