It is our pleasure to introduce Kirstin Pulioff as the first guest author in the Words With Women's Living Room. Please join us in reading her blog post discussing fairytales.

Kirstin's post: This blog recently featured an article about the negative influence fairytales can have on the female/female relationship.  I can acknowledge this is true on many levels.… but they also teach us about the good in the world.

Fairytales in themselves are stories that weave together a lesson or moral with the fantasy. They are often used to teach a child without them knowing, entertaining them with the whimsy of the story, the imagery, and the mystical elements.

When researching this topic, I was astounded to find that some of the oldest fairytales were much darker than modern versions.  The toned down versions of Disney have led to a gentler vision of Snow White, Little Mermaid, and some of our other favorite princesses.  I kind of like that.  The older fairy tales give a darker tale that us adults enjoy, and the newer ones can still teach with a positive tone.

 With so many fairytales out there, I wanted to point out some of the positive lessons from a few of my favorites.  Yes, these still have some of the negative and unsavory parts, but just like the duality of life, it’s important to look on the positive side.

Snow White
 is full of wonderful gems of wisdom.  From finding help in the most unlikely of places, to having a positive attitude at work, true beauty comes from within, and true love conquers all, there is a lesson for everyone.

Sleeping Beauty spent a lot of time sleeping, but what she learned, was if you dream it, it can happen. Never give up on your dreams, you never know who is fighting for you and who is helping behind the scenes.

One of my childhood favorites, Cinderella, is full of great messages.  This one teaches us that hard work pays off, be kind to animals, never give up hope, and always have a fantastic pair of shoes.

Rapunzel is a newer one, but filled with the positive notions of following your dreams, enjoying the adventure that life takes you on, and finding the good in the people around you.

So find a fairytale, new or old, and enjoy the positive message found within.  These are timeless tales that are filled with lessons on love, dreams, and happy endings.
Kirstin Pulioff is the author the fairytale series The Escape of Princess Madeline and The Battle for Princess Madeline.

I read an insightful blog post by Kathryn, discussing woman on woman snarky and vulgar behavior. Her conclusion that this inappropriate behavior must be addressed within oneself first is absolutely accurate. We are responsible for the way we behave. Like Kathryn, I was utterly appalled at the language and actions of these women toward each other. However, I'm not going to link the post that Kathryn discussed here. It doesn't deserve the additional page views.

This behavior seems to start at an early age. So I focused on early learning materials in this post. Albert Einstein said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” I wonder if these same fairy tales are teaching women to be mean to each other. To follow my train of thought, let’s examine a few. Cinderella was relegated to maid status by her  step-mother and step-sisters and had to sneak out to the ball. Sleeping Beauty was given the poison apple by the wicked fairy because she was not asked to be one of Sleeping Beauty's godmothers. And Snow White was to be executed, on her step-mother's orders, because Snow White had become the fairest in the land.

It would be unfair to conclude that all fairy tales teach women to be nasty to each other. Most provide the opportunity to talk with children about good versus evil or other morals presented on an age appropriate level. For instance, they could talk about step-parent and step-child relationships that are wonderful and fulfilling, unlike those the fairy tales depict. The Three Little Pigs teaches judgment with the choice of home building materials. Or, parents can talk about the consequences of lying as they read Rumpelstiltskin with their children. Hansel and Gretel offers the opportunity to discuss that some adults are bad and that children need to be alert. By being aware, they may be able to escape potential predators. 

It seems that girls may be learning to be mean to each other based on certain fairy tales. But the parents’ responsibility remains the same. They need to read with their children so that the messages that they would like their children to receive are discussed and understood. Expectations for the child’s behavior can be included in these discussions, as well. When the parents don't spend time reading or viewing the videos with their children, it allows the children to draw their own conclusions about appropriate versus inappropriate actions. 

Perhaps it is time to evaluate the fairy tales that we read to our children. We need to look for stories that fit today's world. The BedTime Story currently posted, The Trees Have Hearts, is a perfect example for teaching friendship, diversity and acceptance of people who may be different than oneself.

I'd like to hear from you which stories you read to your children and why. I'd also like to know whether you think fairy tales are teaching girls to be rude and vulgar toward each other. What other theories do you have related to the subject?

Okay, it's happened - I'm 50! Take a close look at the caution tape. Leave it to my staff to find that!

I ducked under the tape to go in and out for a couple of hours. But that got old real fast, so I moved the tape to the window beside my door.

There were the standard jokes about the fire alarm going off. Of course, they couldn't get ONE candle with a "50" on it. There were SIX. Does that make me 300 in Office Worker years?

See the confetti on the table? More "50's" and Happy Birthdays. Can you feel the love?

I wish you could actually see this in person. The pictures don't show how many streamers and balloons adorned every surface and light fixture. I must say they did a terrific job of decorating my office. What do you think?

I don't look 50, so perhaps I'll get carded again once I begin ordering from the senior citizen's menus. Maybe I'll pretend it's because I'm 21. But my birthday wish was definitely not to be 21 again!