We have discussed what “Being boys” mean in today’s world….we can’t leave our girls behind…..can we? If there’s anything that has gone through a metamorphosis of role and status….it is that of the women today. Though we still have a long way to go to achieve a truly egalitarian society, girls today have a lot more choice than the previous generation. Women enter almost all fields of work demolishing the earlier notion of male bastions…they also juggle many roles and lead more complicated lives than before. So from the State sponsored “Beti bachao Beti Padao” campaign (Save and educate the girl child) or the elitist “It’s my choice” video, an awareness initiative of Vogue magazine that went viral on the internet ……it’s all about women being in charge ……all the way!
So when it comes to reading to our girls….. why are we still stuck with the age old fairy tales with princesses being boring and one-dimensional characters whose only role is to wait to be rescued by their Prince Charming? Given a choice, most moms would want to skip reading the fairy tales like “Sleeping beauty” or “Rapunzel” as they perpetuate the primitive mindset wherein the ultimate destination for any girl is to find her Prince Charming!
So if you are such a parent, here’s a book that offers a refreshing take on six fairy tale princesses …..who receive an “empowerment makeover”! “Girls to the Rescue” by Sowmya Rajendran and illustrated by Ashok Rajagopalan brought out by Tulika publications is a must read especially for girls who can’t have enough of Princess stories. Though the reading level is most suited for children aged 10 and above, the book presents excellent read aloud stories for younger children. The princesses in this book have a mind of their own, think for themselves and not only dare to dream big but also make their own destiny without waiting for someone else to step in. With a touch of realism, a pinch of quirkiness, and a dash of satire topped with humour, these stories make for a fresh and healthy diet as opposed to the stale diet of Disney princess stories. While the basic plot of each of the fairy tales remains the same, the difference lies in the narrative, factual and situational details and of course the ending which is way better than “happily-ever-after’! Who wouldn’t want to read about what happens to “Rapunzel” who imitates her astronaut mother and dares her barber-father into going against the “tradition” or who the real wolf is, in the complex and layered “Red Riding Hood” or further learn about the princess who willingly becomes a “Sleeping beauty” or get inspired by no-longer-kitchen bound “Cinderella” who takes charge of her own life and gets her sisters to ‘share’ the house work or laugh along with the rebellious princess when the frog meets its destiny after being kissed by her or empathise with “Snow White” whose mother worries that she may not find a suitable groom due to her (hold your breath) her extra-ordinary fairness! Do all of them meet their respective Prince Charming….yes? But don’t expect wedding bells …simply enjoy the moment!