The return of summer Nick at Nite marathons has me nostalgic for the ‘90s, that funny little decade when Dennis Rodman cross-dressed and that lying bitch called Rose said “I’ll never let go, Jack,” and then let go.
After my writing teacher told us she peppered adult references into some of the Clarissa Explains It All episodes she wrote, I’ve been thinking about how I might view the stories I was raised with differently if exposed to them today. I conveniently stumbled upon a book of Grimm’s fairy tales in my house, so I decided to read it again as a relatively more mature 22-year-old. And this is what I discovered: They’re totally effed up!
In light of the many shameful characters that young children continue to emulate, let’s get Grimm with five screwy fairy tale moments:
1. Hansel and Gretel’s father and evil stepmother plot to abandon their young children in the woods to lighten their financial burden at home. Let’s call this Shameful Act #1. Then, Dad still manages to welcome his neglected kin home with a guilt-free smile after they return with precious jewels. Let’s call this one, dear reader(s), Shameful Act #2. WTF, Dad! Check yourself.
2. Snow White’s evil stepmother yells “She must die!” after Mirror on the Wall says Snow White is prettier. Here, vanity was born.
3. The seven dwarves let Snow White stay with them if, and only if, she cooks and cleans for them. And here, gender inequality was further patterned into America’s fabric.
4. The Prince kisses Sleeping Beauty after she’s been sleeping for 100 years. Kissing a sleeping stranger, for one, is kinda sorta sexual assault. Sleeping Beauty also must’ve smelled after a century-long slumber, so Mr. Prince’s standards of hygiene are highly shameful.
5. In The Magic Table, the children are nicknamed Fat Frank and Foolish John. When viewing this story in light of the self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s easy to picture these potentially fine young fellows as clinically depressed 45-year-olds sitting on their respective recycled couches while watching 60 Minutes reruns on VHS and reminiscing about the good ol’ days before “fat” and “foolish” sent them on inevitable paths of self-destruction.
Keeping reading, kids! 🙂