My kids have never seen Shrek. In the first place, I honestly just didn't care for the movie. In the second, I want a real fairy tale. I want the princess to be beautiful.
My friend, Dr. Louis Markos, wrote, "To most modern viewers, the transformation of Fiona into an ogre is 'no big deal.' Many would even hail it as teaching children the 'valuable' egalitarian lesson that external beauty is unimportant, an elitist, 'bourgeois' hang-up that needlessly divides and engenders low self-esteem in girls who can't make the grade."
But the Ugly Duckling doesn't stay ugly. He turns into a swan. The Beast turns into a Prince, and Cinderella beats out the ugly sisters for the love of hers. That is how I like my fairy tales.
Dr. Markos continues, "More and more, we are doing the same for ugliness: enshrining it at the heart of our culture, while beauty is left to atrophy and decay."
I've been thinking about this lately because of a 2nd grade project my younger son must complete. He has to recreate a fairy tale character out of craft supplies and return it to school. The most popular character this year ... Shrek. I kept my mouth shut during the discussion (I am learning), but I was just sad.
M will be recreating Prince Charming. And not the Prince Charming of Shrek or Into the Woods. He will be recreating the Prince Charming of Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. He will be the hero who rescues the damsel in distress. He will be dashing and defeat the dragon. He will be faithful. He will not be an ogre.