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Charmed sisters

Fairy Tales

I *love* fairy tales. I have always loved fairy tales, folk tales, myths, etc. Most of them feature female characters. (And as a child, I didn't care if said female character needed to be rescued. Just the fact that she was there was enough for me.) And no, I don't care about the Disneyfication of many fairy tales. In some cases, Disney made the fairy tale better. ESPECIALLY when adapting anything written by Hans Christian Anderson. In the original "Little Mermaid," the mermaid dies. Or "becomes sea-foam," and a "Daughter of the Air" after dying, because mermaids don't have souls, but her selfless act (in not murdering her prince) allowed her to "earn" a soul. Seriously. That is the end of the original tale. It's depressing as hell. Anderson is a bit of a downer as far as fairy tales are concerned.

The other source of modern fairy tales were, of course, the Brother Grimm. Who were prudes. They cut out the sexual imagery and situations of their stories, and seriously beefed up the violence of the stories. Originally, the oral tales that the Brothers Grimm collected were not actually tales for children, even though the Victorians eventually decided that they were, in turning the tale of "Little Red Riding Hood" into a cautionary tale for little girls rather than the coming-of-age story for girls becoming women. (In the oldest versions, the heroine saved herself. Of course, the oldest version of the tale also involved a strip tease, poop, and cannibalism.) They were stories for adults. The originals included far more details than what eventually made it to the pages of the Brothers Grimm. Nowhere is the more obvious than the tale of "Rumpelstiltskin." When I was a child, the story made perfect sense. By the time I got to be a teenager, I realized that there are so many details missing in that story that it really doesn't make much sense. Some of it does have to do with cultural context. If the character of Rumpelstiltskin is a Fae, his actions make a lot more sense, in understanding the culture of European fairies. But still, there is a lot missing from that tale.

What's really odd is how male names are the ones who are known for the fairy tales. Brothers Grimm. Hans Christian Anderson. Now Walt Disney. But for centuries before that, fairy tales were the domain of women. A woman orginally wrote the tale of "Beauty and the Beast." And there is a lot of evidence that shows she wasn't alone.

Anyway, reading an article about the 1985 weird fairy tale Legend starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry, comparing the theatrical version to the Director's Cut made me think about this.