I read an article recently that described how we should rethink all those bedtime stories we know and love so well. In the article Five Reasons To Stop Reading Your Children Fairytales Now, journalist Olivia Petter warns us quite directly:
They’re the bedtime stories we’ve been telling for centuries; they’re the inspiration behind the box office hits that indoctrinated our childhood – and yet, fairytales are riddled with prejudicial and archaic stereotypes. Stories like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are so ingrained in popular culture that it can be all too easy to overlook the damaging ideologies that they perpetuate via misogynistic characters, degrading plot lines and racial uniformity. – Olivia Petter
She goes on to reveal that the 5 reasons are: 1) women in fairytales are passive damsels who can only be saved by men, 2) marriage is the ultimate reward, with many fairytales presenting marriage as the sole goal for both the male and female characters, 3) there is a lack of racial/physical/sexual diversity, along with unrealistic body standards set by whippet-thin Belles and Ariels, 4) female characters are either bound to the home, 5) or they are evil step mothers/sisters/witches.
She ends the article by saying:
While fairytales can be brilliant for inspiring imaginative discussions in children, parents must be vigilant in their way of sharing these tales so as to avoid promoting outdated ideologies they continue to foster. – Olivia Petter
An interesting article I’m sure you would agree, especially in light of the all the recent sexual harassment allegations and #MeToo discussions. I recently read another interesting article on the same subject of ‘princess culture’, this time by Stephanie Merritt (worth reading in full), and I also came across a story about PR consultant and mum Sarah Hall, from Newcastle, who said that Sleeping Beauty should be removed from her six-year-old son’s school curriculum, based on fears that the story may be giving young children the wrong message about consent.
She also says:
It’s not ok to wake a stranger with a kiss so why teach our kids it is?…I think it’s a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent. It’s about saying is this still relevant, is it appropriate? In today’s society, it isn’t appropriate. – Sarah Hall
And then along comes comedian Hasan Minhaj who does a brilliant stand up routine about how “all princesses matter.” Hasan recently performed at the Night Of Too Many Stars benefit gig, which is a charity event held to raise money for autism.
In America the biggest charity helping people with autism is Next For Autism. Starting in 2006 and held about every 2 years since, the charity joins forces with Comedy Central and holds a star-studded event with A-list comedians and Hollywood stars. The event is known as the Night Of Too Many Stars, and proceeds from the event benefit a variety of autism programs across America. Over the years they have raised an impressive $18 million.
The most recent event was held this year on November 18th and was hosted by Jon Stewart. The show featured Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Robert De Niro, Paul Rudd, J J Abrams, Ben Stiller, Billy Joel, and many others. As expected stand up comedy was high on the agenda, and this year featured some brilliant performances from Kumail Nanjiani, Michelle Wolfe, John Mulaney, and the aforementioned Hasan Minhaj. The clips are featured below but please be warned, some of the dialogue is a bit risqué, so adults only. Enjoy!
Michelle Wolfe on how womens bathrooms are very mysterious…
I think no matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat we gotta give Trump credit when he deserves it. Like, he pulled out of the Paris agreement and I think you should get credit for that cuz he said he was gonna pull out and then he did, and that’s a refreshing quality in a man. – Michelle Wolfe
And if you think that joke was rude wait until you hear her final punchline!
John Mulaney on being zoned out since 2014…
Have you ever just been sitting there thinking about something for 20, 25 minutes, and all of a sudden you’re like “Oh my God! I’m driving!” And you remember “I’m going 75 miles an hour. I have been for a while. I could have changed so many lives.” – John Mulaney
Kumail Nanjiani on how he is such a star now…
The other day I was sitting at this coffee shop and this young woman came up to me, and she was shaking and she looked at me, tears in her eyes, and she said “What you do is so important to me. Thank you for being you. I love you on The Big Bang Theory.” And that’s how much of a star I am, people see me in everything, even stuff I’m not in. – Kumail Nanjiani
Hasan Minhaj on why all princesses matter…
He looks at me and he’s just like “Look man, I just don’t get you guys.”
I was like “What?”
“I don’t get you guys. You guys got the beards. You’re women dress like ninjas. I don’t get it. Why do you repress your women?”
And I’m like “Why do you repress YOUR women?”
He’s like “What? No! No we don’t. This is America. We don’t do that.”
I was like “Look man, I grew up in America. Every Disney movie I’ve ever watched, every white Disney princess, super repressed.”
He’s like “What are you even talking about?”
I’m like “Look at all of them. Cinderella. Cinderella is a white princess, right, her family sells her into human bondage and then her best friends ARE MICE! What sort of sick backwards culture makes their women befriend mice? Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty is a princess from Caucasia. We know that. Then she falls asleep and some dude Bill Cosby’s her and we’re all like ‘Oh, this is a normal healthy loving relationship.’”
Don’t groan, these are just facts. And he’s like “No no no no, that is not a white princess problem, that’s just a Disney problem.”
I’m like “Nah man, every black or brown Disney princess, super liberated. I’m sorry, every single one of them, all of them. Mulan. Mulan changes genders and becomes a general in ancient China. You guys! She has gender fluidity and she achieves the highest military ranking in ancient China. Moana liberates the Polynesian islands, you guys. She’s ten, okay. Meanwhile Ariel’s like ‘I want to be where the people are. Here’s my voice.’ Believe in yourself Ariel! Lean in. Sheryl Sandberg. Defeat the patriarchy. And don’t even get me started on Princess Jasmine. My first crush, okay. Princess J. The entire movie she’s wearing a two-piece. Bananas! Then when her dad’s like ‘Get an arranged marriage,’ she’s like ‘Screw you dad,’ she leaves on a magic carpet with this shirtless Muslim dude, whose best friend is a monkey and a possessed blue man that lives inside of a bong. That is the most liberal shit ever. And that was in Saudi Arabia! So we got to liberate these poor white princesses because all princesses matter, okay.”