The other night I picked up a book to read to my daughter. It happened to be “The Classic Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales” retold by Sheila Black. It’s a book that I will never pick up again. A book that tells little girls that good things happen only if you’re beautiful.
First, I’ll admit this book is older. It was written in a different time. But to me, that doesn’t much matter. It doesn’t convey a message that I want to share with my daughter.
We were doing just fine. My 5 month old captivated by the sound of my voice and the pictures in the book. We got through the first story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and while I thought it was a little off (I don’t think Mr. Andersen ever used the word “stuff”) my daughter isn’t really listening to the words as much as I am so I just went with it.
We got to the next story, Thumbelina, and that’s where it ended. Here is a direct quote from the book:
Some fish swimming in the stream heard her sob, and when they saw how beautiful she was, they decided to help her.
What the hell?
I can’t be the only one who wonders why someone in their right mind would write this. Even if it was in the 90’s.
I just have a huge problem with this. We shouldn’t be teaching our daughters that in order to get ahead in life, or to have people be kind to you that you have to be beautiful.
We need to teach our daughters that beauty is more than skin deep. It’s not about how we look but about how we act and treat one another. To teach our daughters that good things happen not if we are beautiful, but if we work hard and are kind.