Where the siblings stumble upon the gingerbread house of a witch… but she’s not a hungry cannibal

Not-So-Grimm Fairy Tale Reboots for Non-Misogynist, Non-Maltreating, Non-Child-Eating Households

By Susan Hatters Friedman

Hansel and Gretel: Where the siblings stumble upon the gingerbread house of a witch… but she’s not a hungry cannibal, just a strange little old lady, because they live in a society that provides a safety net even for eccentric old women who live in candy-cookie houses that melt every time it rains.

Rapunzel: Where the princess locked in the high tower is spotted by the prince, who asks her to let her hair down… and she rappels with him down the side of the castle—not because he rescued her and thus is her true love—but because he rescued her since children are not supposed to be imprisoned in high towers or wrapped in bubble wrap. Rapunzel sees a psychiatrist to help heal from her trauma.

Cinderella: Where the abused step-daughter who sneaks out to the ball and dances with the prince and loses her slipper… realizes that the prince was way too focused on her shoes (all night, she keeps saying ‘my eyes are up here’…).

Snow White: Where the queen’s magic mirror tells her that her step-daughter is the fairest of them all… and she goes to give her step-daughter a hug because- hello– women are valued for way more than just their appearance. The queen talks to her therapist about her jealousy issues (rather than trying to kill her step-daughter).

Rumpelstiltskin: Where the miller’s daughter who was locked into a tower room filled with straw by the king and has to ask an imp for help so that she can spin straw into gold, so that the king marries her rather than executing her… gets out of the castle with half the gold before the king knocks her up with her firstborn to give up to the imp, since she doesn’t know the imp’s name anyway.

Beauty and the Beast: Where Beauty, who was given to the beast by her father, does not learn to love him but rather uses her wits to escape, and then sees Rapunzel’s psychiatrist to cope with her Stockholm Syndrome and the trauma of being sex-trafficked by her dad.

Little Red Riding Hood: Where the little girl who was sent all alone into the woods to her grandmother’s house…can easily tell the difference between a wolf in a costume and her grandma, and thus escapes.



About the Author

Susan Hatters Friedman is a psychiatrist specializing in forensic psychiatry and maternal mental health. She studied satire writing with the Second City. Her recent creative writing can be read on The Dillydoun Review, Love in the Time of Covid Chronicle, and The Centifictionist.