Into the Forest discussion

26 views
General > Politically correct endings

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 169 comments I heard on the radio that there is a big push to change fairy tale endings. Parents find the original tales too violent or that they promote the wrong messages.

Examples:
- pinocchio promotes running away from home
- the ugly duckling promotes bullying
- sleeping beauty is kissed without consent.
- beauty and the beast promotes bestiality

There is now a demand with publishers to make the stories family friendly.

Proposed changes:
- In Red Riding Hood, the grandma is only locked in a cupboard. When Red appears her and the wolf talk it over. Wolf has a change of heart and leaves.
- gingerbread man doesn't get eaten. Instead he runs away and lives on an island happily ever after.
- ugly duckling doesn't become a swan. He Just gets stronger and learns to stand up to his bullies
- the three little pigs, the wolf just leaves hungry.


I'm concerned that this will cause libraries to remove all of the old fairy tale books. It's already hard to find many older books. Is it time for libraries/bookstores to make a new category for child friendly vs adult fairy tales?


message 2: by Zanna (last edited May 15, 2018 06:32AM) (new)

Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments In my humble opinion, fairy tales should be recognised as a literature of the oppressed whose liberatory content has often been hidden or sanitised when the tales were collected and rewritten by more dominant elements of the culture.

If I don't like the moral of a story I will talk about why it is this way and what's wrong with it. Developing critical thinking is extremely important.

I once told my boyfriend the story of Apemosyne
Apemosyne was desired by Hermes, so chased her, but she was faster even than him, so he spread fresh hides in her path and she fell. So, he raped her. She went to her brother and told him what had happened. He called her a liar and kicked her to death
I said

"what bothers me about Apemosyne's story isn't so much the rapist god, but the brother who does not believe. We are still not believing survivors"

and my boyfriend said

"what's fine with me with the story is that even though the brother does not believe or know the truth, the people listening to the story and reading it will know the truth and will know better not to repeat the brother's mistake"

and that's exactly right. Since children's stories spoonfeed morals to us, we don't know how to read a story that presents no moral; we don't know how to read critically. This is the political way of thinking: see things as they are, and believe that something else is possible.

But as for changing fairytale endings - why not? They have already been changed many times. A living tale is one whose teller feels free to improvise...


message 3: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 755 comments I don't know that I'm in favor of changing fairy tale endings to make them politically correct.

I think it is more important to deconstruct the tales and explain to the child the subversive messages they transmit; how they reinforce gender stereotypes; their negative impact on a child's self image, etc. etc.

I did it with my two boys when they were young. I think it teaches children critical thinking skills so they learn not only to deconstruct fairytales but also messages in the media, advertising, etc. etc.


message 4: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: " Is it time for libraries/bookstores to make a new category for child friendly vs adult fairy tales? ..."

Mine already puts the more child friendly tales in the children's section and the older collections (Grimms, Anderson's, etc) in the adult non-fiction, so that's sort of already happened.


Honestly, Disney-esque collections have been around for the last couple of decades. So less violent versions are hardly anything new. And that sort of thing has been going on almost since they were written down.

Just look at how drastically the Grimms changed some of their tales just between the original and 7th editions that we all read today. Those are some pretty dramatic changes, all meant to make the tales more kid friendly.

It's in the nature of tales to be retold and changed.


That being said, tales with super PC endings just don't sound that interesting (at least not the ones you've outlined), and I don't see them usurping the original tales any time soon. I'm sure there'll be some incredibly PC versions published, but that's really nothing new.


message 5: by Jalilah (last edited May 16, 2018 04:35AM) (new)

Jalilah | 4541 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "In my humble opinion, fairy tales should be recognised as a literature of the oppressed whose liberatory content has often been hidden or sanitised when the tales were collected and rewritten by mo..."

Tamara wrote: "I don't know that I'm in favor of changing fairy tale endings to make them politically correct.

I think it is more important to deconstruct the tales and explain to the child the subversive messa..."


I agree with both of you Zanna and Tamara!

Original tales should not be changed.
For me as a parent I think it's obvious that many tales are NOT for young children.
I think it's okay to retell tales and make versions for younger children. And as Melanti say she's the Disney versions have already done this. I think it's fine to retell old tales and make new ones, but the original tales should not be lost.

I should add my son hated fairy tales when he was young! It could be because he went to a Waldorf kindergarten which wasn't well suited for him and fairy tales are all they read to the children. When he would go to the library to select books he always wanted nonfiction, books about trains,trucks and cars or animals or bugs , but no fairy tales. The Waldorf teachers told the parents they should only read fairy tales, so I did try. I remember I when read him the ugly duckling he got so upset about the bullying he pounded the book with his fists. Needless to say I did not keep him in the Waldorf school.


message 6: by Leah (last edited May 16, 2018 04:47PM) (new)

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Lila, love your real world example! And I think your story supports my lifelong belief that books should be selected based on the reader (no matter their age) and that reader's interests. I'm one of the oddballs who didn't select "age appropriate" books for my daughter. I let her browse wherever she wanted in the library, guided by her own interests, and I never had to tell her "No, that book's too grown up for you." Plus, we talked about everything she read (in real life and online) anyway. She was homeschooled, by the way.

So no, I'm not worried about PC endings. They've been doing it for centuries and I doubt they'll ever stop. We just have to raise / mentor critical thinkers as much as they churn out the "rainbows and sunshine" versions of stories (all kinds, not just fairy tales; many histories have been rewritten so why would they hesitate with fairy tales, right?)


message 7: by Melanti (last edited May 17, 2018 07:31AM) (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Leah wrote: "Lila, love your real world example! And I think your story supports my lifelong belief that books should be selected based on the reader (no matter their age) and that reader's interests. I'm one o..."

This whole thing reminds me of reading Struwwelpeter earlier this year.... That would be nonpunishable today!


message 8: by Leah (new)

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Melanti wrote: "This whole thing reminds me of reading Der Struwwelpeter earlier this year.... That would be nonpunishable today!"

That looks horrific - I must read it! Did you read it in German? I found this version and wondered if the English translation holds up to original.


message 9: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I don't speak German, unfortunately. It's actually a pretty short picture book. If you want, you can read it online here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12116

And there's a few animated versions up on youtube... Maybe 10 or 15 minutes for the full book.

It's all about misbehaving children suffering dire fates.


message 10: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3769 comments Mod
I agree with what everyone here is saying. I'm reading a lot of fairy tale picture books to my daughter (who at 5 months isn't really interested in the story yet). A lot of them have cut anything harsh or dark from the story to go with a PC version. So, as Melanti said, this is already going on, and has been for centuries.

I do prefer the tales that keep some of the bad things. I want the wolf to be threatening and eat the grandmother. I want there to be danger and threats, because that's what make stories interesting.

In a recent LRRH picture book I read to Marian, the wolf ate the grandmother and LRRH, and then the woodcutter saved them, just like in the original. And then the grandmother sewed rocks into the wolf's belly. But instead of drowning the wolf, the wolf ran away to return to the forest. I wonder why they changed the ending with the wolf, but still had the wolf eat the grandmother and LRRH?

But I do like the fairy tale picture books that subvert the original. Either to make it feminist, or funny, etc. For example, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and [book:Ninja Red Riding Hood|18012467. As Tamara discussed, retelling them in these ways can help kids examine gender stereotypes and violence and storytelling tropes. But they also need to know the original versions to see how they've been subverted.

My library already separates the older fairy tales into adult nonfiction. I seriously doubt they would remove them from the library.


message 11: by Zanna (new)

Zanna (zannastar) | 245 comments And another thing... If folks don't hear the crappy sanitised popular versions of fairytales as kids, they won't get as much fun out of reading The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories.


message 12: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3769 comments Mod
Zanna wrote: "And another thing... If folks don't hear the crappy sanitised popular versions of fairytales as kids, they won't get as much fun out of reading The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories."

True. :)


back to top