The latest thing the politically correct obsessives have decided to ruin is the Christmas pantomime. Not satisfied with destroying the male-female dynamic, decrying motherhood as oppressive, attacking classic television series such as Friends and nearly every single romantic comedy; their virtue signalling contest has moved on to this unlucky Christmas tradition.

The humble pantomime is typically a hilarious satirical production providing risqué humour, enchanting stories, and memorable catchphrases, and now, it too has bowed to the forces of liberalism. This years Snow Queen pantomime in the Tivoli features a genderfluid flying unicorn, while in Cork’s Opera House, Jasmine laughs when Aladdin asks her to marry him – telling him she can rescue herself from danger. How charming.

Karl Broderick along with his husband Alan Hughes, is the co-producer of the Cheerios panto in the Tivoli. He spoke to Shauna Bowers in the Sunday Times and explained that his intention was not to avoid offending people, but instead to ‘move with the times.’ He insisted, “these fairy tales were written years and years ago. If they’re not adapted then they get left behind and become irrelevant.”

To that point of view, fairytales are old and therefore probably conservative and very bad. However, it’s worth taking a look at the history and roots of our fairy tales. Many of our fairytales are fictional folk stories that originated in 17th century France. They are rooted in the oral tradition; story telling passed down from generation to generation.

The term ‘fairytale’ was coined by les préciseuses – these were witty and intellectual women who frequented the salon of Catherine de Vivonne, offering a refuge from dangerous political dissension during the court of Louis XVI – the absolute monarch whose rule ended with the French Revolution.

Madame d’Aulnoy is the author of many of the fairytales we read today. She was a baroness in Paris in the late 17th century. She hosted salons in her home on Rue Saint Bénoit which was visited often by politicians, aristocrats and literary critics. She coined the word ‘fairy tale’ – contes de fées.

The worlds she created in her stories were full of talking animals, magical monsters, romantic dramas, horrible cruelties and happiness after surmounting great obstacles. These stories were not at all suitable for children and were adapted later on for that purpose. They were a legitimate genre of literature for the educated classes to read.

Moreover it was a genre largely dominated by women – tales written by women, for women. Inside their stories they created powerful heroines and goddesses who engineered their destiny using feminine prowess and ingenuity. They didn’t decry glass ceilings or gender inequality.

Les préciseuses had better, more important things to be doing than that. The tales reflected changes happening in King Louis XIV court. They undermined the two institutions of the time – the court and the Catholic Church. The fairytales revealed court trivialities and politics, while offering vested critiques of both.

Politically correct versions of fairytales serve no other purpose, than making us feel ‘woke.’ Disturbingly too, they attempt to denigrate the innocence of children, throwing them into a lions den of victimhood, gender ideology, political correctness, and encouraging distrust of all men for no good reason.

Altering fairytales to include liberal ideology is misguided social justice nonsense. It does not empower women, or people from minority backgrounds. It demeans and degrades the natural desire of little girls to dress up like princesses and little boys to fight like heroic knights.

Maybe the next step for the these politically correct cult leaders is to change the ‘outdated’ Shakespeare plays? Or Sophocles’ Greek classic Antigone? Where exactly does it end?

Posted by Christine D'Arcy

One Comment

  1. By coincidence I’m reading Bruno Bettleheim’s The Uses of Enchantment (1975) subtitled The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Bettleheim makes the point that fairy tales deal with universal issues for children such as sibling rivalry (Cinderella), fear of abandonment (Hansel and Gretel), and evil (represented by witches, dragons, a mighty giant). Sample quotes:
    (1) … this is exactly the message that fairy tales get across to the child in manifold form: that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human existence – but that if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious.
    (2) Modern stories written for children mainly avoid these existential problems, although they are crucial issues for all of us. The child needs most particularly to be given suggestions in symbolic form about how he may deal with these issues and grow safely into maturity.
    (3) The fairy tale proceeds in a manner which conforms to the way a child thinks and experiences the world; this is why the fairy tale is so convincing to him. He can gain much better solace from a fairy tale than he can from an effort to comfort him based on adult reasonings and viewpoints. A child trusts what the fairy tale tells, because its world view accords with his own.
    (4) It is not that the evildoer is punished at the story’s end which makes immersing oneself in fairy stores and experience in moral education, although this is part of it. In fairy tales, as in life, punishment or fear of it is only a limited deterrent to crime. The conviction that crime does not pay is a much more effective deterrent, and that is why in fairy tales the bad person always loses out.

    Needless to say I cannot do justice to this brilliant book in a few sentences and I am only a quarter of the way through but he argues that that fairy tales have an enormous and irreplaceable value in that they educate, support and liberate the emotions of children.

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