And the princess lived happily ever after with the prince in his castle, the damsel in distress waiting for her prince riding on a white horse to protect her…
And Rapunzel with the help of her lover escaped from that castle in search of the love of her life…
These few endings are parts of some of the epic and legendary fairy tales of all time. We all have slept each night in our childhood hearing these beautiful tales.
But, but, but, …a real hard-hitting reality has stuck to me the other day, which made me see through and read between the lines of these stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and all the Disney princess stories was that its 21st century and our dear little damsels are still supposed to be in distress, still waiting for their handsome prince to rescue, still make their aim of life is finding their love.
Now one may wonder why these ideas are problematic because they are supposed to be “Fairy Tales“, wrapped in myth only to teach lessons to the younger ones. But here only the problem begins.
These stories are the life lessons that we are giving to the next generation. So basically we are teaching them on one hand to be self–sufficient and on the other, we are giving them lessons on how to be dependent on someone.
To make myself more clear, let’s look up to some stories from the fairy tales,
We all love Cinderella, we all hated her stepmother and her stepsisters, we hated when she was overburdened with odd household jobs and was not allowed to go out. We also had our moments of joy when she was married to the prince. Well, this story may look perfect when it was looked at or read during the 18th or 19th century, but the twist here is, none of these ideas depicted in the story is an idea that matches the reality of the 21st century. For instance, the hatred shown between Cinderella and her stepmother and sisters is absolutely toxic, women don’t always indulge in conspiring against each other, also, Cinderella in her story is shown as someone who is victimized and she does not even have any purpose or her dream to pursue, well, I just want to say that, be it 21st century or 19th century, a person is allowed to have their own dreams and has all the rights to pursue it. The story also depicts how materialistic love was, the prince only recognized Cinderella when she tried on her shoes, this idea may look very fancy but it’s actually toxic.
However, I am happy to admit that Disney has painted their image well and has made a new version of the old Cinderella, where she is having her own idea and individuality, where she is also sharing a love-hate bond with her stepmother, where the prince‘s struggle is also acknowledged and where the love between Cinderella and her prince charming is more realistic and not materialistic anymore.
We all loved Rapunzel’s beautiful, lustrous hair. Her escape from the castle with her hair as a rope was a bang-on moment. And honestly, till today that cinematic moment makes my heart jump with joy as that was a beautiful depiction of how our damsel refused to be in distress and find her own way out. Well this story had such a beautiful message but then again a bugger concept came where we can see how Rapunzel actually fights for being loved back, well, just one question I have, why is it that women are always shown as someone whose aim of life is to love someone or being loved by someone, why it cannot be put as someone who has her dreams to pull off, Rapunzel had such a beautiful escape, movie also beautifully showed how the real world was harsh but then why they had to show Rapunzel as someone so vulnerable that she was not ready to fight back, well, its 21st century my dear, woman are fighting a battle each day and our beautiful Rapunzel got all distressed in just one blow, a strong change is recommended, it’s high time Disney needs to realize that fairy tales are not just tiny entertainment but a genesis idea which we are putting in the minds of our younger ones.
We all have loved the beautiful snow-white. Her beautiful bond with the dwarfs made our hearts melt. But again, our fairy tale has shown the idea that only “Fair” is beauty, that beauty needs to be put to match certain standards to be recognized as beautiful. Well, be it today or 100 years back, beauty was always meant to be something that catches the beholder’s eyes and not some idea that needs to be standardized. Also, the movie with its epic last scene where the prince kisses snow white may look super romantic but is actually very very problematic.
Yes, it is so because here we can see a clear violation of the idea of CONSENT before indulging in any sexual activity. The prince didn’t find it necessary enough to ask his beloved before kissing. The idea of receiving a kiss while fast asleep may sound very fancy very “Fairy tale“ worthy but we cannot teach our little boys and girls that sexual activity without consent is beautiful. no, we need to tell them that permission before sexual indulgence is a gentleman’s trait. That permission is romantic. And that all women be it any shape, size or color is beautiful.
Well at the end, the only thing which pertains in my mind which I wish to speak about is that, it’s time when we need to address this fact that princesses or any girl next door have all the rights to dream big, to love herself first and more than anyone else. She has all the power to face the world but at the same time, she is vulnerable to herself as well because that defines the true feminine trait, the true beauty which lies inside her.
We also need to address this fact that the lowkey patriarchy which the fairy tales tells us needs to be scrapped out at least in the stories, cause patriarchy is a toxic idea for both man and woman so we cannot put the seed of patriarchy if we wish to see a change in our younger generations.
Also, one needs to realize this fact at least now that two women do not necessarily fight or conspire against each other, in the 21st woman fixes the crown of each other without telling the world it was crooked in the first place. So we need to change this particular perspective of females in our minds.
And lastly, fairy tales are a beautiful expression of ideas, culture, and lessons. Therefore it is very important to see to it that what lesson are we putting forward through these tales as it is the fodder on which the younger ones’ mind are feeding upon. So it’s time we make some twists in these tales.
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An Amateur writer who wishes to put her thoughts in ink and paper. Currently pursuing my graduation from Regional Institute of Education NCERT Ajmer. A Step a day towards my dream, climbing baby steps through my pen.