And that is okay
Every night as we tuck our daughters into bed we tell them tales about Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Ariel and so on. I have been doing the same since years encouraging my daughter to dream about princes and princesses as well as fairy tale endings. Night after night we reinforce these ideologies.
Then a few days back it hit me what am I doing ? Unconsciously what am I teaching my little girl ? That she has to be the most beautiful or the fairest in the world, or that she to wait for Prince Charming to come and save her .We are making our girls believe that life is a fairy tale world where they should behave like helpless maidens and wait for a handsome prince to come and rescue them , and from then on their life would be perfect. That life is a competition where the fairest , prettiest girl wins the prize, the prince and lives happily ever after.
What is wrong with fairy tales is that women are beautiful, passive creatures helpless and unable to do anything for themselves . They need to wait for the prince to come and rescue them for their misery. They need a handsome prince to awaken them from their sleep, to rescue them from evil step mothers, to basically overcome any trouble they have in their life.
This is not the message we want to impart to our daughters. We have to show them strong, positive female role models who are valued for their hard work, strength and intelligence and not just their beauty and submissiveness. We should encourage them to be proactive, brave, hardworking and not adopt the victim mentality.
Another prevalent message in all the fairy tales is that marriage is the the ticket to eternal happiness. All fairy tales end with the prince and princess getting married and then living happily ever after. Marriage cannot be seen as the be-all and end-all of life and neither is it right to tell our daughters that life and marriage are all rosy and perfect.
So now when I tell my daughter these stories I try to discuss the story with her : how Snow White should not have taken the apple from a strange woman? how Cinderella could have helped herself ? or that Cinderella and the Prince got married and sometimes they were happy, also sometimes they were sad or excited or bored just how life is 🙂
Try telling these fairy tales next time with a little bit of your own twist just like I did, add another page and ending to show that life can head in any direction that you wish. Or better still read them stories of strong , successful women like Mother Teresa, Hillary Clinton or Marie Curie.