by Nikita Gill

Fairy tales are the biggest deceivers of them all,
And these are the greatest lies
that we have been telling our daughters
from when they are so very small.

Because when girls grow up they realize
That not a single one of those fairy tales are true
So instead the tales I tell my children are going
to be made of these antiquated stories made brand new.

I’m going to tell them about Red Riding Hood
Never stopping to speak to any forest creature
And reaching her grandmother’s house
Just in time to take an axe to the neck of the big bad wolf.

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And about how Snow White would have been killed
had she not learnt self defense from her father’s soldiers
and known how to go for the eyes, the nose, the throat
when the huntsman had grabbed her wrist to force her closer to him

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And about how Cinderella did not let her step mother
Get away with treating her like she was a servant in her own home
Instead she visited the best lawyer in town and
Got the witch and both her girls thrown out, all on her own.

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I’m going to teach them about how wrong
The Prince was to try and kiss Aurora in her sleep
Because consent is the most important thing
And how she screamed for help instead of wept in relief.

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And Alice, dear Alice who went into Wonderland
So completely unprepared, was stupid to be
drinking potions that could be poison
Eating cakes that could have killed her then and there

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What kind of lessons would they learn if I told them
Being irresponsible and ‘having an adventure’
Was more important than being a good, strong
Sensible human being?

What kind of a person would I be if I let them think
Such behaviour wouldn’t lead them to be
taken for granted,
taken advantage of,
or a much worse fate that I cannot see?

Because the biggest truth about fairy tales
Is that they lie to little girls about
Always being sugar and spice
And they will get a prince if they play dumb and nice.

The fairy tales we should tell our daughters
should be about strong women with real flaws,
immense amounts of courage
and incredible qualities.

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Let us raise girls who don’t just wait to be rescued,
but take their destiny in their own hands,
pick up swords and weapons of their own
and charge to battle dragons and their enemies.

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Illustration from The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch