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  • Thalia, my eldest, recently received a brand new fairy tale as a present. Her favourite tale in fact: Snow white. She asked me to read it to her straight away. Strangely enough this story was full of descriptions. It described Snow white's mum as "a queen with long golden hair". It described the evil stepmother as a beautiful, tall woman. Even the magic mirror had an opinion of beauty "you are beautiful, you're tall, you're the most beautiful one of all", it said.
    I wasn't happy about that. However, it got worse! In the last pages I read that "the animals wept for snow white cause she was so kind and so beautiful". And the prince!! He fell in love with her head over heals cause she was soooo beautiful. "She's so beautiful in her glass coffin", he said. "I wonder if there's something I can do to help her".
    So what does that mean? He wouldn't give a tiny rat's ass if she had been ugly, that's what it means.

    I must say after that I looked in every single fairy tale my daughter owns for descriptions of the heroins. Guess what? They are all beautiful, tall, with long blond hair- with the exception of Snow white whose hair is black.
    Why is that? Why is my daughter taught that gentleness goes hand in hand with beauty? That princes fall in love only with beautiful girls? Who also happen to be tall, I must add.

    There's a strange conspiracy: the fairy tale conspiracy. It leads little girls to overestimate beauty. To want to be as beautiful as princesses in fairy tales are, because that's the only way other people (and animals, cause that also matters when you're two and a half) are going to love them.
    But there's also another strange conspiracy (against short people this time): the carpenters' one. They put cupboards way too high!

    Is this all intentional?
    I must be fair and say I don't know. It could be though. Life is no fairy tale.
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