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?
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