Fairy Tales are Sexist

Cover of "Fairy Tales (Kingfisher Mini Tr...

Cover of Fairy Tales (Kingfisher Mini Treasury)

Most of us, if not all of us, grew up with a knowledge of fairy tales. From Snow White, to Hansel and Gretel, to Cinderella, we have been subjected to these stories from infancy to early childhood. Fairy tales are seen as a means of entertaining our young ones, and at the same time, imparting good moral values to them.

I myself love fairy tales. I remember when I was young, I never grew tired of listening to these stories, and they inspired me to learn how to read, because, in my eagerness for more fairy tales, I wanted to be able to read so I could start reading these stories by myself and not wait around for my parents to read them to me.

As an adult, I have, of course, graduated on to more mature level of books. But once in a while, I do go back to my beloved fairy tales. While they still hold a special place in my heart, I have come to realize that fairy tales are awfully sexist.

In particular, I am referring to the way the evil stepmothers are always villainized – while the fathers get off scot-free. Yes, those evil stepmothers are really cruel and they deserve the punishments they got at the end. But how come nobody ever asks what in the world those fathers were doing while their family was being mistreated by their evil wives? Or better yet, why did they LET their wife do those awful things to their family? And might I ask also how come men in fairy tales seem to have such poor taste in women, in that they always pick the worst ones?

Fairy tales featuring evil stepmothers don’t just have one villain – they have TWO. While the evil stepmother is the obvious villain, there’s another villain lurking: the man who has forsaken his beliefs, his morals, and his family for the sake of the evil woman.. or any person for that matter. There is no person worth sacrificing our family for – our family, who has been there for us our whole life. Any person, be they male or female, who forsakes their family, is the biggest fool and the worst villain of all.


Don’t Pick Up the Snake

Even today Red Indian boys go away into solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth decided to test himself against a tall mountain. He threw his blanket over his shoulder and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top, he stood on the rim of the world. His heart swelled with pride. Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a rattlesnake. Before he could move, the snake spoke, “I’m starving and freezing to death up here. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.”

“No,” said the youth. “I have been warned about you rattlesnakes. If I pick you up, you will bite me, and your bite will kill me.”

“No way!” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do me this favor, you will be special. I will not harm you.”

The youth resisted for a while, but that was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. So he picked up the snake and tucked it under his shirt. When they were back down in the valley, he took the snake out of his shirt and gently laid it on the grass. Then suddenly it coiled, rattled and sprang, biting the boy on the leg. “But you promised,” he cried.

“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” answered the snake as he slithered away.            – Iron Eyes Cody

Are there some things in your life – thoughts, habits, practices, vices – that you know are sinful but you’re so tempted to do them anyway? Those are the snakes in your life. The snake in this story represents sin. It comes to us in a deceiving manner, appearing all innocent and promising not to hurt us. It makes us believe that it will treat us differently, that we will not end up having the same fate as others before us who have fallen in the same lie.

As the rattlesnake said at the end of the story, “You knew what I was when you picked me up” – the same thing as we know a sin when we see one. It’s just that sometimes, we convince ourselves otherwise, or we let ourselves be blinded by the sugarcoating. But a sin is a sin, and sooner or later, it will come back to bite us and make us pay.

The bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

When you’re tempted to sin, think of the boy who picked up the snake…


Buy a Lottery Ticket

The front of a used Mark Six ticket

The front of a used Mark Six ticket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an old Italian joke that goes like this:

A long time ago, in a small village, there lived an old man. This old man visited the statue of a great Italian saint everyday. And everyday, he prayed for the same thing: “Please, please, please, make me win the lottery.” Rain or shine, the old man would visit the saint’s statue and pray the same thing over and over again. Finally, one day, the saint had enough! When the old man came to the statue again and prayed to win the lottery, the saint finally replied, “My dear old man, please buy a lottery ticket first!”

Silly old man, right? Of course, he should’ve bought the lottery ticket first. But aren’t we sometimes like this old man? When we want something, we pray.. and well, that’s it. Nothing wrong with praying, of course. It is our means of communing with God. But, partnered with prayer should be our own effort and action. There is a popular Filipino saying that goes – Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa. (God’s mercy is on those who help themselves.) I know we’re all familiar with this saying and you’re probably going, “Duh, everybody knows that.” Yes, we all know it, but do we all REALLY practice it?

Sometimes, we Christians tend to use the term “God’s will” a little too far. I have some single Christian guy friends who LOVE using this term to excuse them from having to court a girl. If someone asks them why they don’t court anyone , they’ll be like, “Oh, cause I haven’t found the right girl yet. I’ll just wait for God’s will.” And they really do just sit around and wait. Unfortunately, life is not like an Axe commercial where hot girls will just fall out of the sky and land at your feet. We all want to meet our life partner according to God’s will – no argument there. But guys, do you expect God to do the courting and dating for you, too?

Or how about someone looking for a job? Yes, we all want a good job. But do we just sit around and wait for God to hand the job to us? That’s not really the way it works. You expect God to be the one to put on a suit and go from job interview to job interview?

I just think that Christians who keep using “God’s will” as an excuse for everything that’s happening (or not happening) in their life are misleading testimonies of Christianity. We are NOT exemplifying great faith by this kind of behavior; we’re displaying laziness and a waste of God-given skills and talents.

After all, “God’s will is not an itinerary, but an attitude.” It’s not a step-by-step life guide we demand from God. As children of God, we have the free will to choose our paths in life – but always with submissiveness to God’s will for us. Now that’s what I call faith.

InSecurity Checkpoint

Insecure much?

There are people who just can’t seem to bear seeing others be happy or get ahead in life. The kind of people who choose to see the negative in everything so they can put people down and burst their bubble.

Like, they watch a song or dance number performed by little kids and all they can see are the flaws in the performance.. they’re little kids, for crying out loud! If they can’t find anything to complain about, they’ll turn to the instructor and say in a doubtful, incredulous voice, “Did you really teach those kids?”. Lose-lose situation – they demand perfection but can’t accept it even when it’s right in their face. What I’m trying to point out here is that there are people who are very generous and loud with their criticisms and judgment but are very stingy and mute when it comes to positive feedback and praise. Tell them something good that’s happening in your life, and while other people are quick to congratulate you and share your happiness, they, on the other hand, are quick to make “jokes” dripping with sarcasm and jealousy. Am I being too sensitive? Maybe. But I think we all can differentiate between harmless jokes and double-sided ones.

There are also those who just NEED to one-up everybody in everything. Say you’re just sitting there and chatting about a trip you recently took and they’ll interrupt and be like, “Oh, my brother’s officemate’s sister’s boyfriend took a trip around the world.” Huh? They would dig into the far reaches of their database just to make sure they can one-up everybody else’s story – even if they have to use people they barely or don’t even know!

People like these really annoy me.. but greater than my annoyance is pity for these people. Because the words that come out of a person’s mouth and their behavior is always a result of what’s inside them. So people who always spew forth negativity do so because they are full of negativity inside. And that’s a pitiful way to live – always consumed by bad thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I want to tell them, “I’m really sorry you’re not happy with your life, but please, don’t take it out on me; it’s not my fault.”

In closing, I leave you with these words by Bobby Darin: “Any fool knows that bravado is always a cover-up for insecurity. That’s the truth. And on that note, I’ll say goodnight. God love you.”

What Do You Think?

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Everything starts with a thought. And our thoughts today become our world tomorrow.

I once heard a story that went something like this:

An old man was sitting outside his store on the outskirts of a small town. Around midday, a stranger came and approached the old man. “Hello,” said the stranger, “I’m moving to this town and I’d like to know, how are the people in this town?” 

“How would you describe the people in your old town?” the old man replied. 

“Oh, they were mean, spiteful and rude people. I didn’t like them.”

“Then you’ll find the people in this town just the same.”

And the stranger moved on.

A few hours later, another stranger came to the town. Like the first stranger, he approached the old man and said, “Good afternoon. I’m new to this town. I’d like to know, how are the people in this town?”

“How were the people in your old town?” replied the old man.

“Oh, they were wonderful, kind, helpful people. I liked them a lot.”

“Then you will find the people here just the same.”

If I asked you which of these two strangers you are, which one would you answer? We’d all like to say the second stranger.. but sometimes it’s easier to be like the first stranger – to be negative and to be judgmental of other people. I used to do this a lot. Even when I became more active in my walk with God, I still resorted to this bad habit. Then one day, the tables were turned and I was the one who got judged harshly. It was my wake up call. I got a dose of my own bitter medicine. And you  know what? I didn’t like it one bit. Lesson learned, it is not for any of us to judge others – that right is for God, and God alone. No matter how holy, righteous, or sinless we think we are, we have no right to judge our fellow human beings – after all, we’re all on the same playing field.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. — Philippians 4:8