Feminist Fairy Tales?

Image courtesy of Google street view.  Copywrite Google 2013.
Image courtesy of Google street view. Copywrite Google 2013.

Every time I try to tell my son a fairy tale, I get hung up on the ridiculousness of them all. I know he’s only an infant and can’t understand the words, but I feel guilty for telling him stories with bad messages. Like what’s with all the sleeping princesses being awoken by a kiss? Who kisses unconscious women? There are one too many princesses getting roofied by evil witches. How about Beauty and the Stockholm Syndrome? Falling in love with your asshole captor does not a fuzzy warm feeling make. I’ve got a few more:

  • Goldilocks should be Picks-the-Locks.
  • Hansel and Gretel are spoiled little shits.
  • Ariel: Giving up your voice to be with the man you love…hmm…
  • I always did begrudge Cinderella and her small feet.  (I wear a size ten.)
  • Little Red Riding Hood should encounter a boa constrictor. We all know wolves don’t swallow you whole.
  • This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had roast beef, wait, what?

Ok some of this is me just thinking too much. So forget the silly erroneous details and focus on the morals of fairy tales. With all the vapid princess mania that Disney is fueling, I’ve become hypersensitive to the types of messages that are being sent to our young girls and boys. WTF did they do to Merida??? I’m not a fan of her sexy new makeover. I’m glad I’m not the only one.  Disney has since back pedaled.

I’m a much bigger fan of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. “The Princess and the Bowling Ball” makes so much more sense than “The Princess and the Pea.” Really, you’ve got to be a Harpy on the level of the girls on “My Super Sweet Sixteen” to feel a pea under a hundred mattresses. Plus kids love silly things like little men made out of stinky cheese. The book is also wonderfully illustrated. I hear there is also a book titled “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories” for the satirist in all of us.

So to that end, here’s my version of Hansel and Gretel:

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Hansel and a little girl named Gretel. Their parents were the town confectioners, so Hansel and Gretel were sugar addicts. One day they were walking through the forest when they happened upon a strange house. Upon closer inspection, they discovered the house was made of gingerbread and candy! Frosting gutters and downspouts, chocolate bar doors, candy cane porch columns, cookie crumb shingles, toffee eaves and bon bon dentils. (Can you tell I’m in architecture?)

So the spoiled little brats took to demolishing the house by eating it. Their sugar high fueled their ravenous actions, creating a vicious circle of scarf n’ steal. Eventually their pancreases poured a bunch of insulin into their bodies and the ensuing sugar crash made the two pass out in the cotton candy bushes.

The owner of the home, a witch, returned to find her house a wreck and two little gluttons sleeping soundly in her yard. In her fury she grabbed them and threw them into her basement. “I’ll eat you, you terrible children!” she shrieked as she chained them to the Twizzler plumbing pipes.

In the meantime, Hansel and Gretel’s parents noticed their kids had gone missing. The local police issued an Amber Alert and soon an anonymous tip led them to the candy cane house. The swat team bashed down the chocolate door and arrested the witch.

She is now serving a life sentence (repeat offender) in prison, but she did press her own charges for property damage, so Hansel and Gretel are spending the summer in juvie.

The End

And with that I’ll leave you this bit of genius: “What Happens After Happily Ever After.”

3 thoughts on “Feminist Fairy Tales?

  1. Great post! I can’t help but think of Bluebeard and the Forbidden Key and The Little Match Girl as well . . .

    But if you want to dig back and find some good feminist faerie tales, try from the Russian, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave (http://www.amazon.com/Baba-Vasilisa-Brave-Marianna-Mayer/dp/0688085008), which is about listening to your female intuition, giving up the “too good mother,” and trusting yourself and your (cap)abilities.

    Also, read: Feminist Fairy Tales by Barbara G. Walker and the ever classic favorite Jungian analysis of feminine faerie tales, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

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