Commentator shares why she thinks fairy tales can negatively influence children

Mentor and commentator Bushra Shaikh shares why she thinks fairy tales can negatively influence children due to things like ‘representation, women, body image’ in Good Morning Britain debate.

Video transcript

BUSHRA SHAIKH: Yeah, but there's element of fairy tales which is this kind of airy-fairy, head in the clouds, romanticized idea, unrealistic expectations of--

- Is that what [INAUDIBLE] all about--

BUSHRA SHAIKH: No, it's not.

- --building up their little dreams.

BUSHRA SHAIKH: It's about being real. Like, what are we teaching our kids? We know that 90% of under-30s have this unrealistic idea of life. What are we doing? Yet we need to redefine the fairy tale. Why call it a fairy tale?

- Which bit bothers you? Is it the damsel in distress bit? Or is it--

BUSHRA SHAIKH: It's everything!

- --the sort of kissing Sleeping Beauty when she's asleep, and no consent?

BUSHRA SHAIKH: It's everything. It's things like representation, like women, body image. Like, this stuff creates depression and anxiety. And--

- Does it?



- I think-- I think you need to-- I have a five-year-old daughter. And so for me, I think you're absolutely right. As a person of color, I'm constantly looking at books that will represent her. But actually, when you talk about fairy tales-- and we discussed Cinderella-- nowadays, you have the more modern version, which is called "Interstellar Cinderella," in which Cinderella actually helps the prince. You know? It's kind of a story flipped on its head.

So you can enjoy these fairy tales. And there is nothing more that I love when we're in bed at night, and reading a fairy tale story with my daughter, having a little bit of fun. [INAUDIBLE] away--

BUSHRA SHAIKH: Read them something different. Why does it have to be a fairy tale? Let's not call it a fairy tale.

- But these fairy tales-- these fairy tales actually allow you, as a parent, to talk about some of those harder subjects, which you may not want to discuss. We can all say stranger danger. What does that mean?

But if you are looking at, example, Hansel and Gretel, as said earlier, don't trust strangers. Not everything is as perfect as it seems. It's an opportunity for you to actually talk about this. And it's--