Spare Us. Please.

April 26th, 2005 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

We were recently complimented on our avoidance of profanity (thank you, Karen Palmer who needs a website and/or blog to make linking easy), but sometimes we are pushed to our limits. It was once suggested that we have low tolerance for stupidity; this is true. If you want to push our buttons, facile works. It offers a chance for us to exercise our vocabulary in a positive manner.

Fairy tales lead to domestic abuse. We freely admit that things like statistics confuse us. The bell curve seems contrived. We don’t like to speak for most of the women we know, but we will: most of us grew up, on some level, with fairy tales. The majority of us did not end up in abusive relationships.

Young girls who enjoy classic romantic fairy tales like “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast” are at greater risk of becoming victims of violent relationships in later life, a British researcher says.

A study of both parents of primary school children and women who have been involved in domestic abuse claims than those who grew up reading fairy tales are likely to be more submissive as adults.

Susan Darker-Smith, a graduate student who wrote the academic paper, said she found many abuse victims identified with characters in famous children’s literature and claimed the stories provide “templates” of dominated women.

If we’re getting a blame the victim feel, forgive us. This is the same crap that is used to suggest that romance novels promote submissive women. No, romance novels teach women to find their own place in the world. We’ll submit that Disney-esque fairy tales subjectify women, but leading to domestic abuse? It begs the question of what triggers lead to men bashing on women. Reading = bad. Violence…uh, something must be behind this. Maybe war?

There’s a silver lining.

Darker-Smith said she believed younger generations exposed to television and other entertainment media may react differently and be less submissive than those weaned solely on literature.

Bullshit. This is blaming the victim, pure and simple.

File Under: Square Pegs

2 responses so far ↓

  • Jenny // May 22, 2005 at 6:24 am

    I think you may have misinterpreted the research. It concerns FACTORS (Including cultural, family and environmental role models) which children grow up with. It is not an attempt to dismiss fairy stories from children’s diets at all. Nor is it an attempt to blame survivors of domestic abuse. However, it is seeking an answer as to why women believe that they cannot LEAVE abusive situations. Which, personally, I feel is a very important question.

  • Booksquare // May 22, 2005 at 9:01 am

    I agree that it’s a very important question — far too important to suggest that fairy tales play a dominant role. Had the researchers looked at the flipside of the argument, asking how many women who read fairty tales and identified with their characters didn’t end up in abusive relationships, I might have taken the study more seriously.

    I’m sure there are people who overidentify with fictional characters, but my experience, limited as it is, shows that we know the difference between fiction and reality. That being said, I’d be very happy if more children’s reading featured strong women rather than rapscallion boys because I do think fiction can change one’s mindset.