Fairytales Give False Hopes? No, Just Choose The Right Ones!

Fairytales are a common part of a child’s life growing up. However, nowadays, parents argue that fairy tales are giving false hopes to kids. From Cinderella being banned in several households for promoting a princess waiting around ‘for a rich guy to rescue her’ to parents hating the tale of the ugly duckling as it promotes a “colorism mindset” in young minds. But is it really the fairytales that are at fault? Or the lens through which we view the world around us has become blurry? 

Fairytales are important

The Criticism of The Classic Fairytales

So what makes a fairytale attract negative criticism today is vastly different from how it has been over the past few decades. Earlier, people questioned the storylines based on the value they brought forward. For example, the tale of The King Who Wished To Marry His Daughter sounds exactly like its title. Written by Scottish writer John Francis Campbell, this fairytale failed to woo the readers with its bizarre plot and even horrible ending. Luckily, people didn’t pay much attention to it, and the tale faded with time. 

Whereas the questions we raise today on fairytales are far from being objective. Instead, we try to enforce or dilute ideas from these fairytales that may not have been there to start with. It’s true that some of the fairytales written more than a hundred years ago stand true to the nuances of that time. The 1800s and the prior was the time when women were seen as dependants in society. Hence we see, the prince kissing Sleeping Beauty without consent, Snow White for being passive, and the Little Mermaid giving up her voice for a man. 

Are Fairytales Really Not Good For Kids?

Now, as a kids’ channel, we understand why parents would feel awkward or rather uncomfortable showing these fairytales to kids. But here’s an interesting question: 

Why are parents focusing on animations to inform their kids about social values?

We understand that kids are impressionable and absorb information like sponges. However, if anything, these animated fairytales and bedtime storybooks should become starting points for parents to initiate these often difficult conversations.

Ignorance might be blissful, but banning or avoiding playing fairytales at home merely delays a child’s first encounter with the patriarchy and oppressive societies we live in. Breaking News: It does not prevent it.

Where you deem it necessary to block such instances from your child, it is equally important to also have those conversations with your children before they’re exposed to such stories on a whim; that way, they know what to look out for and what to question. Make them inquisitive.

What Fairytales Actually Mean For Kids?

Kids are far more observant than we sought them to be. They absorb more than we know. It comes naturally to them to look around and grasp things that may stand out to them. Surprisingly, kids are also more interested or rather inquisitive towards subjects they have not been exposed to. 

While parents may think that they are protecting their children by banning fairytales in their homes, they are actually creating a pathway for the kids to explore sooner than ever. No parent would ever want to harm their child. But in today’s age, it is far more essential to provide the right tools to your kids so that they face the world and still have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. 

Contrary to popular belief, fairytales are one of the key tools your child needs to understand the social setup they will be growing up in. Fairytales bring several social concepts and prejudices forward. When parents allow kids to experience such concepts from an early age in unbiased surroundings, they are able to question a heteronormative, patriarchal, and unrepresentative setup at the drop of a hat. 

Once you feed them a little bit of information and let them ask questions, you’ve got to trust that they’ll do the rest. Their moral compass will surprise you. And this wouldn’t be possible by believing and implementing a pretense that fairytales give false hopes.

Fairytales Can Be Personal

For instance, is Cinderella all about a girl who seems outdated, pretentious, and insecure? Parents refrain from introducing the tale of Cinderella, particularly to their daughters. They think it may infuse their girls with the obsolete and treacherous idea that Prince Charming would come along and fix everything. Further, it would apparently encourage them to become passive adults who don’t know how to take responsibility for their own lives. 

Amazingly, the interpretation of the story may vary from person to person. Likewise, how you deliver the story to the kids also matters. Perhaps fairytales aren’t the insidious psychological poison we think they are.

We think that Cinderella is a courageous woman. She represents empowerment. Life has dealt her a rough hand! She is stuck with evil, conniving stepsisters and a brutal stepmother. But instead of getting bitter, she creates her own happiness. Yes, she is stuck with the drudgery of a servant’s life, though she has managed to develop her own circle of animal friends where she is loved, supported, and accepted. There’s a life lesson there about working for the inevitable petty supervisor who wants to make your life hard. You can be miserable, or you can let it go and find joy where you can. 

Cinderella is more than a girl with glass shoes!

One day the invitation comes to the ball, and she sees an opportunity. Her evil stepfamily tries to discourage her by giving her an endless list of chores. Yet again, instead of being defeated, she works hard. She defies those who underestimate her and finishes her chores. AND manages to make her own dress (“I am woman, hear me roar”). So they try to take it away from her again, destroying her creation. How often does life do this to us? So a Fairy Godmother appears with an offer of help. (A woman, I would point out.) Instead of sinking into a pool of self-pity, Cinderella accepts the offer gratefully – another life lesson for women, take help when you need it!

When she gets to the ball, and the Prince asks her to dance, she says, Yes! No shrinking away in shyness or fear. This is a woman who grabs the opportunity. She is also a woman of her word – when the clock strikes midnight, she leaves as she promised.

The Prince is so smitten by her that he must find her or forfeit happiness for the rest of his life. Here, it seems; he needs to be rescued by her just as much as she needs his deliverance. When he comes to her family’s home, and once again she sees the opportunity for happiness, she isn’t afraid. Despite years of being treated like trash, she finds her voice and claims the happiness that is rightfully hers in front of her oppressors. That takes real guts!

Fairytales — The Windows Into The Real World For Kids

Social consciousness is a multi-faceted, ever-evolving thing. So, expose your kids to those who deal with it well and those who don’t. And what can be better than a bedtime story with Ruby’s Storytime?

Only in this way will the kids be able to learn to identify the insidious ways these issues manifest in everyday society and not hide away or be skeptical about the real-life nuances they’re soon to face. 

Spread the love

About Author

Related posts

Real-Life Locations That Inspired Fairy Tale Magic | Bedtime Stories

Fantastically, our beloved storytime writers were inspired by real-life locations when writing the fairytales we all still enjoy so much. From castles to forests, and charming towns to majestic landscapes, these locations hold the key to unlocking the magic behind beloved stories like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the...

Read More
Dove Review for Ruby Storytime, Native stories for kids, Christian stories for kids

Dove Approved: Experience the True Meaning of Christmas with ‘Ruby’s Storytime

Ruby Storytime has been hard at work, creating stories that not only entertain families as a whole but also provide valuable lessons to children. We appreciate the support we’ve received from all the readers around the world, and we’d like to share something. Tadaaaa!! Ruby Storytime is Dove Approved!...

Read More