Empowering tales Featured

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If we want to tell our daughters tales to empower them, "we must discover, understand, accept, respect, and love who we are."

 

While growing up I loved inventing my own tales and stories that I afterwards told my sisters every night before going to bed. I dreamt them up mostly because I refused to retell once and again what, at the time, I considered ‘the boring princess tales’ in which, invariably, the meek-inactive-porcelain-like princess had just hit a little bump in the road and needed to be rescued by the handsome and courageous prince who unfailingly swept the girl off her feet. I preferred imagining a heroine who was able to act on her own.

Talking Mirror

Since I couldn't find any role model in the stories I read, I wrote my own stories creating bold and fierce female characters who had no fear of heights and succeeded in climbing to the top of the highest peak in the kingdom; girls who could walk in the middle of the forest without complaining about getting mud stains on their shoes; girls who clambered on top of trees to get a better view of the landscape and who jumped across streams just for the fun of it. I sometimes wonder if those tales are partly the reason why I learned to fend for myself without longing to be rescued by Prince Charming and whether they actually pushed me to practise hiking, mountaineering and travelling whenever I got the chance…

 Teenager climbing a tree

I always wondered why more tales like that weren't written. I always argued with my brother because I didn't understand why being the boy automatically meant he always had to play the leading role in our games… And finally, almost 15 years ago I came across a wonderful book: “Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters” by Kathleen Ragan. Ms Ragan's book gathers stories from all around the world in which women --unyielding to peer-pressure and unafraid of telling who they are-- do not need to slay real dragons to show their strength of character. Her book, including tales from Europe, North and South America, Asia, the Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, is a talking mirror because, as she says, “we women must discover, understand, accept, respect, and love who we are.” And we have to show our daughters who they are so they can be the heroines of their own lives.

 

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