I Live in a Fairy Tale

How many of you grew up watching or reading fairy tales? I would say that probably close to 99% of us did in some shape or form. Whether it was a video, a book, a movie…we all had our fair share of fairy tale time. I loved fairy tales! My favorite was always The Little Mermaid. I wanted to be just like Ariel. But Sleeping Beauty ran a close second.

What was your favorite fairy tale as a child?

As an adult, my favorite fairy tale has changed and now I like the story of Beauty and The Beast the most. Why the change? I think as an adult, and specifically as a female adult, I don’t like the idea that fairy tales teach young girls that they need a man to save them. In most stories there is a damsel in distress who can only be saved by the heroics of a man. Now don’t misunderstand, I am NOT some male-hating feminist but I am an independent woman who likes to think of herself as capable ON MY OWN. I love Keith with all my heart but I think what I love most about him is that he knows how important my individuality and independence is to me.

Side story: it took me close to 6 months before I would change my name after we got married. It was just hard for me. But once I realized that sharing Keith’s last name didn’t mean the end of who I was… I willingly changed it. It meant a lot that Keith never forced me to change my name and just let me do it on my own time.

Okay…sorry back to fairy tales. The reason I like Beauty and The Beast (and I know there are others) is because I feel like she saves him and he saves her. I think it teaches little girls that they can be the heroine! I also want little girls to know that if they grow up and don’t find “prince charming” then it is okay and it doesn’t say anything about them or their character!! Sometimes things just come and happen later in life. My Aunt didn’t get married until she was 50! I am not going to tell you that I won’t watch another fairy tale or that if I have children they won’t see them too. What I am saying is that I think the importance is placed too highly on “Mr. Right swooping in and saving the poor little dear.”

What do you think?


34 Responses

  1. i would totally agree with that about beauty and the beast! i also like aladdin and the fact that jasmine is a really strong and independent woman in there too 🙂

    on the name change thing, I was excited to change my last name, but i kept my maiden name as my middle name because i loved it and thought it really defined a lot about me. i would do the same thing again today!

  2. You have a very valid point… I loved Sleeping Beauty as a child- but Aurora was kind of the dumb chick who kept getting herself into trouble and having to be saved… not setting a good example at all! Especially since she never listened and touched the needle on the spinning wheel- follow directions!!!!

  3. I didn’t change my name either right away. I thought about it long and hard, and finally did it about 6 months after our wedding. And I still sign everything with my old last name AND my new last name– and intend to do so forever!

    It’s funny, because in my classes, my students always say “feminist” with a look on their face like they stepped in something– when really the only definition of a feminist is someone who thinks men and women should be treated equally and have equal rights! I agree that some of the old school fairytales out there send the wrong message…but I still have a soft spot for them in my (feminist) heart! 🙂

  4. I was just talking to my sister about whether she’s going to change her name…she’s on the fence. Props to Keith for being such an awesome husband!

    I feel the same way about fairy tales. I never thought about Beauty and the Beast that way, but you are right. That’s one of my big beefs with the Twilight series, actually. Bella is SO reliant on either Jacob or Edward, but at least they seem nearly as needy.

  5. What a great question. Hard to say though. Modern-day “fairy tales” can work for me…Shrek maybe?

  6. Oh, I refused to give up my last name so I hyphenated. It may be one long-a$$ name, but Iacobacci is all me! I think my favorite fairy tale would have been Cinderella. While it is about Prince Charming, it’s also about the good coming out on top.

  7. Hm, I always loved The Lion King. Not sure what that says about my femininity. I think it also has a lot to do with the time period the movies were created. Snow White, for instance, was made during a time where that’s just how life was for women and it was expected. It’s funny how much more empowered current fairytale heroines are now than the main characters in the first ones were.

    • That is a good point…modern day fairy tales do seem to have stronger women in them..which I love. I think was one of the reasons I like Hermione so much in Harry Potter…she was such a spunky little thing!!

  8. My favorite was definitely The Little Mermaid! Although Beauty and the Beast would probably be a close second! I’m such a dreamer, and such a girly girl… I was so excited about changing my last name. I looked at it as us becoming one as a family. BUT, I have since learned that it is not traditional in many other cultures to do that. I find that interesting and highly respectable. If a woman finds comfort in keeping her family name, I say more power to her!! 🙂 Plus, it’s such a pain to change a name!!!!!! haha!!

  9. Hahaha oh my favorite was definitely The Little Mermaid. I even have The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea… But it’s an interesting point. I don’t really like the childhood fairy tales because they’re all a little too perfect (will always have a soft spot for my Disney Classics, though). Have you read Hans Christian Andersen’s original story of The Little Mermaid? Totally scarred me.
    Beauty and the Beast scares me. I still own it, though. But it just scared me a lot. I actually saw it on Broadway, though, which was fantastic. 🙂
    And it is a good story. I’m just a wimp.

  10. I had always planned to hyphenate my last name but had I done that, my name would now make a sentence… C. Maggie Roe-Tate (say it out loud to get the full effect.) So, I dropped the maiden name! We named our first dogs Spinner and Turner to commemorate the hyphenated name. 🙂

  11. I loved Cinderella when I was a little. She’s still my favourite princess, although I definitely prefer the Ever After fiesty version now that I’ve grown up.

    I completely understand what you’re saying about Beauty and the Beast. She’d be my pick if I were choosing a princess these days.

  12. I am loving your posts this week! You are getting me thinking on a Friday night and that says A LOT! haha I used to love Cinderella, and honestly I don’t know what my favorite would be right now. My sister in law won’t let her children watch any of the Disney movies because she is a feminist, so I’ll have to recommend Beauty and the Beast to her to start with. She’s a bit extreme. I had a difficult time changing my name too, but then my mom changed hers back to her maiden name and I kind of lost my connection to it. Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. wow all these deep posts this week, kelly! fairy tales..as a child i never really believed them much. i was a kid who didnt like cartoons, i know, shocking. as an adult, i dont do “fairy tales” per se with skylar as they seem so antiquated and yes, not promoting strong independent woman vibe!

  14. I also like that Belle does not fall for the handsome jacka**. Rather she falls for the one based on who he is. I think too many people are seeking something specific (mostly looks) and don’t realize that the person least likely to be the one…is the one.

  15. With the divorce rate – I definitely don’t believe in Prince Charming…although I’m sure you’ve found yours! I love The Little Mermaid but I just associate it with the movie…so maybe I’d say Cinderalla or Sleeping Beauty too.

  16. i love that you held out on changing your name. not sure that i have a fairy tale fav.

  17. My fave has always been Cinderella and will always be Cinderella. I think she is “THE” Disney Princess. Yes the actual story is not the best for a little girl to live by but again its a “Fairytale” and we all know that and so do little girls. Now to reality……nope I didn’t change my name and I never will and our daughter has my last name as her middle name…..why should she just have DH’s? I had all the hard work delivering and carrying her 😉

  18. I agree 100%. I think those fairy tales did not set me up for success at all and gave me an idea of what a man should be and it still hasn’t happened. Which I’m not completely bummed about but more so my the false hope.

  19. I think there is so much out there that gives this type of message, movies, novels, tv, etc. We grow up with fairy tales and we continue to be told these types of stories as we grow up and my parents always made it a point to separate fiction from reality for me.

    I learned that I could keep my independence and have love at the same time watching my parents. My Mother is incredibly strong and independent, yet deeply in love with my Father and takes pride in being a wife.

    I do read fairy tales to my Daughter and she watches the movies, but I also read all sorts of different books and stories to her and I know that her home life will be what influences her life the most, so I strive to show her it’s ok for women to be strong and independent, like my Mom taught me.

  20. I grew up on Disney movies like WHOA. My mom actually took me to see The Little Mermaid thirteen times in the theaters. True story. For the most part I think books and movies portray women to be much stronger characters than they used to, which is one of the reasons why I struggle with the Twilight series. I think those books portray and glamorize Bella as a weak girl who is really dependent on her relationship and it really makes me sad that so many girls are growing up thinking this is the “gold standard!”

  21. Hmm…I have quite different thoughts about this one. With the last name I believe most our maiden names originally come from our fathers. So it’s a man’s name also. And why to have your childhood family’s name if you have started your own family? It made me feel independent to be able to choose tha man I would marry and change my name.

    In the old fairytales the woman was good just by being herself. Now the new fairytales teach young girls that you have to be this and that to be good. I don’t think that’s good either. No man or women should have to “earn” their place in the world, they should be loved and accepted as they are and encouraged to be themselves. In my opinion 🙂

  22. I didn’t watch a lot of fairytales when I was younger and the only one I had on VHS was Beauty & The Beast. I think I liked it because of the reasons you said and Belle was a bookworm like me! I agree about the whole “Prince Charming” thing. I see so many smart girls who think they will live “happily ever after” once they meet their prince … and who have given up a lot of their goals/friendships, etc. once they found a guy. I love girls that are strong and independent (but not overly so – you gotta know when to ask for help!), which is why I love you :). As a few people already mentioned, this is why I didn’t really like Twilight – Bella drove me crazy!

    I am fiercely independent (probably sometimes annoyingly so), but I woudn’t be totally honest if I said I never dream about Prince Charming! I do blame fairy tales and chick flicks for this!

  23. You’re right, a lot of fairy tales have the “damsel in distress” archetype and I wonder about what kind of message it sends…
    My favourites were always Little Mermaid and The Lion King. I was (and still am) such an animal lover which was one of the things that made me want to watch Lion King over and over and over..

  24. I am totally a Little Mermaid girl! My mom hates that movie to this day because I watched it All. The. Time.!

  25. I keep going back and forth about changing my name. I think the idea is sort of antiquated but at the same time, I think it also can symbolize us as a family unit. Jason doesn’t care which I do. I keep going back and forth with it though.

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