Two authors are helping eliminate princess stereotypes
Updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 2:00pm
By: Erynn Molettieri
Shippensburg- As you walk through the children’s section of your local library fairy tales abound blonde girls with pink dresses, old witch capturing the young princess, and the knight in shining armor riding in on his horse to save the damsel in distress.
Disney has been producing these images since the 1920s; however, these fairy tales have yet to take account of the changing times. Child authors Barbara Ensor and Nancy Loewen are reinventing the same old fairytales.
Nancy Loewen writes a series of children’s books called “The Other Side of the Story.” These books are told from the antagonist’s point of view giving life otherwise flat characters. A spin off of The Story of the Frog Prince titled “Frankly, I Never Wanted To Kiss anybody!” tells the story through the frog and introduces a princess who just wants to play baseball.
“Seriously, Snow White Was So forgetful!” from the same series is the Seven Dwarves perspective of the story of Snow White. Loewen thought Snow White was a ditz and did not understand how the Queen was able to trick her time and time again. In this book Loewen poked fun at the popular princess showing young children how silly fairy tales can be.
Barbara Ensor created the book “Cinderella (As if You Didn’t Already Know the Story).” aimed at children a bit older than Loewen’s work, Ensor made her own artwork out of cutouts making all the images simple black and whites. Using this technique, young girls can see themselves in the story instead of the typical blonde hair and pink dress princess.
Ensor leaves the traditional part of the story where Cinderella writes letters to her father in, but now she includes crossed out sections of the showing what Cinderella was really thinking but couldn’t say. Readers better understand what Cinderella was thinking and she becomes a better rounded character with different views. Cinderella also decides to become a diplomat after marrying the prince who decided to become a musician.
There is still a long way to go to fix these flat princesses but authors like Barbara Ensor and Nancy Loewen are shining a new light on these classics. Loewen will have two new published books in the spring to add to her “The Other Side of the Story” series.