Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who loved listening to stories of knights in shining armour, princes and fairy godmothers in faraway places, who rescued beautiful princesses in distress.
Years later she discovered that knights, princes, and godmothers needed saving, too, so she became a teacher and told her students stories about people who needed help, and how ordinary children who aren’t princes, princesses, or fairy godmothers rescue each other every day, in small ways, like saying; NO FAIL ‘Next Opportunity! It’s your First Attempt In Learning!’ and this isn’t the END because ‘Effort Never Dies!’
Great prompt and flash, Charlie! I absolutely agree with you that fairy tales are mostly sexist, unrealistic, and often pass on dated cultural values. I wonder why it’s mostly men who told the stories? Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll, Wilhelm Hauff, Charles Perrault, Alexander Pushkin, Carlo Collodi, and I’m pretty sure the Arabian Nights weren’t written by a woman. More info here.
History is no doubt told by the victors, and fairy tales by men. It has left the women with the losers. I like to think/imagine things are changing and women’s voices are heard at last, in some parts of the world, in some sectors of society. Sadly not enough and not everywhere. It’s an ongoing struggle for equality, in which every mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, son and daughter must participate.
Teachers also have an important role to play in the transmission of culture and values.
How can we ‘teach’ or help children and future generations to be less sexist?
I’m a teacher. I know ‘teaching’ does not always lead to ‘learning’. You can’t ‘teach’ children to be less sexist, just like you can’t make a horse drink. We all know you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
Children aren’t vases to be filled, or lights to be turned on, if they’re not actively involved and willing to learn, they won’t. Of course they can pass exams, and even memorise stuff, but they won’t learn.
Learning is an ongoing and lifelong process which changes our perception of the world, enables interaction with our surroundings, and our understanding of the events that occur around us. It gives us the tools, methods and knowledge to reflect on what is, and imagine what could or should be, in an effort to improve our lives and make the world a better place for everyone, but especially for each one of us.
Parents can’t do it on their own. Teachers can’t do it on their own, because we all know..
The village is global now, so we’re all responsible! Let’s do it!
Would you like to take part or read some of the other flash fiction? Respond by January 19, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome! Where you take the fairy tale is entirely up to you. Your character can break the traditional mold, or your ending can be less than happy. Elements of fairy tales include magic, predicaments, villains, heroes, fairy-folk and kingdoms. How can you turn these elements upside down or use them in a realistic setting? Write your own fairy tale here