October 19, 2018

Fairy Tales, Banned Books, and Censorship

This week, Twitter was on fire with a story covered by news outlets such as USA Today, Parents Magazine, Pop Sugar Family, E! News, and Sky News. Actresses Kristen Bell and Keira Knightley came out, in separate, unrelated interviews, with some anti-classic Disney princess arguments. Bell raised issues about Snow White and consent because Prince Charming kisses her when she's sleeping. Knightley was concerned that Cinderella teaches little girls to wait for the rich guy to save them. Many opinions—both in agreement and opposing—have flooded the Internet.

In response, I tweeted, "Remember it’s fiction. Fairy godmothers aren’t real either. Just educate your children so they can make intelligent choices vs outright banning the movies." In the case of Snow White...the prince kissed her when she was (for all intents and purposes) dead and lying in a glass coffin. The kiss that brought her back to life could arguably be a life-saving procedure in which Good Samaritan laws apply. As for Cinderella...she wasn't waiting around for a prince to rescue her. Even though she had been reduced to a life of servitude in her own home, she was content. She only wanted to go to the ball. And she did. In killer glass slippers.

Banning a movie or a book because you don't agree with its content? That seems remarkably like censorship.


Books are often banned because they introduce threatening ideas. Some that have made the cut over the years may surprise you... Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Jack London's The Call of the Wild. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods. J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. William Golding's The Lord of the Flies. Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey.

How many of these books have you read?


I grew up in a very sheltered home. My mom pre-screened movies before she let me and my sister watch them. I missed quite a few movies that way. And, needless to say, I was a little unprepared for real life when I went away to university.

When it comes to our boys (currently aged 10 and 8), my husband and I mildly disagree over what they can and can't watch on TV. Where I cautiously check commonsensemedia.org before family movie nights; my husband let our oldest watch Family Guy. 😲 First of all, I am not a fan of Family Guy. Back in the day, I wasn't allowed to watch The Simpsons. Something about Bart's disrespectful attitude? (One of the shows I definitely watched in university!) Well, The Simpsons don't have anything on Family Guy. My husband said it was better that our oldest get exposed to "grown-up" topics at home where we could explain them versus the playground where anything goes. I agree. To a point. Family Guy isn't exactly the most accurate of sex education sources. Come on, the family dog talks! And is probably the smartest member of the family. So, son #1 repeated some questionable dialogue from Family Guy at an inappropriate time and that ended his Family Guy watching days. For now.

I'm not naive. I know my kids know bad words. I've heard them say bad words. My husband and I have talked to them plainly about understanding what those words mean and when is the right and wrong time to say them. i.e. wrong time = anytime in front of Mom At the end of the day, it's a lesson we, as their parents, are tasked with giving. We can't hope to raise them in a protected bubble of rainbows and sunshine. That doesn't do them any favours.


My takeaway on the objections raised by Kristen Bell and Keira Knightley? Be respectful of others. Arm yourself with education to make intelligent decisions. It's okay to believe in fairy tales. 👸

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