In a light bulb / aha moment, when an epiphany hits you in the gut, you realize ‘wait, have I really been this naïve all these years?’ I mean come on, I’ve been on earth for a while now, but only now realized somethings that were fed into our brains since we were like 4 years old.
Gosh! Those are the moments when the walls break, and you jump free through to the other side thinking ‘hey, lets tell everyone! Even if they don’t want to know 🙂
If you are confused and thinking I have discovered some hidden gems of the world, well, I’m sorry, you are wrong. This isn’t new, and I am sure someone must have already written about this, but hey this is my blog and I gotta talk my mind… duhhaa (Ross Gellar style)!
So let’s get to the point… yes, finally!
Haven’t you ever wondered where some of these big notions come from? For example, some obvious ones like, a Prince Charming is waiting to save the damsel in distress? How Prince Charming is going to choose the Princess that is the most beautiful in the land? Or like how these Princesses are basically vessels of zero self-esteem, are victims and weak, and only a Prince bloody Charming can save them from their miseries? Or how it is okay to betray or steal for the sake of ‘love’? And some equally serious non-romantic types like stepmothers and stepsisters are infallibly evil? And most importantly, our definition of beauty and happiness.
So yes, while watching the latest remake of one of the popular animated fables, Jungle Book, I realized how this tale made the Tiger the ‘bad guy’ and how it was then okay to kill it, because hey, he’s the bad guy – remember. Well, guess what, many Tigers species are now endangered – with meager and futile efforts to save it.
Here is a list of popular fables – some stories from my childhood, that I am about to tear apart, because of the underlying messages it fed in our brains! Don’t read on further if you are super possessive about them. I was too at one point in time :S
Fable: Cindrella (my all-time favorite)
Insinuation: All step mothers and sisters are evil
Only a ‘victim’ will get Prince Charming – so be a weak female and don’t ever stand up for yourself. Because hey, you are a girl who can only be protected by a man, a.k.a. your Prince Charming who will fall in love with your ‘beauty’ – what a moron. So wait a second, there’s more. Is it that only girls who are fair, beautiful and have some magical dress will be able to impress the man of her dreams? And of course, she can’t save herself from the miserable life she leads and only marrying this man will bring her happiness. Talk about some serious stereotypes!
Fable: The little Mermaid (this one really hurt – seriously)
Insinuation: Love gives you the license to trade your soul
The girl who is so madly in love with the guy she has seen only ONCE, is willing to give up her singing career as a mermaid, her entire life and family to be with him. And this sad fellow who is so mesmerized and stupefied with the voice that he is unable to see beyond it and willing to marry the witch. Who cares if she has zero ethics – only the voice matters. Why are girls depicted this way in these stories? They just can’t take care of themselves and their only mission in life is to fall in love and marry their Prince, who is of course rich and handsome. Talk about expectations!!
Fable: Snow White
Insinuation: Beauty is everything and you can kill for it!
As usual the stepmother is evil. Why? Because she wants to be the fairest of them all?! Snow White herself has zero depth of knowledge. All she has is beauty and therefore that is the only important thing. Deception plays out here, where the evil stepmother pretends to be an old lady, to poison Snow White. Talk about use of dark magic to get what you want? And of course no one can fix you except true love’s first kiss. So wait its true love when you are sleeping and someone kisses you???? Doesn’t that just sound creepy and plain wrong??? Isn’t it giving the impression that it is okay to kiss you without consent? * Shuddering! *
Fable: Jack and the Beanstalk
Insinuation: Greed and theft is okay
Think about it, this story tells you that it is absolutely ok to steal and be greedy. Jack goes up the beanstalk steals bags of gold along with the goose that lays golden eggs. And when the giant tries to stop him, Jack tricks him. To top it all off, he cuts off the beanstalk and the giant falls to his death. And how is it okay for a kid to steal? And they live happily ever after? How?? Zero ethics or morals – and then why do we blame people when they want to steal and become rich through short cuts? I can’t believe I was okay watching this fairy tale for so many years!
Do you see my point people? Here are some more worth mentioning but I will keep them short you can add to them if you like
Sleeping Beauty – imagine just because you forgot a fairy because she was old, she cursed your daughter! And now she can only be saved by the true love’s first kiss? Really? * sigh *
Beauty and the Beast – implying that only the handsome Prince Charming deserves the beauty and that because he is cursed to be the beast, he has to be evil! Where’s the empathy for animals??
It upsets me to think how much we have been fed all these years. Maybe Brothers Grimm were to conduct a century long science experiment. Guess what, it worked. All this madness and obsession with fairness, the expectations from a Prince Charming, the stereotyping of females, categorizing families and basically brainwashing us to believe these are the missions of life has changed for me.
I am sure the newer version of cartoons, story tales have another set of negative takeaways. I can only say that we should really understand what morals we are deriving out of the storybook before we read it to the children or let them watch the cartoon.
Remember – garbage in, garbage out.
Author is a Consultant and a Creative Writer at Funverks Global