The Quintessential Fairytale

Every time I walk into a store or pass by a television, I gingerly walk a minefield of tiaras, gallant princes, and Disney princesses. Their long flowing hair, beautiful voices, and sparkling eyes call out to us. My four-year-old daughter still does not know the difference between a princess and a bride, but even she stops in her tracks with a hypnotic, dreamy look when she catches a glimpse of Beauty and the Beast playing on the TVs at Costco. Ballroom dresses, long hair, and sparkles are wired into this kid’s genes–even without a TV.

I loved Disney movies as a child. But for as long as I can, I am hoping to keep my children away from them. Am I making a big deal about a harmless childhood fascination? Maybe. But as an American Muslim and a feminist, I want to protect my daughters from the life lessons they may learn from Aladdin, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty: true love is the most important thing in life, heroines are always drop-dead gorgeous, and you will only be complete when the perfect guy swoops in to save your life. I want to see that incredulous gaze in her eyes, not when listening to a dead-end fairy tale, but when she hears stories of heroism, sacrifice, and struggle. I want her to know that a believing woman can have the strength of a thousand men.

Within the verses of the Quran and the history of the Islamic movement are rivers of stories waiting to be learned, reinterpreted, and told to our wide-eyed children. Recently, after listening to a lecture on tape, I sat for many moments afterward pondering the story of Bilqees, the Queen of Sheba, and Prophet Sulaiman.

It is a fairy tale in the most beautiful sense. A story for a little girl to live by…

(to be continued)

Maha Ezzeddine

Maha Ezzeddine lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and three daughters. She is a dedicated MAS worker, part-time writer,  and creative homemaker.

About Mahaez
  • Sadaf

    I totally agree with your viewpoint. My daughter is also four, and alhamdulillah she has only seen these Disney princesses on coloring books, pencils and other kiddie girls stuff (we do not have a TV or DVD-viewing culture in our home). She always looks at how I react to each fantasy character (Barbie, Snow White etc.), so when she sees me NOT admiring or praising these princesses, she doesn’t think too highly of them either.

    Little girls who idolize these princesses grow up with the idea of having a tiny waist, a ballroom gown, a fairy tale wedding and the handsome prince. Why not replace fantasy with reality/real life? I think the idea of relaying true stories of Muslim women and those who submitted to Allah before Islam, more relevant.

    And I especially liked this line:

    ” I want her to know that a believing woman can have the strength of a thousand men.”

    Jazakillahu khair!

  • ummossama

    I only wish that our Muslim children knew the stories of the prophets,

    the life of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) and the lives of the Sahabah/great women in Islam- as well as they know all characters from the Disney movies. JAK , Maha

  • Sarah


  • Jessi

    thumbs up