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to think a school party based on Cinderella is sexist and hardly positive promotion of women?

(146 Posts)
NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:23:06

I've name changed as this will out me.

DD's teacher read Cinderella as the class book last week. She is in Reception. I shuddered when she told me as I'm not a fan of stories where women are judged on their looks (ugly stepsisters, pretty Cinderella) and need to be rescued by a man.

Anyway, one week of reading a book that is morally questionable isn't going to hurt dd so I didn't say anything when the teacher told me at parents evening.

However, dd1 has come home today with a letter informing of a 'Fairytale ball' and the children are encouraged to go dressed as a fairytale character. When I read this, I thought ok, we can try and pick a positive role model for her to go as. However the letter also says the Ball is based on their Cinderella week and on the letter is a picture of (what I think is) the Disney prince and princess from Cinderella in all their finery holding hands. So dd (who has never had any inclinations towards pink and princess tat) now wants only to dress up as a princess and I quote "get married and live happily ever after" [anger]

Honestly I never thought I would be this annoyed but the more I think of it, the more disappointed in her (very nice) teacher . Am I in a time warp? Is this 1974? Shall I just tie dd to the sink now and tell her the brains in her head count for nothing and the way she looks and getting married are all that are important in life?

I'm trying to raise a strong and independent woman. I understand that playing with a barbie and dressing as a princess doesn't prevent me from doing that. But I really don't expect the school to be promoting those outdated ideals.

I am fully prepared to accept IABU, and I actually hope I am so I can let this go, but surely in this day and age they could have found a story where boys and girls are equal and looks don't come into it.

So AIBU? If so, why? If not, would you mention it at school?

Sirzy Tue 20-Nov-12 17:25:50

Personally I think your over thinking things although I can understand your frustrations to an extent.

As long as they read a good variety of books and do appropriate activites related to them then I can't see a problem with it as a one off

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Tue 20-Nov-12 17:27:44

Overthinking it. It's a fairytale

natwebb79 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:29:44

Erm, a bit of an over reaction I think...

GoingBackToSchool Tue 20-Nov-12 17:29:58

But you said that it won't prevent you from raising a strong and independant woman, and she wants to dress up, so why not? Agree that you're over thinking

Euphemia Tue 20-Nov-12 17:30:52

I agree you're over-thinking it. If you start unpicking the fairytales they're all very old-fashioned and offensive in some way!

I prefer to view them as part of our rich story-telling heritage. You can discuss with DD how "We don't do things they way they used to, when these stories were written," and try to help her see them as a charming part of our past, and no more than that.

pjmama Tue 20-Nov-12 17:31:48

Overreacting a bit IMO. My DS loves Lightning McQueen, but I don't think he wants to be a car when he grows up. DD however DOES want to be a penguin, but hey ho. Point is, it's just fairy tales and presumably isn't the only message she's getting? Let her dress up and be a princess, what's the harm?

BlueberryHill Tue 20-Nov-12 17:31:48

How about Shrek, she is still a princess, just one who can do karate kicks?

I'd be uncomfortable with this tbh. What about the little girls who don't want to be princesses? Where is their place in a Cinderella Ball? sad

Selim Tue 20-Nov-12 17:32:15

I think knowing fairytales is really important.

You could try introducing 'real' queens and princesses. Boadicea, Victoria, Elizabeth I and others. Have her think about what it takes to rule a country, command armies and govern people.

FWIW, I agree that Disney Princesses are a terrible role model and shoved down their necks at every turn. Cheap, nasty, dis-empowering drivel.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:33:27

I will let her dress up in whatever she wants whilst telling her that women are actually equal to men and do not need to be 'rescued'

McPhee Tue 20-Nov-12 17:35:32

She could go as a pumpkin, a rat/mouse, the prince

Who said she has to be Cinderella

It just needs a bit of imagination.

Personally I can't see what the fuss is about

It's only a bit of fun

Meh

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Tue 20-Nov-12 17:35:35

YANBU.

Selim Tue 20-Nov-12 17:35:58

If you don't want to be a princess then you can be a mother or a grandmother or a godmother or a little girl or a mermaid or a wise woman or a bear or an enchantress or a witch or a wolf or a prince or a queen or a fairy or a troll or a billygoat or a pumpkin or a rat or a coachman or a king.

mrskeithrichards Tue 20-Nov-12 17:36:10

Part of being strong and independent is being able to think for yourself.

Just sayin'

MikeOxard Tue 20-Nov-12 17:39:44

Well I am a bit of a feminist, and even I think YAB a bit U. If she was a little bit older, more able to understand, and these ideas meant something to her, then I would agree, but she's only little. It's a baby story and she won't want to be cinderella for long.

The people who think it's no big deal. Do you think girls magically want to be pink princesses or do you think there is an element of societal pressure? If so, should we be pressuring girls to want to aspire to: prettiness; niceness; being rescued; frankly being a bit dim; half of the time being asleep r unconscious while the action is going on; relying on your fabulous hair to save you?

When I read those studies where girls say they would rather be pretty than clever, I wonder if fairy tales and Disney are all that harmless.

LeeCoakley Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:01

I was going to say you are over-thinking it but from dd3's point of view (tomboy) she would have been horrified if she was expected to dress up as a princess. Me too. I would have tried to be off sick that day. As long as there are other characters (e.g. mice, rats) that are acceptable I suppose it's ok.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:10

"presumably isn't the only message she's getting" - That's the problem, the only messages she is getting from this book and negative about the role of women in society.

And yes, I do pick apart the books and influences I share with her. That is why she hadn't heard the Cinderella story till they read it at school.

I went to the libary with dd after school to try and find a fairy tale that has a positive role model. The best I could find, in the short time, was Hansel and Gretal where the Gretal is the one who does the rescuing. And like MrsTerryPratchett says, this is a good opportunity to introduce her to women who are strong role models.

And if she wanted to grow up and be a penguin or a car I wouldn't care. My point is the subconscious message she is receiving that women are weaker and need men to be happy. And the fact, this message is coming from school that is annoying me.

GoingBackToSchool Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:25

Also, I just spent an entire afternoon with two 3 year old princesses who were going out to buy tiaras. But they were also going out to save their princes who had got 'stuck in a snow pond'. Princesses can be the rescue-ers sometimes too! :D

Chandon Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:51

what do you mean, is this 1974?!

I never dressed up as a princess in the 70s, I DID dress up as Pippi Longstocking though! (now there is a role model)

Anyway, girls grow out of this princess stage, try doing this in Y4! So not a biggie.

WhenShallWeThreeKingsMeetAgain Tue 20-Nov-12 17:42:13

Oh FFS, OP - just that.........FFS !!!

KurriKurri Tue 20-Nov-12 17:42:40

Might be worth looking at some of these titles for some more inspiring Fairy Tales for you DD.

I'm generally in favour of Fairy Tales as being somewhere where children can explore their fears and darker ideas from a safe place. But if I was using them as a teaching project, I would be discussing the moral implications with the children, and encouraging them to be critical.

I totally agree with you about the need for positive female role models for girls, based on presence of mind, or other qualities of character rather than looks.

The Ball idea sounds a bit ill thought out - or at least the illustration on the invitation. Would have been better if the children had been given a free choice of character to choose.

NewNameForThisThreadOnly Tue 20-Nov-12 17:43:04

Sorry for typo's trying to cook dinner and be outraged at the same time grin

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