A book about 'Cinderfella' shows us how books for girls fall short.
How fairy tales inspired a new book series.
You're probably pretty familiar with the story of Cinderella, her fairy godmother, her evil stepmother, and the handsome prince.
It's a classic story about dreaming big, with the message that you, too, can escape tough circumstances with a little bit of magic (and a bit of conventional beauty). Overall, it's a pretty standard fairy tale in which the best thing a woman can hope for is to be hand-picked by a man for a life of "happily ever after."
As a story, it's fine, but it's not exactly inspirational.
To get a better idea of what I'm talking about, let's imagine that the roles were reversed — the story of Cinderfella.
That's what Rebel Girls did in a 2017 video where they ask, "What if Cinderella were a guy?"
What follows is a humorous story about a boy named Cinderfella, his evil stepfather and ugly stepbrothers, a fairy godfather, a glass loafer, and a noble princess to pluck our dear protagonist out of obscurity and into wedded bliss.
Gifs from Rebel Girls/Facebook.
It's a funny reimagining of a literary classic, but it's probably not something we'd read to little boys in hopes of inspiring them to do great things. (Luckily, there are a lot of stories aimed at helping boys dream big.)
Rebel Girls founders Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo noticed that the same couldn't be said about girls' stories.
So they decided to change things up in a big way.
Favilli and Cavallo released "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls," a book they wish they'd had when they were children.
"Recently, I realized that not a single story I read growing up featured a girl who took her destiny in her hands and made something on her own without the help of a prince, a brother, or a mouse," said Favilli in the group's launch video. "By the time girls reach elementary school, they already have less confidence than boys. Why is that? They say that 'If you can see it, you can be it' — but what happens when you never see someone like you making the headlines?"
"Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls" tells the stories of 100 powerful, real-life women and girls such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo, Helen Keller, and Amelia Earhart.
Upon its release, the book became so popular that Favilli and Cavallo began work on a sequel, released in late 2017.
Image from Rebel Girls/Facebook.
Now, to be sure, neither Favilli or Cavallo are trying to ban old-school fairy tales like Cinderella. (Yes, I'm talking to the person who is no doubt writing a comment as they read this).
They're simply trying to provide some more options for parents to read to their children. A larger selection is always a better thing, especially if it helps kids harness their potential to dream.