Notes from the Crip Reading Room Jan. 11

Crip Reading Room Jan. 11 Notes

Fairy Tales in Early Childhood Education

Disneyfied fairy tales are avoided in early childhood education because 

  • they perpetuate narrow gender roles, 
  • exclude children from diverse family situations, 
  • erase non-Eurocentric, disabled aesthetics, 
  • and teach children “othering” rather than treating humanity as a non-homogenous mix of varied and valuable types of self-expression and ways of being in the world.  

Rather than avoiding Fairy Tales we thought of ways to give the narrative to the children reading the story.

  • Asking children how the story can be changed to include themselves.
    • For instance, shifting the family structure to reflect the child’s family, rather than an orphaned primary character she/he can be from a foster home, have two moms, or is being raised by their grandparent.
    • Asking for a villain backstory, “why are they this angry, are they super sad, did something happen to them?”  Opens to finding other ways for the villain to achieve their goal peacefully.

The use of fairy tales to teach behaviours

  • What are other ways that Goldilocks (m or f) could have entered the house?
  • How do we ask for help?  Who can help us?

Fairy Tales in Adolescent Education

Every story must have conflict that needs to be resolved.  

  • How would you change this story so the conflict exists within a modern narrative, and is inclusive?  
  • What themes can you find within the story that are repeated in comic books?
  • How does this fairy tale portray villains?  How could it handle this differently to be more inclusive?
  • What happens to the story if the main character and villain swapped body types?  I.e. A heavy-set, sexualized little mermaid going to a villain whose body is idealized?  Beauty is beastly and the Beast is beautiful?  

Fairy Tales:  7 Deadly Sins and & Heavenly Virtues

Fairy tales were told partly to entertain and to teach moral lessons.  

Villains exemplify a few of the 7 deadly sins, hero(ine)s possess some traits common to the 7 heavenly virtues.  

Gluttony, Abstinence 
  • How does Disney portray these sins and virtues in their cartoons?  
  • Why is the music in the Little Mermaid Caribbean? What does this say about colonization?
  • How are undesirable men portrayed in comparison to heroes in Brave?  In what ways does Disney fail to break down the m/f stereotype?   Where did these restricted stereotypes originate?  What is another way of creating characters to break stereotypes?
  • Is there another way of creating conflict that breaks from pitting sins against virtues?
  • Where else do you see these tropes at play? 
  • What are scenarios that transform both the villain and the hero?

Within some stories there is a tension between wild and tame.  

  • How is this tension reflected in the architecture, gardens, visual art, and poetry of the time?  What is the narrative?  
  • How does this narrative change with the rise of the pastoral movement?  What are modern day examples of contemporary thought suppressing “wild” knowledge?
  • Is there a way to move beyond the binary good/bad, science/traditional scheme towards an inclusive schema?    


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