Feminist campaigner calling for a ban on princess stories

Should fairytales be banned? [Photo: Getty]
Should fairytales be banned? [Photo: Getty]

A feminist campaigner wants to ban princess stories in the hope it will encourage young girls to break free from gender stereotypes.

While tales of princesses and knights on white horses are loved by many, author Jos Dirkx doesn’t believe they offer children a positive reflection of “modern values.”

The Dubai-based writer also believes the characters in certain tales offer a one-dimensional portrayal of women and therefore aren’t necessarily the type of role models kids should look up to.

“Though there’s nothing wrong with keeping some traditional stories around – after all, the goal is to make space for everyone – we do want to create as much space for as many different kinds of stories as possible,” the 31-year-old told MailOnline.

Instead of traditional fairy tales, the campaigner wants to encourage parents to read more “inclusive and diverse stories” to their children to “build trust, understanding, empathy and confidence.”

She hopes that more “inclusive” stories will help children of both sexes understand that old stereotypical rules shouldn’t hamper their own ambitions.

The author isn’t the only one to speak out about the messages fairy tales and other stories are giving children.

Last October Keira Knightley opened up about her decision to ban her daughter from watching certain fairy tales because she doesn’t want her growing up thinking she has to be rescued by a man.

During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Knightley talked about how she has “banned” some famous princess films at home.

The story of ‘Cinderella’ is at the top of the list because, as Knightley explained, “She waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t. Rescue yourself — obviously.”

‘The Little Mermaid’ is also a no-go for 3-year-old Edie, even though the toddler loves the film. “The songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man!” Knightley noted. “Hello!”

A campaigner is calling for a ban on princess stories [Photo: Getty]
A campaigner is calling for a ban on princess stories [Photo: Getty]

It seems many parents share Knightley’s views as a recent survey revealed that parents are changing the plots of classic fairytales when reading to their children because of violence and political incorrectness.

The poll, which was commissioned by musicMagpie, included 2,000 parents and revealed that one in four took creative liberties when sharing fairytales with their children to suit their beliefs and ideologies.

Meanwhile, another 16% confessed to banning them altogether.

Many parents were concerned about gender stereotypes with one in four parents finding it inappropriate that Cinderella has to do all of the cleaning in her home.

The issue of consent played another role in parents switching up story time with 25 per cent arguing that Sleeping Beauty poses a consent issue, given that Prince Charming kisses the princess while she is asleep.

And last October feminist writer Scarlett Curtis sparked a debate after calling for fairytales to be rewritten because of the messages they send.

The writer was debating with fiction author Adele Parks over the issue during an appearance on ‘Good Morning Britain’ and claimed the tradition tales represented an “unrealistic expectation” of life.

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