PAULthinksmusings by a feminist
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So… I was wandering around Amazon.com today and I saw that apparently “Sleeping Beauty” is going to be released on Blu-ray soon.  Which is great for all those little girls who wished they could really see the details in those flying animals, right?

It was a random enough thing to see that it caught my attention and reminded me of the old fairy tale.  My first gut reaction was that it wasn’t a very feminist story.  My second thought was that it does teach people that it can be good to accept help.  And then my third thought was, “Hey, that story is about Sex Ed!”

Here’s how I recall the plot:

A king and queen wish for a daughter but fail to conceive one through years of attempts.  When finally a daughter is born, a grand christening party is thrown and many are invited including all of the fairies save one: the evil fairy.  At the christening ceremony, the baby receives gifts of character from the fairies like beauty and an ear for music.  Near the end of the ceremony, the evil fairy shows up and bestows a curse instead of a gift: that at some birthday (16th?  18th?), the princess will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die.  The evil fairy leaves and only one good fairy remains.  The good fairy can’t wholly fix the curse but she does ameliorate the curse instead to induce sleep until awoken by the kiss of a prince (or true love’s kiss).  As the daughter grows up, the king and queen refrain from telling her of the curse but instead try to destroy all spinning wheels to prevent the curse from coming true.  Despite that, the daughter does succumb to the curse and falls asleep.  A hundred years later, a prince finds her, kisses her, and they live happily ever after together.

Here’s my interpretation:

A married couple think they can protect their child by hiding her from the dangers in life.  The parents hope that their little girl will only give herself up to a prestigious man with the goal of marriage, so they keep their child in the dark until it’s too late for her to choose the course of her own life and so she goes along with choices that have been made for her.  If only the parents had warned their daughter of the dangers of the world in advance, she might have avoided contamination by a diseased prick.

Just goes to show: Sex Education leads to better results than avoiding the topic.

About Paul Roth

A vegetarian, agnostic, lindy-hopping, dog-loving tv-watcher who likes to read his own words.
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2 Responses to Sleeping Beauty advocates Sex Education

  1. Brandi says:

    Not all versions of the story are actually that cute. Or sanitized. Consider, for instance, versions in which the princess is not awakened by being kissed by a prince…or by him having sex with her. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_Beauty#Sources

    • Paul Roth says:

      Sounds like you’re saying that abstinence-only sex education leads to increased vulnerability to sexual assault!

      But yeah, it’s not a good story in pretty much any of its variants.

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