Fairy Tales and Political Correctness

The famous fables and fairy tales that earlier generations of children grew up with are being re-written or are completely falling out of favor with those who aspire to “Political Correctness”. What people don’t realize is that many of these tales have been “sanitized” repeatedly over the years, having started as truly gruesome stories. In early versions of the “Cinderella” tale, the two cruel sisters mutilated themselves in order to fit into the slipper, and the two of them ended up as blind beggars when birds pecked out their eyes.

Most stories and lore evolve over time, and fairy tales are no different. Here are some examples of old stories that have come under the modern microscope.

  1. Rapunzel – This grim tale from the brothers Grimm is too dark, say many people today. They point out that this story contains violent imagery, blatant sexism, and criminal child abuse. Imagine, a little girl being given up for adoption by thieving parents, only to find that the poor child is then placed in solitary confinement, and only a man can save her.
  2. Cinderella – In a corrected version, Cinderella might not be burdened by cruel sisters and the sexist drudgery of menial housework. Instead, she might end up stuck in a dead-end office job, just like everyone else.
  3. Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Another potential “Amber Alert” situation, though there does not appear to be any great hue-and-cry over a missing girl’s whereabouts. Didn’t anyone in the olden days have any parents (historical note: when some of these tales were first written, life-expectancies were only in the 30s, so there probably were a lot of parent-less children)?
  4. Jack and the Beanstalk – Why is it never “Jane and the Beanstalk”? Well, it is probably just as well. Jack turns out to be a little thief who doesn’t follow his mother’s instructions very well. He steals from an ogre, and then kills the poor guy to boot. In today’s version, Jack might have just gone out to get a job so he could help his poor mom out, and he certainly wouldn’t have jeopardized his future by stooping to thievery and murder.
  5. Sleeping Beauty – Another motherless story, this one also involves probable nudity. When the king forbade the spinning of all materials in order to thwart a witches curse, the realm probably ran out of clothing for the citizenry. This is another one where it’s a guy rescuing a girl in trouble, instead of maybe the other way around.
  6. Hansel and Gretel – Wrong in so many ways, this tale involves child-abuse, spousal abuse, inhumane treatment of captives and poor nutrition. The modern version might have the cottage windows made of Splenda rather than clear sugar.
  7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – The term “dwarf” has come under fire in recent years, but “Frozen Caucasian Water and the Seven Altitude Challenged People” isn’t a title the folks over in Marketing are looking for.
  8. Red Riding Hood – “Sam ‘The Sham’ and the Pharaohs” admonished Red, singing that she shouldn’t “. . .go walking in these spooky old woods alone”. Good advice for a small child who was sent, unattended by a parent, to visit an aging relative who was probably in need of 24-hour in-home care. Of course, there is also the wolf, a stalker and an abuser of the elderly.
  9. The Pied Piper – The Piper of the tale was obviously a cult-leader who had lured not only the rats, but also the children of the beleaguered township of Hamelin. The Pied Piper obviously had anger-management issues, which might have been addressed with classes and counseling in a modern version of the story.
  10. The Emperor’s New Clothes – This tale has a pair of swindling tailors hoodwinking a vain emperor into thinking that the “nothing” they have made for him is a fine suit of clothing. A little kid busts the scam wide open, but the emperor is held out as the selfish patriarch that he is.

Almost every story has elements that may not suit future generations. Who knows, in a few hundred years, Cinderella’s step-sisters may turn out to be kind and gentle care-givers.

Article courtesy of my friends at www.babysitters.net

Children’s ISA’s – What You Need To Know

It’s commonly believed that in the UK,  Children are exempt from tax. This is in fact a money myth.  They are treated in exactly the same way as adults, which means each child can in the 2011-12 tax year earn up to £7,475 tax free from income, savings or investments. Grown-ups who enjoy managing money sometimes look into an online accounting degree.

Usually children under 18 don’t earn that much from part time jobs etc, apart from a few young entrepreneurs, hence the often held belief that kids can earn tax free.

Assuming your child won’t earn more than £7,475this financial year (watch out child prodigies!),you can ensure that any interest is paid without the tax being automatically deducted by filling out the Inland Revenue R85 form (available from most banks or online).

Alternatively you can open a children’s ISA which allows interest to be paid free of tax plus attract a  much higher interest rate of upto 6% in some cases. Children’s ISAs were launched in November as an encouragement for children (and adults on their behalf) to save money. Many new accounts offer incentives such as piggy banks or high street vouchers. We think they should give away sets of The Financial Fairy Tales books instead as this will have a win win effect of encouraging new accounts and teaching children about money, (marketing execs take note!)

In essence children, parents, grandparents or anyone else can make deposits of upto £3600 in a tax year. The money stays on deposit where it cannot be touched until the child is 18. This makes it a great way of saving for future university fees, a first car or a gap year in the Caribbean!

Here are a round up of some of the best articles we could find on the subject of Children’s ISA’s

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/child-savings-tax-free

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15522384

Once you have decided on opening an account, this is a great opportunity to discuss the benefits of saving and start a money conversation with your children. Keep them involved with the choosing, the paperwork and making the first deposit.

Who know’s their savings might need to help look after you when your pension runs out!

 

 

Compulsory financial education in schools

Over 100,000 people have now signed the petition calling for compulsory financial education in schools, which means it must be considered for a Parliamentary debate.

The petition championed by Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert hit the magic 100,000 number last night, showing the enormous nationwide support for the campaign to help rid the nation of financial illiteracy, which can lead to serious debt problems.

(click here to sign the e-petition on the Government’s website).

This is the trigger by which all issues raised in Government e-petitions are considered for debate in the House of Commons .

As Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson has agreed to sponsor the petition, it stands a good chance of a Commons airing.

The issue is already on the political radar as over 250 MPs are part of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Financial Education for Young People, which also calls for compulsory money lessons.

The petition also has the support of numerous consumer groups such as Which? and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service plus of course The Financial Fairy Tales.

Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com creator, says: “Thanks to everyone who’s signed the petition and played their part in putting this on the political agenda.

“Politicians of every party should hang their heads in shame. It’s a national disgrace: in the 20 years since student loans came in, we’ve educated our youth into debt when they go to university, but never about debt.”

“We’re a financially illiterate nation, with millions caught by mis-selling, over-borrowing and being ripped off. The easiest, cheapest and most important fix is to get financial education in every school.

Many wonderfully already do this, yet most don’t. The problem is unless it is compulsory, head teachers can’t focus resources to make it happen. Hopefully, this petition will be a major step to change that.”

Debate moves closer

Tomlinson, who set up the APPG, says it is vital we educate the next generation about personal finance.

He says: “I am delighted financial education is supported by so many people, and passing the 100,000 barrier on the e-petitions system is a real, major boost to our campaign.

“We are shortly set to conclude our nine-month inquiry looking at how we can deliver compulsory financial education as part of the national curriculum.

“The 100,000 signatures to the e-petition will help us secure Parliamentary time on this subject, essential for raising the profile of our report with key ministerial decision makers.”

Financial education was due to become part of the curriculum underthe previous Labour Government when then School’s Minister Ed Balls, along with Martin Lewis, launched the proposals in January 2010.

However, as those plans were tied in with sex education, they were scrapped because of the row over teaching sex to kids ahead of last year’s General Election.

 

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