Have you checked out the shelf in the kids’ section of the Bowen Island Library that’s filled with folk tales?
There are so many old, and often scary stories that don’t quite seem to fit with the lessons most of us look for in children’s books.
Standing in front of these books, I’ve often found myself baffled by them. I’ve wondered why on earth would anyone read Rapunzel to their kid, especially to their daughter?!
Then I stumbled upon an essay explaining that fairy tales served as powerful warnings from mothers to their children, especially their daughters, in a time when mothers’ lives were all too often cut horribly short. This made sense, and fit in to a story I was already telling myself about my daughter, “She’s definitely going to take tae-kwon-do because I’m not sending her into the world without the ability to defend herself.” Fairy tales are the emotional, intellectual equivalent to putting our daughters in self-defence classes.
It is 2018, and this is how I think.
It’s not irrational, but it is unfortunate. It’s also sad and sickening, how little progress we’ve made as a species that claims to be moral and rational, as a society that claims to be “civilized.”
It’s a word I want my kids to know and understand, but I don’t know how to get them there. My five year-old is immersed in it already. It’s Paw Patrol, where the boss is a white male, where boys are “normal” and can be all kinds of things, girls are “other” and wearing pink, of course. Instead of being presented as a fun, happy and cute. Suddenly, the fairy tale section seems a whole lot less scary to this parent.
So, you’ll see me on Saturday at the Bowen Island Library, this time on the lawn attending the second annual Women’s March. I’m going because the same old stories are just not good enough anymore. I’m going because I want to help build a better reality, and start writing a new script to go with it.