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RoseRed135

Fairy Tales - Good or Bad?

18 posts in this topic

As a GP caregiver, I've become aware, once again, of how much fairy tales are part of childhood. Some of YDD's friends really emphasize them, especially with their DDs - almost nothing but fairy princess bookbags, lunchboxes, clothes, room decor, etc. Other of her friends try to keep their kids from being very aware of that, as long as possible, including one who deliberately didn't introduce her little girl to fairy tales or characters or use any princess motifs, until the child "discovered" them through other kids.

 

So now I'm wondering... what do you  think about fairy tales? Do you see them as a fun, important and/or inevitable part of childhood? Or do you feel that kids should be kept away from them, as long and as much as possible?

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I don't know - to me - they are fairly harmless. My DD's never really got into the the whole "fairy princess" thing - when they were little, oldest DD was about as far from girly as she could possibly be - she would have rather have been climbing a tree. Youngest DD loved tutus but it was because she loved to dance. They watched Disney movies but they were just as likely to be watching Finding Nemo or Ice Age as Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast. Honestly youngest DD just wanted me to find her a purple backpack with a face so she could pretend to be Dora the Explorer and she would run around yelling "Swiper No Swiping" and pretending the cat was a monkey! For oldest DD it was all about Blues Clues and if I remember correctly she carried around a bottle of my Cinnamon wrapped in a blanket for a while when Baby Cinnamon was born and had every stuffed version of every character on that show for a long time.

I get that some parents don't want their kids exposed to certain elements of fairy tales - but honestly - I think we have to be selective and pick and choose what we expose them to anyway. We waited probably a lot longer than a lot of parents to expose our kids to non-Disney/Nickelodeon/PBS programming.My kids were well up in to double digits for the most part before they started watching network tv shows. A big % of their friends were watching MTV and prime time TV and my kids were still watching Veggie Tales and regular Disney programming. Now they can watch network programming within reason - but they know what they aren't allowed to watch. There are still boundaries.

I think that there are some fun, twisty fairy tales where the princess saves the prince that are just as fun and interesting as the age old tales of the princess waiting in the tower for the prince to save her or waiting on him to kiss her awake. Or where the princess saves herself. I think mixing them up is a good idea to show that girls are never helpless, can take care of themselves, can help others and can accept help when they need it.

Just for Fun - here are a couple of videos

The first one is cute and harmless - http://cheezburger.com/44127745 - Disney Princesses Welcome Princess Leia - It just talks about what it takes to be a Disney Princess.

The second one - well - I guess some might take offense to it - I thought it was funny - it's about what happens after the fairy tale/movie ends. It is incredibly well done -

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When I hear 'fairy tale' I instantly think of Aesop's fables.  When we were little, they were thought of as literature.  Something all small children 'needed' to hear.

 

Both of my GDs went through a 'prinesss' or tinker belle phase.

 

Most cartoons of old "Road Runner", Tom and Jerry etc and the newer stuff on now has some violence in them that I never noticed as a child...they were funny.

 

I personally think that a parent chooses to expose their children to is a personal opinion and I stay out of it.  There is so much available even free online, I let the four year pick what she is used to watching.  When the older GD is here and turns some 'strange (to me)' cartoon, I simply ask if he mother allows her to watch.  If she says No, she immediately turns it.  Once, she said yes...and I said Granny doesn't like that, please change it.

 

At least with the old standard 'fairy tales" I do know what to expect.  Many of they do teach some 'value' if the viewer pays attention.  I enjoyed Tangle when I took GD.

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BEG, ROFL

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I was never big on fairy tales about princesses myself as a child, so I didn't go out of my way to introduce them to my children.  Aesop's fables are pretty dark & a lot different than the movies made based on them.  My kids didn't really get too much into them either, even though GPs & other family members bought them books or movies & stuff.  They like Disney World but don't care for the actual Disney stuff like that.  So it's not really a big issue for me.

 

I have more problems with things like Twilight & Vampire Diaries that are directed towards teen girls.

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Tink - a friend of mine once asked me (talking about Twilight) what was so wrong with girls building their ideals around a chivalrous character like Edward - who encouraged his girlfriend to wait until they were married, not get physical when they were together, asked her father for permission to date her, opened doors for her (there was more to the list of course because he was over 100+ years old) and expecting today's boys to live up to that.

 

After I stopped laughing I  replied "while there is nothing wrong with girls expecting boys to be chivalrous - they shouldn't be modeling their dating expectations around Edward Cullen."

 

She asked "Why not?"

 

I replied. "Well personally, I would prefer that my DD not get married at 17/18. I would prefer that my dd be allowed to talk to anyone that she chooses and not allow her boyfriend to tell her who she's allowed to hang out with and who she can and can't be friends with. When she does get married - I would prefer to know that she's still on the planet instead of her husband disappearing off the face of the earth with her.  Oh, and there's that pesky little thing about how he constantly puts her life in danger and eventually has to take her life/soul. So yeah, there's that. Other than that - he's the perfect boyfriend."

 

I read the books and oldest DD read them all and we've seen the movies - but we've also talked about the inconsistencies. She was actually building them up as "how to" guides to her daughter on dating!

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I read the books & watched the movies too.  I still haven't made up my mind whether it is something I'll let DD watch any time soon, maybe she can choose in a few years when we can talk on a more age appropriate level about that kind of stuff.  She is still a little young for those kinds of talks right now.

 

It weirds me out that Edward Cullen is like 100 years old & dating a teenager though.  And the love triangle with a pretty good teen & two other supernatural men that can have violent tendencies is not something I think a young girl should be getting all dreamy about.

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And DO NOT get me started on the whole "imprinting" with children thing. That still squicks me out!! I don't care how hot he is! :diablo:

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Ewwww....I had forgotten about the whole imprinting business.  Yuck

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When I hear 'fairy tale' I instantly think of Aesop's fables.  When we were little, they were thought of as literature.  Something all small children 'needed' to hear.

 

Both of my GDs went through a 'prinesss' or tinker belle phase.

 

Most cartoons of old "Road Runner", Tom and Jerry etc and the newer stuff on now has some violence in them that I never noticed as a child...they were funny.

 

I personally think that a parent chooses to expose their children to is a personal opinion and I stay out of it.  There is so much available even free online, I let the four year pick what she is used to watching.  When the older GD is here and turns some 'strange (to me)' cartoon, I simply ask if he mother allows her to watch.  If she says No, she immediately turns it.  Once, she said yes...and I said Granny doesn't like that, please change it.

 

At least with the old standard 'fairy tales" I do know what to expect.  Many of they do teach some 'value' if the viewer pays attention.  I enjoyed Tangle when I took GD.

 

Speaking of the "old standard 'fairy tales," I'm also wondering if any of you have a definite preference for traditional versions, such as Grimms' or the Disney ones. As I recall, for example, in the Beauty and the Beast  that I read as a child, Beauty was a very sweet and caring girl, period. There was nothing about her loving to read and she certainly didn't argue with the Beast - or anyone! I also remember DM and me taking ODD to see the Disney version and my thinking the "new" Belle was a more well-rounded personality. But DM didn't like this portrayal of her, at all! An intelligent woman, who expected me to study hard, as a girl and get good grades, etc. she still preferred the idea of the fairy tale heroine getting rewarded, "just" for being sweet and kind. :)

 

Tink - a friend of mine once asked me (talking about Twilight) what was so wrong with girls building their ideals around a chivalrous character like Edward - who encouraged his girlfriend to wait until they were married, not get physical when they were together, asked her father for permission to date her, opened doors for her (there was more to the list of course because he was over 100+ years old) and expecting today's boys to live up to that.

 

After I stopped laughing I  replied "while there is nothing wrong with girls expecting boys to be chivalrous - they shouldn't be modeling their dating expectations around Edward Cullen."

 

She asked "Why not?"

 

I replied. "Well personally, I would prefer that my DD not get married at 17/18. I would prefer that my dd be allowed to talk to anyone that she chooses and not allow her boyfriend to tell her who she's allowed to hang out with and who she can and can't be friends with. When she does get married - I would prefer to know that she's still on the planet instead of her husband disappearing off the face of the earth with her.  Oh, and there's that pesky little thing about how he constantly puts her life in danger and eventually has to take her life/soul. So yeah, there's that. Other than that - he's the perfect boyfriend."

 

I read the books and oldest DD read them all and we've seen the movies - but we've also talked about the inconsistencies. She was actually building them up as "how to" guides to her daughter on dating!

 

 

LOL, BEG! I guess that just goes to show that truth is, after all, stranger than fairly tales - or vampire stories! ;)

 

And thanks for the videos!

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Have any of you watched the show Once Upon a Time?  It's based off fairy tales, but with a twist.  They women are usually empowered & not shrinking violets like how Rose described Belle in some recreations of the story.  When I first responded, I forgot about that show.  It's not for the young kids though, but my kids (and I) enjoy this show.

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I like that show - and I also watch a show called "Grimm" that's another one with  a twist.

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I haven't seen either of them but they sound interesting!

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A child psychologist named Bruno Bettelheim wrote a famous book about fairy tales called The Uses of Enchantment.  He explored many specific fairy tales in detail and explained how he thought a child might process, understand and use them. He thought fairy tales were a way of introducing art and narrative to a child as a way of helping them express and deal with emotion. He seemed to think fairy tales served the purpose for children the same way that art can serve all people.   It can give our lives a greater meaning.

 

More recently, a professor named Jack Zipes has written and spoken about fairy tales.  There's good and bad.  One of the negatives he finds is something he calls a "childist" attitude (as in sexist and racist).  One concern is that children may hear so many tales of abuse and abandonment against children and expect that to be a social norm.  (Elizabeth Young-Bruehl has written a book called Childism, about prejudice against children).

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My boys get the original Grimm fairy tales along with Beatrix Potters work (talk about grim). We don't to a lot of Disney because I don't agree with Disney's ideals (except for Brave, love Brave!)

I want my boys to get the proper non sugar coated tales because they identify with good vs bad and consequences, which is something that is lost in modern renditions of fairy tales (and in most of the shows available to kids nowadays). We also take the time to explain the tales to the children in a way that makes the issue of Childism moot (ex: The stepmother abandons Hansel and Gretel because she was a mean angry woman, and Mommy and Daddy, Grandparents etc aren't mean angry people)

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@ WWU - Sorry I didn't see your post, earlier! Such interesting and though-provoking perspectives!

 

@Phalen - I was thinking that, too about the "Childism" - that kids could  instead get the message that abusive parents/SPs, etc are "bad" or however you (general) would word it.

 

Not clear, though, on how "Disney's ideals" are that much different than the ones expressed in Grimm, etc. Can you elaborate? Also not sure how the idea of "good vs bad consequences" is "lost in modern renditions of fairy tales" though some of the bad consequences may be watered down. Again, can you elaborate?

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Disney ideals, the helpless princess saved by the overly manly silent male (or often the idiotic male), her whole existence is to be pretty FOR this guy. Yes there are a few role models in the Disney 'world' that I feel are worth showing to my kids but they mostly come from the older movies that follow the fairy tales more closely.

 

The good vs bad and the consequences. Today's shows and movies don't really have a solid sense of good and bad, and from what I've seen the "bad guys" are either not really bad OR they don't learn their lesson. Once again there are a few that do end up with karmic retribution ( Dr Facilier, in The Princess and the Frog gets dragged down to hell by the dark gods he was fooling with and the evil witch in Tangled falls to her death as a result of her misdeeds) but in general it is stupid comedy made for mindless entertainment (Spongebob, anyone?)

 

At the very least in Grimm's tales there are good and bad, people who do good often get rewarded and live happy lives while people who do bad do not get rewarded and often end up unhappy.

 

Who here knows the original version of Cinderella? Sleeping Beauty? The Little Mermaid? they were amazing, gruesome but amazing and while my boys haven't heard Sleeping Beauty yet they have heard Cinderella (and took away from it that you should be kind to everyone and share in chores {ODS is big into chores for some reason}) and Little Mermaid (There ODS told me that she should not have had to change who she was in order to fit in with the prince who ended up loving someone else anyway)

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Thanks for answering my question, Phalen! Sorry I didn't see your reply sooner. Actually, I've read the originals of a few fairy tales and I admit to having thought, "How gruesome!" (yes, the same exact word as you use here). But I understand what you're saying about "good" and "bad."

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