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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 But I really don't expect the school to be promoting those outdated ideals.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?

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 20-Nov-12 22:15:56

I think I will go on Mastermind with MrTP as my specialist subject. Nerd.

CurlyhairedAssassin Tue 20-Nov-12 22:22:22

Ha ha! You've made me want to pick up a TP book again, not read one for years! Since the first few were published in fact. He's a very witty man! I met him at a talk he gave once in a bookshop (think it was when Witches Abroad came out actually) - interesting fella......

Sorry for thread hijack, OP, although strictly speaking, I didn't start it. grin

IsabelleRinging Tue 20-Nov-12 22:25:04

I would be more worried about any 4 year old who has not had the oportunity to enjoy fairytales for what they are.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 20-Nov-12 22:25:31

My work here is done <wanders off to find another thread which is even vaguely Terry Pratchett related>. I wish I had met him. Except for meeting him at the wedding, obviously, I'm not lying about being MrsTerryPratchett.

Thread hijack over...

BadgersBottom Tue 20-Nov-12 22:33:20

Completely what ghost said. Unclench yourself OP. In ten years time your DD won't even remember all this never mind be some hapless wench chained up in the kitchen waiting on a man to rescue her to a life of handbag chihuahuas and pink fluffy frou frous. Just let her be a child for heaven's sake.

MurderOfGoths Tue 20-Nov-12 22:36:42

No one is saying that Cinderella is the cause of gender inequality/girls aspiring to be princesses/saved by men, but it* is a factor.

And for those still saying, "well it didn't affect me". That's wonderful for you, have a star, have a pat on the back, it does affect other women. And easy as it may be to just dismiss them because it doesn't affect you, it's lazy thinking.

I'm amazed that people can't see all the ways in which the Disney Princess story is played and replayed in a variety of mediums and formats, and the fact that it is accepted as so damn normal by so many women. I mean look at some of the popular books/films/TV aimed at women, would you say 50 Shades is about a strong woman? Or about a woman being "saved" by her "prince", who has, incidentally, rejected a few "ugly sisters" due to not being like the "princess" - who is a ditzy/helpless type of girl. Never noticed the huge amounts of grown women lusting after Christian Grey? Wishing they could be swept off their feet by him?

Nope, not insidious at all. hmm

*By "it", I mean all Disney Princess/damsel in distress type stories for girls.

jamdonut Tue 20-Nov-12 22:38:47

I don't know if this has been mentioned earlier in the thread..I haven't read it all...but when we did Cinderella with the children, we read several different versions. I don't think any of them had Cinderella "saved" by the Prince. In all of them she was a selfless,kind girl who worked hard,and was treated abysmally by her step-mother and step-sisters.
Cinderella is usually used as an introduction to writing character profiles.
In year 3/4 we expanded on that with tales from othe cultures,which were like the Cinderella story,making comparisons and finding similarities and differences to the stories. It was actually very interesting,using Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (Africa) and The Rough Faced Girl (Native American Indian).

I am quite sure the school is not trying to make little girls into the princess from Enchanted!! wink

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 20-Nov-12 22:41:15

The thing about material subconsciously affecting your behaviour is that it is subconscious. You wouldn't consciously know that it had. My decision to stay with my twunt of a husband for 8 years when i should never have married him... Do I know if all the societal pressure on women to be in a relationship, to be a perfect wife affected me? Not fully.

Cinderella won't fuck them up. The whole weight of stories and media and peer pressure and pink aisles and victim blaming and porn and boys will be boys and all that crap and Barbie saying that Maths is hard and fluffy, pink, pretty pony parties might. A bit. And maybe not for the better.

MurderOfGoths Tue 20-Nov-12 22:44:36

"Cinderella won't fuck them up. The whole weight of stories and media and peer pressure and pink aisles and victim blaming and porn and boys will be boys and all that crap and Barbie saying that Maths is hard and fluffy, pink, pretty pony parties might. A bit. And maybe not for the better."


Just because there are bigger things, and so many of them, should we really not tackle the smaller things? Seeing as those smaller things often pave the way for the bigger things.

Merrycuckingfistmas Tue 20-Nov-12 22:49:32

Go and have a shave and a shag, you will feel much better in the morning.

The dishes can wait wink

gybegirl Tue 20-Nov-12 23:04:23

Let her play dress up - although i can't help thinking Cindarella is a wholly unimaginative book for her teacher to have picked and would keep an eye on their future suggestions.

As a slight antidote to the saccarine dullness, get Revolting Rhymes on audio cd by Roald Dahl. It gives a great take on the old fairy stories - Cindarella gives the psychotic prince he heave go and marries a jam maker instead (although I do tend to talk loudly over the slut reference with my 4 and 6 yo girls!). There's also Little Red Riding Hood, Golilocks (the thief) and Snow White.

The fact that you care about this indicates that you'll naturally guide her into an equal way of thinking!

Dancergirl Tue 20-Nov-12 23:07:38

Oh FFS, why does everything have to have a 'message' or provide a role model? What happened to just a bit of fun?

AND, what exactly is wrong with wanting to get married and live happily ever after? It doesn't mean you can't be a successful independent woman TOO. It's not either or. Most women want to get married or be in a committed relationship.

OP, your dd is still little and at the moment you have some control over her life. But you'll find that that control lessens as she gets older and she will be influenced by all sorts of things. And you won't be able to monitor what she reads either.

Dancergirl Tue 20-Nov-12 23:10:14

Oh, and I have NO problem in my 3 dds reading fairy tales, dressing up, watching Disney films and wearing pink if that's what they want to do. It bears NO relationship to the women they'll become.

SavoyCabbage Tue 20-Nov-12 23:11:35

My dd went to a princess party as a tiger.

I know where you are coming from. Cinderella is an odd topic and Disney Cinderella is worse. There are so much more interesting things in the world. We went to look at a school and they had a mural of rappunzzel in the cloakroom and my dd said 'who is that?' so the head told her and dd said It does't look like her. She's not black' as we have this book.

ExitPursuedByMarieAntoinette Tue 20-Nov-12 23:21:42

I despair.

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 23:40:59

The OP doesn't even know if the Cinderella read in class was the Disney version. The teacher simply used an image on the invitation (and probably thought it was a nice touch to do the invitations in the first place).

In defense of Disney, their latest princesses (Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida) have been very strong female leads. So maybe blaming Disney for everything is a bit iffy. Cinderella was made in 1950 after all.

If anything, I think that Disney were encouraged to create a brand from their previous princess films by the popularity of Princess Diana worldwide in the 80s.

meboo Tue 20-Nov-12 23:49:52

Children will be influenced by many other things in life than a fairytale, I want to scream 'take a chill pill and have a G&T'

LadyBeagle Wed 21-Nov-12 00:12:38

Well Cinderella certainly influenced me in a good way.
But I'm off to bed now, Charming is calling me
<Removes glass slippers, pink frilly dress and tiara>
Hope someone's got rid of that bloody pea under the mattress as well, it's been keeping me awake.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 21-Nov-12 01:25:04

<<bangs head on keyboard>> <<repeatedly>>

Step Wed 21-Nov-12 08:37:10

Oh FFS.....

I object to Disneyfication of Aschenputel and some of the Grimms' beautiful fairytales, most of which have a moral dimension. However Janosch has a great book where they're all reversed eg the frog kisses the princess and she comes to live with him in his underwater kingdom but that's a different thread.
The original version of Aschenputel (though maybe not of the tale) has a daughter swearing to her father she'll be good and kind and trust in God. Despite her hard times she remained true and kind after his death. For which she was rewarded... Seems a resonable moral to me. Remain true to your promises and a moral upstanding person and you'll reap the rewards.
The Disney fairy Godmother etc is all a Holywood afterthought.
Oh and it's a bloody fairytale.

LadyBeagle Wed 21-Nov-12 09:01:23

So may be we should start censoring all books that don't show women as equal.
How about that one with the 5 daughters all looking for a husband, while the men are are all in positions of power.
That'll be Pride and Prejudice won't it?
And Tess of the D'urbervilles, well wasn't she just a victim, lets ban that too, eh?
Our daughters shouldn't be reading any of that patriarchal crap, should they?

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