By: Krystle Crossman
Children love fairy tales. They love the fantasy, the drama, and the happy endings. One teacher in Brazil has decided to take her elementary school students’ love for fairy tales and use it to teach them all about gender equality, s*xual abuse, and misogyny. Her work in the classroom for the most part has been well-received and has been shared on social media. She wants her children to understand that there are differences in fairy tales and real life.
At first the teacher (who wished to keep her name anonymous) had the students read Sleeping Beauty. It is a classic fairy tale where a princess needs rescuing and a handsome prince is there to awaken her with a kiss and they fall happily in love. She then had the students watch the movie Malificent. This movie has a different spin on the story and in the end the fairy godmother is the one who gives Sleeping Beauty the kiss that she needs to be saved. The teacher asked the children about their reactions. Many were surprised but were happy to learn that anyone can help a “damsel in distress” and not just a male. The students asked questions such as “Who said only a prince can save a princess?”
A poster was hung in the classroom which depicted Sleeping Beauty and Snow White with their prince kissing them to save them. The teacher took a poll of her students and asked them, “Is it right to kiss a princess when she’s sleeping?” Surprisingly 13 out of the 15 students said that no, this was not something that was okay even though it is depicted as something that leads to a happy life in the fairy tales. She wrote an answer to the question on the other side of the poster which said, “Nobody deserves to be kissed by a stranger while they are sleeping! That’s a crime!”
Some who are opposed to this type of lesson say that this is ruining fairy tales for children or that they are too young to learn about these types of topics. The teacher said that she hopes that this lesson spreads to other teachers around the world so that children can be aware of what is reality and what is fantasy.