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Seeds of misogyny are sown in our kids right from the beginning, aided by the sexism in children’s stories. Is this fair in this day and age?
I am a content writer who edits and creates content for school children. I was editing this passage which someone had written for a Grade 4 class.
This king felt every story everyone told him had a short ending. To satisfy himself, he placed a challenge where he declared that if anyone could tell him a really long story, that person would marry his daughter and become a king.
Usually I would shrug it off and read. But today I paused.
I was shocked. How mean is this king to ignore the wishes of his daughter? Does he not love his daughter or care for her? What if the man who told the never ending story was mean and cruel to the king’s daughter? What if he tortured the king’s daughter? What if their interests were totally opposite? To satisfy oneself, the king was placing his daughter’s life in jeopardy. What if the person who told the story was a woman? And the princess was heterosexual? Are we already assuming here that women cannot tell good stories that will please the king?
Perhaps they should read Women’s Web (a space which encouraged the writer in me) to understand and comprehend that women can be stronger critical thinkers, and far better story tellers than men.
It may be a simple story for kids, but it is time we stopped reading such stories. It is wrong to inculcate such wrong beliefs in our kids from such a young age. We should always encourage critical thinking in our children. Our daughters should never be forced into marrying someone they don’t like. These children’s stories later insert the fear of marriages in our daughters.
This story is a simple instance of where we should question ourselves about what we are teaching our kids. Everything we say or do is an example of how we want our kids to behave or think. Let us rise up and put a stop to such foolish and degrading stories. Anyone who can tell the king a never ending story should be given a suitable reward, not ‘handed’ the princess!
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I love to write on women's issues. I strongly believe that every woman is
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