The Princess and (the gender enforcing) pea.

Everyone loves a fairy tale right? These classic stories are what foster our children's imagination, their hopes and dreams. Okay great, but hang on!

These are some of the comments 4 year old Ella has already stated with confidence and an authority that comes from having these views reinforced time and time again.

"Only Princes save people"

"Princesses wear pink (or purple)"

"Princesses don't have swords"

"Princesses aren't brave"

Uncomfortable with these statements I say that this is not true! Ella looks at me sceptically (mummy obviously hasn't read the books).

Last night we read the Princess and the Pea and it was Daddy's turn to feel uncomfortable.

So the Queen puts a pea under about 20 mattresses to see if the Princess is a real Princess, as apparently Princesses have such soft skin that they could detect said pea. Firstly, I don't blame the Princess in this story. She was just looking for somewhere to spend the night and then clearly had an awful sleep, as she was scared of falling to her death. It's the King and Queen who seem to be pushing their outdated and sexist views on their children.

Daddy's response was "She doesn't feel the pea because she has soft skin, it's because she has super senses, like a superhero."

Our daughter's ideas about what femininity is are shaped by reading these stories. What they can accomplish and what sort of behaviour is expected of them is being heavily influenced by the fairy tales that pervade a lot of children's literature.

What can we do as parents?

Let's start sharing an alternative narrative.....

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