As a kid, I was a sucker for fairy tales. I had the complete set of Classics Illustrated comics (including the ''adult'' ones), all the Read-aloud paperbacks plus some beautifully illustrated hardcover collections of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson stories. Unfortunately, all were lost when our family cottage burned to the ground.
When we saw Disney's Cinderella, my sister Irene and I got those plastic ''glass slippers'' with the elastic holders -- and it's a wonder we didn't break our necks in them. Since then, I have taken my nieces to most of the other ''princess' movies, and to this day one of them still lists The Princess Bride, which is not quite in the genre, as one of her favourite movies of all time. (On my list you will find Ladyhawke, a sentimental fave highly recommended if you haven't seen it.)
Anyway, the princess thing has been big for little girls for a couple of generations now. One of the girls in Father Knows Best was called ''princess'' by her dad Jim Anderson. All sorts of princess toys and accessories have been made and marketed. And of course, every Halloween, there's a parade of little princesses up my walk looking for treats.
As of every little girl knows, princesses always have it made in the end. They kiss their prince, mount his white charger and ride off into the happily ever after horizon.
As if that's what life is all about.
Vancouver artist Dina Goldstein decided to look beyond the fairy tale ending with her gallery of ''Fallen Princesses,'' a collection focusing on what happens to Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and the rest of the girls in real life land.
Here's an example:
I explored the original brothers Grimm's stories and found that they have very dark and sometimes gruesome aspects, many of which were changed by Disney. I began to imagine Disney's perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.
Now, I hate to shatter a little girl's dreams, because goodness knows I had many fantasies of my own, so I wouldn't show this to your daughters.
That said, as a wicked stepmother myself, I must say I resent how these guys all portrayed women as either totally evil or as pure as Snow White.