The Daily Mail recently reported on the story of a campaign by a UK mother to have the book Sleeping Beauty banned from her child’s classroom. The reason why has sparked outrage:
A mother has demanded her six-year-old son’s school bans Sleeping Beauty because the princess does not give consent to be kissed.
Sarah Hall, from Northumberland Park, North Shields, claimed the fairytale promotes an ‘inappropriate sexual’ message to young children.
She argued the story is irresponsible because it teaches children it is acceptable to kiss women while they are asleep.
The mother of two said: ‘I think it’s a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent.
Here’s the main tweet from Hall that has stirred up the debate:
— Sarah Hall (@Hallmeister) November 19, 2017
As the Daily Mail notes, Hall has come under a lot of criticism for her stance, but others – as Hall points out on her Twitter feed – have come to her defense, suggesting she’s a heroine much in the way the #MeToo movement has been characterized. Here’s a sampling of some of her more tame defenders, and the more bizarre:
Feminist heroes https://t.co/oUI0qHjUPB
— claire foster PR (@claireleonePR) November 25, 2017
Absolutely shocked to see what's unfolded this week @Hallmeister. Stay strong. For what it's worth, I 100% agree with you. You have always been an inspiration to me and this week has only cemented that. You're brave, speak out when you need to, and handle yourself with class. X
— Laura Richards (@Iam_LauraD) November 25, 2017
It takes a great deal of courage to stand up and try to make the world a better place for the people of tomorrow. It starts with today’s children. I take my hat off to @Hallmeister for her courage, dignity & integrity amidst the madness.
— Angela Carrington (@thisisthebigpic) November 24, 2017
— Stephen Waddington (@wadds) December 6, 2017
.@Hallmeister @LilyPesch @thepooluk we agree it's time for a revised #SleepingBeauty – luckily we have Lynn & David Roberts 'superbly crafted retelling… Magical, visionary and manifestly feminist storytelling' (Books for Keeps) https://t.co/ymFCmV3lef pic.twitter.com/Ey3bCdKP8p
— Pavilion Children's Books (@PavilionKidsBks) November 27, 2017
— David Tedford (@davetedford) November 25, 2017
— Sarah Hall (@Hallmeister) November 25, 2017
Because Paul Cook raping women who were asleep is totally what Prince Phillip was doing in the modern version of the fairy tale when he kissed Princess Aurora so she wouldn’t be asleep forever.
Something the “heroic” Ms. Hall and her defenders neglected to mention are a few things that make their story about “non-consent” being a factor in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty crumble apart:
Aurora had already met Phillip (the prince). She was already falling in love with him before she fell into her deep slumber. She wanted to marry him. Her three good fairies sought out the prince to save Aurora from eternal slumber. To break the evil spell. And that’s what he did.
It’s in. the. story.
While it’s true that in one of the very early original versions (17th century) of Sleeping Beauty (the non-Disney version), the princess is raped while she is unconscious by a king, in the 1959 Disney version – the one we all know and read to our children today – the story is dramatically cleaned up and altered, and Aurora is already in love with the prince.
Shouldn’t Aurora’s feelings matter to the Sarah Halls of the world?
Princess Aurora shouldn’t be considered a fairy tale “Me Too” victim anymore than Hall and her supporters should be viewed as “courageous.” Especially when you consider they were pointing out something about the Disney classic that is not even true to make a “larger point” about predatory behavior.
The real – and unfortunate – lesson Hall and her echo chamber are teaching to children here is that it’s okay to lie as long as it’s in the interest of advancing narratives that paint innocent men as dangerous predators. Sound familiar?
Maybe she’ll realize that once she stops patting herself on the back.