Once upon a time, in a far away land called Yoo-Kay, a parenting website polled 3,000 mothers about the stories they told their children. And lo and behold, a significant proportion of them refused to read certain traditional fairy tales to their Precious Darlings, finding them either too ominous or not PC enough.
Quoth the Telegraph:
Favourites such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Rapunzel are being dropped by some families who fear children are being emotionally damaged.
A third of parents refused to read Little Red Riding Hood because she walks through woods alone and finds her grandmother eaten by a wolf.
One in 10 said Snow White should be re-named because “the dwarf reference is not PC”.
Rapunzel was considered “too dark” and Cinderella has been dumped amid fears she is treated like a slave and forced to do all the housework.
Now, I can understand that some of the classic fairy tales have some slightly scary parts, and some of them are fairly gruesome in the original (hint to parents: stick to the Disney versions at bedtime). But seriously…Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood are the stuff of which 3-year-olds’ nightmares are made of?! I would have thought that good triumphing over evil (which is the ultimate message of all the stories mentioned) is a comforting message to little tykes, and serves as a safe way to help them make sense of the complex world we live in. Denying the existence of evil is never healthy – children can come up against the real thing all too soon. How can you teach your child to avoid bad people if such terms aren’t even in their lexicon?
And if Snow White’s dwarves aren’t PC enough, how the hell will these parents deal with their preteen wanting to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s books?
I would like to think these parents will come to their senses and we’ll all live happily ever after, but given the increasing tendency to coddle children these days, I think this trend will only intensify. And I think that’s rather sad.
Filed under: Risk perception |