Fairy tales and the people who _______

Please answer the following question:
Disney gave me unrealistic expectations about ________.
a. men
b. women
c. love
d. hair
e. everything

It was a fine spring morning when tragedy struck.

The correct answer is e.

After reading about the returned darkness in fairy tales, I’ve been thinking about how fairy tales in general have affected me. Classic disney was good stuff but hopefully it hasn’t fundamentally shaped my character (or at least my expectations). Still, I can’t help but think those unrealistic expectations still linger.[1] Although, some would say even optimistic expectations are unrealistic. But don’t we live healthier and longer lives if we’re not constantly stressed? In that sense, wouldn’t it be better if disney did give me a positive rainbow sparkles outlook on life?

The generation who grew up watching happily ever afters have become a bit cynical apparently, certainly more realistic. That may have translated into darker fairy tales. But the answer to all of life’s questions is it depends[2] and the entertainment world’s newfound darkness within the fairytale starts from a predictable and sunny once upon a time. I can’t say much about the original originals, but Grimms’ versions certainly weren’t fun for the whole family. Cinderella’s sisters chopped of bits of their own feet to fit into the slipper before being blinded by birds. It’s implied Red Riding Hood lost more than just her way on the road to grandmother’s. The Little Mermaid turned into sea foam after she failed to stab a knife through the prince’s heart. The list continues. Maybe bringing back the grim and gruesome is part of a larger trend. There are so many crime solving tv shows – who can even keep track? “Here, have an idea on how to blackmail or kill someone.” Gore, violence, blood, decapitation, murder… but it’s done enough to catch my attention, which I suppose may have been the entire point.

Overall, I identify with elements from both disney and Grimm/contemporary versions of fairy tales so hopefully their effects are positive ones. Simplicity is great and having the hope of happily ever after is wonderful. It’s just that life never works out that way and human nature[3] has an odd way of surfacing. I enjoy different takes on the same story though, the possibilities and how creative some alternate versions can be. This is when I insist you make your world a better place by watching fractured fairy tales. It’s insight into the world!


[1] It’s all disney’s fault that I’m a complete romantic sap but you didn’t hear that from me. Um. Damn commercialized Valentine’s Day!
[2] “Should Greece leave the Euro?” “It depends.” “Are you an optimistic?” “It depends.” “Do you like to travel?” “It depends.” “Are you hungry?” “It depends.” “How old are you?” “It depends.” Sometimes, I really, really want to go back to the days of unconditional happiness. Or unconditional anything. Also, 42 is option b.
[3] Not necessarily good or bad, but definitely complicated.

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