For a long time, I have not been a fan of the children/fairy tale stories. The main reason for my apathy towards stories such as Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, among others, is that they portray the princesses as weak girls, so fragile and at the mercy of a others. In these stories, it seems that in order to be a strong woman one has to be evil and ruthless. Conversely, the frail princess must always be saved by a prince that will finally give her her place in the kingdom. Without the intervention and bravery of a handsome prince, the princesses would’ve never made it in the world.
Recently, I went to see Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman and the new twists on the role of the princesses presented in the movies impressed me. Long I have longed for princesses that are a depiction of the strength of women. Long I have been crying that girls need to be taught that they do not need a prince to save them and define them. I feel all women have been vindicated through these characters in fairy tale land and in real life!
Even more interesting is that the princesses in these stories either save the prince (Mirror Mirror) or decide to live without a prince (Snow White and the Huntsman). Both princesses fight to take back their kingdoms and redeem the people who have suffered from the rule of the evil queen. Beauty is still a priced commodity in the movies but the focus is on the strength of women, either for good or for bad, I must ad. However, women are smart and the protagonists of their own lives. Moreover, having a pure heart does not mean to be a pushover in these stories, but rather, to bring justice to all.
I am glad to see that these fairy tale stories have been “updated”. As the roles of women have expanded, what we teach our daughters and sons about what a woman is must evolve too. Maybe it’s time to update Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and all the other classic princesses’ stories to depict women as more empowered, intelligent, wise, clever, strong, and ethnically, racially, and physically diverse, just as we are in real life!