Waking Up Out of The Mirage of Fairy Tales

Date Posted: July 07, 2014
Waking Up Out of The Mirage of Fairy Tales

I can remember the first time I read Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to my daughter like it was yesterday. She was two years old, wide eyed, and ready for information about how the world around her worked. As the story went, Snow White ate a poison apple that her evil, jealous stepmother gives her and falls into a deep slumber. A Prince then awakens her with a kiss. Like most other fairy tales, Snow White rode off with her Prince on a white horse and into the sunset to live happily ever after.

As I read this to her, and being a product of the women's liberation movement, I found myself becoming more and more annoyed. Here I was, a devoted mother, wanting to raise a self-aware daughter, indoctrinating her into the world of romantic relationships through fairy tales! I couldn't help myself.

Tentatively I said, "Ruby, see the Prince coming along on the horse to rescue Snow White?"

And she said, "Yes, mommy."

I said, "Sweetie, that man is a stranger, and besides, she should have her own horse to ride on."

Ruby said, "Yeah, and he doesn't even know what she likes to play with." (Yes, my daughter was crazy smart even at two!)

I responded with, "That's right, honey. He doesn't know what she likes to play with, and she doesn't know what he likes to play with either."

That was the first of many experiences I was to encounter with trying to protect my daughter from buying into fairy tales on romance and love by deconstructing the unconscious messages they were sending to my innocent child. I wasn't trying to be a Debbie Downer, or wanting to groom my innocent child into being a cynical one. I just wanted to start teaching her to use her own brain, and to know the difference between being sold a bill of goods and not. How was my daughter going to know if the Prince on the horse that was coming to get her was the right person for her if she passively slept waiting to be awakened? Obviously, if she was too drunk on the fantasies these fairy tales spawned, there was a good chance she might not notice.

How do you know who your Prince or Princess really is? Isn't it time you shook off the old fairy tales your mother used to read to you and look at the bigger picture?

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