This is the second of a two parter on raising girls, here's Paul's. This is mine.
G has been asking for stories all the time lately. She wants us to make up stories out of our heads. It can get tiring. I can come up with some fun stories off the top of my head, but sometimes they're just: "Once upon a time there was a little girl who went to the park. She saw a puppy, it barked. The End"
So, sometimes I retell fairy tales off the top of my head. The Three Bears, Cinderella, Snow White.
The other day I was nearing the end of Snow White when I started wanting to edit it. The ending bugged me in a way it never had before.
In the version we have on our shelf (that I was telling from memory), Snow White is in her glass coffin with a dwarf guarding her and the prince comes along and, since she is so beautiful, decides he must have her in his castle. What a jerk! The dwarves were mourning their friend, guarding her night and day, and along comes this guy out of nowhere to take her away! And of course, the ending of her waking up and instantly falling in love with him? Do I really want my daughter to take that as an example?
But here's the thing - I also grew up on those fairy tales and I don't have (that) warped of a view of love/men. So, I don't think I should censor or edit those classic tales.
However, I do want to think about what stories are available to her. Female role models beyond the standard disney princess.
Despite being annoying, Dora the Explorer is great - she's a girl with a compass and a backpack who decides where she gets to go. Unfortunately, she's also on EVERYTHING (including a pack of carrots I saw recently), and I don't love the rampant consumerism cartoons like that encourage.
I love (and G loves) Jessie from Toy Story. She is a great cowgirl who is strong and confident.
But, what I really love is a book I discovered last week. Brave Margaret, an irish folktale told by Robert San Souci that is a fantastic story of a woman who fights a sea monster and a giant. It's one of the most refreshing tales of a strong female lead I've read. I instantly thought - I must buy this and have it on my shelf. It's a little too old for G and M at this point, but I can't wait for them to discover it when they're old enough.
I love classic fairy tales, but I also want my girls to know that they can be the ones with the sword.