Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fairy Tales

This semester I am taking a course called "The Literary Fairy Tale". It is pretty interesting so far. Here's the thing though...since day 1, people have been arguing back and forth over whether or not fairy tales are detrimental to children. Some say the tales are just stories and not any big deal. Others say they are sexist and give children unrealistic expectations of life. This last group says that fairy tales teach girls that they must be submissive and pretty and that they teach boys that strong women are evil.

I grew up watching Disney movies. I loved Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. However, those stories (much like the books I read now) were my little escapes. I lost myself in the fairy tales, but when they were over I left those stories behind. I never dreamed of actually growing up to be a princess and marrying a prince with the help of a fairy god mother. I had serious dreams. I wanted to go to college. Yes, at 3 years old, I knew that. What I'm getting at is that I do not think that fairy tales gave me unrealistic expectations of life. I believe this is because my parents started very early in my life teaching me the difference between reality and fiction. (My favorite movie at 3 was Trading Places, so it was kind of important that I knew that distinction) Even now, my kids know that things in books, movies, etc aren't necessarily things you should do in real life. They are simply fun little escapes. I think the problem comes in for people when they fail to recognize the difference.

So, what do you guys think? Are fairy tales bad? Do you let your kiddos read/watch them?


  1. I love them. I want my kids to dream big.

  2. Ug. I think people overanalyze EVERYTHING! Would boys be better in math and girls better in English if NO ONE talked about it? For crying out loud. Children have IMAGINATIONS. In my humble opinion, fairy tales encourage that. And of course, children should be taught the difference between fantasy and reality. But a life without fantasy? What's the point??? As adults, we get ENOUGH reality. Let them enjoy being little! Good grief.

  3. I agree with you and with what Kerri said about people overanalyzing everything.

    My kiddos love fantasy stories/movies. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've seen the Harry Potter movies. One of the main reasons I'll sit with them and watch stuff like that for the 100th time is because I enjoy the little escape too.

  4. Ditto to Kerri's remark!!
    I watched them when I was little and my kids all enjoyed them too and we all turned out just fine!

  5. Hey I love a good Fairy Tale... but they are just stories.. and most have some sort of moral to teach. For girls it gives us some expectation of chivalry when we grow up... prince charming should be polite, well-mannered and thoughtful.
    For boys it gives the base that a damsel should be needy and whiny- oops... wrong tale. Seriously- Cinderella cleaned and kept house for her family, Sleeping Beauty was abused by the wicked witchy lady, Snow White saved herself AND took care of the dwarves... these girls grew to be strong women- against the odds! Boys definitely need to see that in women or they will never be able to assimilate into today's culture.
    Why else would the fairy tales keep being updated and re-written for each new generation? They have valuable lessons to teach while letting us slip away into a fantasy, if only for a little while.
    Sorry so wordy... great post BTW!

  6. Fairy Tales are all well and good in my book! I think a lot of my big dreams came from my parents' beliefs that their children (i.e. me and the 3 other rugrats) would amount to something big. There was never a question of "will he/she go to college?" so the opportunities are still there :) My parents rock.

    I don't have chidlers yet, but I say they get to watch fairy tales. J will make them watch sports. Therefore, they will be perfectly well rounded (albeit confused on their baseball/football teams)

  7. I'm so on the fence with this one. My daughter is absolutely in love with the Disney princesses and I can't stand that they are all almost helpless and always need a prince to save them. That's my biggest problem. My other issue though is how scary Disney movies can be for little kids, I put one on thinking the kids will love it and then the evil guy from Aladdin comes on and my kids are sitting wide-eyed in terror. I know they are trying to appeal to the older kids but couldn't they just make seperate movies for that?


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