In the wake of the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal and the #MeToo campaign, a mother is calling for Sleeping Beauty to be banned from primary schools because she feels the story contains problematic themes of “sexual behaviour and consent”.
Sarah Hall, from Newcastle, said she was disturbed by the non-consensual kissing in the fairytale when Prince Phillip wakes up the sleeping Princess Aurora with a kiss on the lips.
Questioning whether the traditional story is “still relevant” nowadays, the 40-year-old mother-of-two contacted her son Ben’s primary school asking for the books featuring the fairytale to be removed from the younger children’s classes and tweeted “while we are still seeing narratives like this in school, we are never going to change ingrained attitudes to sexual behaviour”.
Speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle, Sarah said: “I think it’s a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent. It’s about saying, ‘is this still relevant, is it appropriate?'”
Sarah argued that the Sleeping Beauty story should be limited to older children who are able to understand the concept of consent.
“In today’s society, it isn’t appropriate,” she added. “My son is only six years old and he absorbs everything he sees, and it isn’t as if I can turn it into a constructive conversation.
“I don’t think taking Sleeping Beauty books out of circulation completely would be right. I actually think it would be a great resource for older children, you could have a conversation around it, you could talk about consent, and how the Princess might feel.
“But I’m really concerned about it for younger children, and I would really welcome a conversation about whether this is suitable material.”
While many people have openly supported Sarah’s campaign, others have responded saying: “I feel so sorry for the young children of today who are having adult perceptions forced on them. Let them be children!” and “You know that bears don’t really eat porridge, right?”
The original version of Sleeping Beauty was based on Sun, Moon and Talia. Written by an Italian poet in the 17th century, it told the sadistic story of a princess who fell into a deep sleep and is subsequently is raped by a king.
When the princess awakes from her slumber, she falls in love with the man who violated her and then marries him.
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