Sleeping Beauty is the latest victim in the #MeToo campaign

Is it time to rethink the ending of the fairytale classic?
Is it time to rethink the ending of the fairytale classic? 

Fairytales have a history of being rewritten to reflect changing attitudes and it's time for Sleeping Beauty to have another reimagining.

Gone are the days of saving helpless women with a predatory kiss. Harsh, but true, the princess wasn't even awake when the Prince kissed her.

The discussion's been sparked by British mum Sarah Hall who has asked her six-year-old son's school to remove the fairytale from its circulation because it promotes non-consensual kissing.

In the story, the Prince leans over and kisses the sleeping Princess, to awaken her from her slumber. This all happens without her consent and for Ms Hall it's not a message to be promoting in schools.

The mum tweeted images of her son's reader with the caption: "Tell you what, while we are still seeing narratives like this in school, we are never going to change ingrained attitudes to sexual behavior #metoo #consent #mysonissix

Her concerns have been driven largely by the outpouring of personal stories of sexual predation from women all over the world, using the hashtag #metoo.

In a time of greater awareness about consent and women's empowerment, she can't understand why children are still being encouraged to read stories where a man "saves" a woman by kissing her without her consent.

Unsurprisingly, the Twitter police pounced and she has been savaged for her "so-called" extreme political correctness. The comments aimed at her have been vile and increasingly aggressive in nature.


Again a woman has "overreacted". Again a woman who speaks about women's rights, even the rights of a princess in a fairytale, is slammed for speaking her mind.

She opened up a discussion - she did not deserve to be personally attacked with such fervour.

Free speech is just that, free. I don't think she should pay with such vitriol for having an opinion.

But you know what, she's right. Sleeping Beauty doesn't reflect the modern world we live. It doesn't support the integral right every woman has to consent. In fact, kissing a woman while she sleeps is assault.

Maybe it's time to revisit the ending and give it a fresh new twist?

What's the harm in updating the story to give it relevance in today's society?

Fairytales will only live on if they resonate with children. And holding on to outdated views will not help them survive - children are too savvy to embrace stories with old-fashioned messages.

Stories need to reflect the changing attitudes towards women. Subtle moments, like a seemingly harmless kiss by a Prince, help shape young minds. I know I want my kids to grow into adults who understand the importance of women having the power over their own bodies.

And while the purists express remorse over the demise of storytelling, remember it's not the first time this particular fairytale has been adapted.

In Giambattista Basile's original incarnation, called Sun, Moon and Talia, the princess was raped while she slept and birthed two children. Could you imagine that story being read in classrooms around Australia?

And in the 2014 Sleeping Beauty movie adaption Maleficent – it's Angelina Jolie's character, the evil fairy, who kisses Aurora and wakes her.

The beauty of storytelling is that stories can be changed to suit different audiences. Words can work wonders to spark small minds' imaginations and reinforce what they trust in the world.

Taking the stories of our past and giving them a fresh new take can only be good for ensuring they live on for future generations. Times have changed – fairytales, like Sleeping Beauty, should too or risk the kiss of death.