Scholar-Journalist

It’s time we took a step back from regressive storytelling

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By Sahiti Gabrani

It’s no doubt that the surroundings of children, what they see and hear form the basis of what they imbibe as they grow up. Their perception of things around them defines just how much empathy they would have and what their basic principles in life would be in their adulthood.   

The moulding of children’s minds starts from an early age, and so, the stories we weave and tell them become a huge part of it. That is why bedtime stories for children come with a moral at the end. It is, therefore, important to understand that some of the well-known classic fairy tales might not be the best way to promote themes such as women’s empowerment.

If you ask me why, I will illustrate this with an example. Some famous Disney princess stories depict how a woman has to be rescued by a man from within a tower, or from her evil stepmother. These stories reinforce the stereotype that the girls themselves are not doing much to change their situation. The people hearing or watching these tales are left to wonder that the poor girl was fortuitous enough to be rescued.

Equally problematic is the unrealistic body standards set by these stories in which a thin, white-skinned, female protagonist has all the beauty but no brains. For a child encountering these stories while growing up, these can be restrictive and damaging. And therefore, they begin to consider that the idea of beauty and happiness is synonymous with immaterial things.

If these anti-feminist stories are exposed to their impressionable young minds, we would move a step backward as a society and fail to inculcate independence, individuality and free thinking.

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