Don’t worry I’ll be back to the course design series soon, but I spent yesterday focused on other things (paper revisions, grant proposals) and I haven’t completed the necessary work to get the next post up. And it’s Friday, so let’s divert to
lighter equally serious but different topics.
As the mother of a toddler daughter I’ve been struggling with the overt patriarchy of the classic Disneyfied fairy tales, in which a stereotypically beautiful damsel in distress is helpless until rescued by a prince. I’d been trying to avoid exposing my daughter to the princess stories (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White) but now the princess-free spell has been broken by those around me, and Minnow is enchanted with Cinderella.
When she first asked me to tell her the story (having heard some version elsewhere), I managed to recast it as being about friendship and being nice to people. Later she discovered an old copy of a Disney Cinderella story book (emphasis on beauty and helplessness), so I am having a harder time telling the story in the way I want to tell it while she’s simultaneously exposed to the Disney images.
Browsing the tubes has shown me that I’m far from the only person who’s not in love with the Disney princessification of young girls. There’s a cool series of photos from The Fallen Princess project , Brigindo’s been doing some musing on other classic fairy tales, and even the Dad Labs have taken on “princess parenting.” (Take note of that one, Fish, it’s by guys for guys.)
All of which is leading up to, Minnow has asked me to tell her Snow White. I’ve been fending her off by saying that Mommy doesn’t know that story, but I’m sure I’m going to have to confront it soon. Can anyone help me recast Snow White as anything but a patriarchical mess of women-on-women violence, domestic servitude, and helplessness?
Your help would be much appreciated.