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Once upon a time, in a land not very far away from your home, lived a little girl, Anna, whose parents were reading fairytales to her. Anna was ready to get tucked in to bed and her eyes were starting to get droopy. But she fought against her sleepiness because she wanted to finish listening to the story of Cinderella. Actually that scene is everywhere. In the straw huts of Kenya, in the marble made houses of Los Angeles, the penthouses in New York City or even in the countryside houses in Japan’s rice farms.
“…and Cinderella and the prince lived happily ever after.”
“Ah, I love that story, daddy. Will you read it to me again tomorrow?”
“I’ve already read it to you at least twenty times.”
“I know but I want to memorize it so that I can be just like Cinderella and marry Prince Charming.”
That is a conversation that millions and millions of fathers and daughters share. The story may vary between Cinderella and other princesses but they all end in the same way. “The princess marries the prince and they live happily ever after.”
In all sorts of languages, with different colored glossy pages there are, stories of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. But under all that gloss, is it really a happily ever after? Can parents really be rest assured that their beloved children will go to bed with good morals from reading those stories? The truth is that they can’t. Unless they believe that good morals are to plant ideas such as beauty is the MOST IMPORTANT thing or get married to Prince Charming and you’ll live happily ever after as it is women’s only goal in life. These stories are set in an imaginary world which is not suitable for an independent, smart, 21st century woman. Women of the 21st century should be recognized for their intelligence and socially successful life.
In fairytales, women are associated with kindness, eagerness to help others and not expressing their opinion. For example, Cinderella never complains when she does work nor does she ever tell her stepmother to shut up. She just quietly endures it. Another example would be how Snow White always prepares dinner for the dwarves before they come home. Not only will she prepare dinner she will also clean and sweep the entire house. All the princesses in fairytales are beautiful. Are they trying to tell children that if you are not beautiful you are mean, nasty and you’ll end up like the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella? If a person was born beautiful, does it mean they will achieve great goals? No. Take Albert Einstein for instance. Everyone knows that Albert Einstein is not male model material but he is a great theoretical physicist and he discovered many things that made inspired people and made people think of him as a hero or an idol. This is only one example that shows the difference between reality and fairytales.
In all fairytales, Prince Charming is the prize at the end. There are so many princesses in fairytales but they all end up with Prince Charming. Does it mean that there are several princes in the world with the same name or does it mean that Prince Charming has more than one wife? It is highly unlikely that there are several princes with the same name so, why are fairytales trying to teach children the concept of polygamy and such a young age? In this modern day world that we all live in, polygamy is no longer accepted in many countries. Another point is that why is it a happily ever after if you get married to Prince Charming? Why is it that a man is prize? There are plenty alternative endings that could also be another type happily ever after. None of the stories ever end with the girl getting a master’s degree from Harvard Law and working at a top law firm.
Some might say that fairytale reading is a time for families to bond. However, bonding with parents or family members is a time that children will remember and cherish when they grow older so teaching them these horrible morals will not allow them to grow up with good principles. Some might also say that fairytales keep children away from the horrors of our world today. But is it the best to shelter them from these truths. There are other ways to protect children. Children need to know the truth but when parents feed their children these non realistic stories it’s so bad that it should be considered a felony. There are plenty of alternatives to fairytales that also give good morals without the ending always being a happily ever after with Prince Charming.
Children cannot live in a world of fantasy forever so stories that are set in an imaginary world are not suitable for their growth. These stories have no benefit for children and they damage children’s ability to express their own opinion and adapt to the real world where the prize at the end of hard work is not always Prince Charming.
And so Anna lived happily ever after because her mind was not corrupted by the false lies that come from manufactured fairytales.