Outing of fairy story princes just proves we’ve lost the plot

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Not for one single second would anybody in their right mind make light of the current global outing of sexual predators or harassers in the workplace – but honestly, some people just don’t seem to quite grasp what it’s all about.

Let’s be clear – nobody should feel threatened in their workplace, on the street or in their home. Everyone’s rights and privacy must be respected, and those who cross the line deserve to pay a heavy price.

But when the list of ‘predators’ threatens to include a fairytale prince, there’s a real danger we’ve just lost the plot – and by spreading the net so wide, we ease the spotlight off the worst offenders.

The fairy tale prince is the one in Sleeping Beauty – and apparently his predatory crime is that he kissed a slumbering princess without her consent, so the story is now inappropriate because it ‘fuels a culture of sexual assault’.

This is according to a mother of two – and president-elect of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations – who was apparently inspired by the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment.

She forgets to add that this is also entirely inappropriate given the age gap between the kisser and the recipient; presuming the prince is in his 20s, he’s the guts of 100 years younger than the princess, who has after all been asleep for a century.

But even without that issue on age difference, Sarah Hall wants Sleeping Beauty removed from the curriculum at her six-year-old son’s school because it delivers an inappropriate sexual message.

She doesn’t mind access for older children to whom you can explain the notion of consent – but not the little ones who aren’t as familiar with the difference between right and wrong.

“I think it’s a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent,” she said.

“It’s about saying: is this still relevant, is it appropriate? In today’s society, it isn’t appropriate — my son is only six, he absorbs everything he sees, and it isn’t as if I can turn it into a constructive conversation.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune