Archive for the ‘fairy tales’ Category

Every night since I was a child, I would cover myself in piles of blankets. I would sleep with my blankets cocooned around my body, pulled up to my ears. Didn’t matter what the weather was, I needed to have at least five blankets over me.

I never really fell out of the habit of needed to keep myself warm at night. My grandfather joked about it a few weeks ago when I said how cold I was at night, even with my sweater and socks and pj pants. I smiled at his joke, but the safety I find in being buried under a pile of blankets goes deeper then a physical need for warmth.

It’s not something I ever really thought consciously about, even during summers when I’d have to cocoon myself at night to the point where a/c didn’t do enough, but I had to sleep with a fan and without clothes and was still hot.

I get it now that I really have no privacy, living with 40 some other people in co-ed dorm-like buildings. Especially since last night I had the best sleep yet in Israel because I had a real blanket, plus sweater and socks and pjs. It was a relief to wake up in the middle of the night because I was too hot. And I wrapped the blanket around myself even tighter.

I was thinking about that last night, the womb-like cocoon of blankets. It’s something I’ve only ever done when sleeping on my own. Cause once someone else is there, the sense of safety has already fled. Imagination can’t be worse then the reality lying beside me. Or something like that.

Bottom line: blankets equal happiness and love and (mental) safety and (mental) security.

Like I’ve said, I have a thing for kids movies. They make me feel innocent somehow.

One movie that gives me hope when it comes to the typical fairy tale is the movie Shrek.

Shrek Forever After, in particular.

I do protest to the male hero rescues the woman. Enter marriage, children, and a happily ever after.

However, I think the Shrek series is a bit different.

You get to see the dynamics of the male/female relationship after the “happily ever after”, and that, I think, makes a difference.

In Shrek Forever After, Shrek wants his freedom, to be as it was before children and marriage. And as such, he essentially sells his life away for an unburdened 24 hours.

I know my opinion is pretty biased, but I am not surprised by this behavour. I think it is pretty typical of men, and in a way, I am glad that it is depicted true to real life.

But this is where the fun really starts:

In this alternate reality where Shrek does not exist, Fiona ends up rescuing herself!

This is what I love about the movie – female empowerment 🙂

This is a strong beautiful and capable woman who took charge of her destiny, and decided, that even though she had been told to remain in her prison until a “prince” came, she would rescue herself.

She then becomes a leader of orgres looking to right the world. She is a leader of men. She exploded through the glass ceiling and came out on top.

Shrek and Fiona act more as equal partners as they battle evil.

Of course, there is the underlying message that love can conquer all. Which I think is the worst message that a movie marketed to young children could give.

Love is what rescues the man this time, and the ball is completely in the woman court.

I love kid’s movies. While I had a pretty idyllic childhood, I carried the secret and burden of being molested with me. So watching kids movies is my method of escapism in the innocent world of childhood I never got.

I recently watched the movie Tangled. And one thing was immediately striking.

The Rapunzel character was being severely emotionally abused by her mother figure, and this abuse explodes violently towards the end of the movie.

For most of the movie, my insides were knotted up with anxiety for the young woman.

I relaxed when she escaped. Yet, as with most fairy tales, she did not use her own resources to escape her prison. She waited until the handsome young man came along to “rescue her”.

The fact that this couple later get into scrapes that the young woman recuses them both from, only furthers my disappointment in this movie. If anything, the young man is a burden whom she should be better off without.

This movie plays into the myth that all too many women believe: We need a man to survive.

Back to the mother figure:

This mother manipulates, controls, and brainwashes her adopted (kidnapped) daughter into fearing the outside world and being afraid to leave her tower. As this mother is her only interaction with the outside world, there is nothing to contradict this believe.

Remember that it is standard behaviour for abusers to isolate their victims, and to make them fearful and suspicious of everyone and everything but themselves. This makes the abuser the victim’s entire world.

When the mother figure “loses control” of her daughter, she then seeks out thugs to control and manipulate, all with the purpose of getting back her daughter, and making her seem like the hero (this will make the false believe system correct, and reconfirm the abusers place as a “god-like” figure – all knowing, and always correct).

So how does the movie resolve itself?

Without revealing too much…

The young woman is once again rescued by the young man.

So my concluding thoughts on this movie?

For adults only. I hate for these messages to be spread to children, and it happens all to often with movie depictions of fairy tales.

 

I grew up loving fairy tales. My mom tried to make them more politically correct when reading them aloud to me, but that did not keep me from an overexposure to fairy tale depictions in movies, in books (once I learned to read), in toys…

I believe that fairy tales are not only harmful to young ladies mental health, but detrimental to their well being.

Let me explain:

Fairy tales fill us with visions of happily every after. With women who are incapable of rescuing themselves from difficulty and must rely on a man to do so for them. Then they wind up together with a bunch of kids. Cue happy music and fading sunset.

What is wrong with this picture?

First off, I honestly do not believe in a happily ever after such as portrayed in fairy tales. The original tales were gory and awful and did not end happily at all. They were later sanitized and rebranded.

Women are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves from tragedy. Not only that, but waiting on a man to rescue them can be even more harmful then helpful. The man who helped rescue me from the life as a trafficked prostitute ended up reviling me and attempting to murder me.

Fairy Tales convince women that as long as we keep the peace in the home, everything will be okay. As long as we are quiet and submissive, we won’t get hit, we won’t get raped, we won’t be condescended.

This is brainwashing.

I’m not saying Fairy Tales are completely to blame. I think society as a whole has a lot to answer for when it comes to Domestic Violence.

But you have to start somewhere. Create your own Fairy Tales. Read alternative ones, where the woman is the hero and needs no man by her side.