7 December 2014
Today’s Society and Yesterday’s Fairy Tales
Overtime, the old fairy tales that parents have been reading to their children for generations have suddenly transformed from being just lovable tales about heroism and princesses to the reason why parents believe their children have developed warped views on reality. Not too different from the controversial subjects already shown on television and movies today, classic fairy tales feature taboo issues such as gender and racial stereotypes, social class labeling, and brutal violence. With that kind of potentially offensive material, it is no wonder adults begin to question whether fairy tales are suitable for children.
As stated before, the general fear is the suspicion that fairy tales can be detrimental to a child’s understanding of life in the real world. Needless to say, children can learn a lot from stories and form several interpretations based on what they have heard or read. For concerned parents, the trick is finding the right stories that will not become harmful to a child’s understanding. To discover that answer, individuals will need to start the search with arguably the best-known collection of fairy tales of all time, and that trail begins with the Brothers Grimm.
Rapunzel, Snow White, The Frog Prince: all tales brought to the mainstream by the Brothers Grimm in the 1800s and has had a lasting impact in children’s entertainment ever since. Although classic, these tales have proved to be offensive in their very nature. While typically telling the story about a damsel in distress waiting for her prince to save her, these tales display a range of unpleasant material covering topics from rape to cannibalism. Snow White features attempted murder by an evil step-mother. The Frog Prince includes bestiality. Grimm’s fairy tales are clearly perverse, yet, children find them entertaining. That is why there is a fear of inappropriateness taking place. Perhaps better said in an online article by K.J. Dell’Antonia entitled, “Are Fairy Tales Really for Children?” author, Dell’Antonia wrote: “As many have said before me, the tales of the Brothers Grimm are indeed grim.” She goes on to say, “A classic fairy tale is dark, implacable in matters of life and death, and above all politically incorrect, and children (including my childhood self) love them anyway.” Many have argued that these kind of tales should be banned. Honestly, the Brothers Grimm collection of fairy tales would not get published in today’s society, at least not in the children’s section. Parents simply do not want their children to adopt a fairy-tale-like sensibility, especially when it comes to stereotypes.
The easiest found stereotypes in every fairy tale is clearly that of the social class stereotype. If not, it should be a well-known fact that class remains a focal point in fairy tales from past versions to present day adaptions. Fairy tales, whether intended by the authors...