Grimm Fairytales ‘Revamped’ But Spout The Same Sexist Crap

Two classic fairytales have been re-imagined or “sweetened” rather for today’s tots: , ”Rapunzel,” by Sarah Gibb and ”Twelve Dancing Princesses” by Brigette Barrager. According to The New York Times, these authors have assumed a “gentler” narrative for these gorgeously-illustrated picture books. Yet, despite tactics to make these stories more kid-accessible, sexist attitudes about women and passivity remain.

Pamela Paul at The Times observes:

As Gibb would have it, the princesses are passive innocents and unaware of the spell sleepdancing, as it were. They can be rescued only by the handsome young cobbler, Pip, who toils away mending their worn-out shoes. This ends ”” can you guess? in a joyous wedding between Pip and the princess Poppy. ”And, of course, they all lived happily ever after.” Very attractively, though inactively, so.

I find it quite telling that sex and violence have been removed from these tales but stereotypes about women remain a kosher part of storytelling. There may no graphic scenes in these picture books but children learning that “passive” princesses can only be rescued from spells by a “handsome young cobbler” is just as damaging. Revamp indeed. Reads like the same old trajectory to me.


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