Why fairytales need to be retold
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This week both Keira Knightley and Kristen Bell spoke out about their concerns surrounding Disney princesses, and I can't help but agree. When the debate surrounding Disney princesses took off this week, I was forced to take a step back and ask myself what exactly it is about all these fairytales that children (and the occasional adult) enjoy watching so much. After some introspection, it struck me like lightning. Kissing someone while sleeping, or in this case assumed dead, falling in love with a man you saw in your dreams, marrying someone after only one day of knowing him or running away from home for a guy you don't even know yet set absolutely terrible examples for girls and young women. However, as these stories have been told for centuries now, they are accepted without a second thought. Indeed, it is fair to say that Disney films have made my, and many others, childhood a better one, providing some of the first sources for our imagination and dreams. As a result, there is an argument that maybe we should leave fairy tales alone and let them keep doing their magic. However, on second thoughts, there is a stronger argument for the idea that we need to retell them. Stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast are such a big part of our childhoods that it is too easy to oversee the concerning messages that they express. In addition to portraying unrealistic beauty expectations, which opens up a whole host of other concerns, all these princesses and fairytales have one disturbing thing in common; they are passive damsels who can only be saved by charming men. Snow White did not object to getting kissed by a total stranger while she was sleeping, instead happily accompanying him back to his castle to get married despite only knowing him for an hour, maybe less. In the same vein, Sleeping Beauty trusted a random man purely because she had a dream of him the night before while Ariel gave a huge part of herself away for someone who didn't even know she existed.
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