My husband has very fond memories of his mother reading to him at bed time the classic fairy tales. Disney usually concentrates on the princess tales so immediately when you think fairy tale you think princesses and little girls.
The three little pigs, rumplestiltskin, jack and the beanstalk, etc their are tons that apply to both boys and girls.
Lets not forget that alot of companies cant make money off a story that's already has copyrights all over it so some of the classic tales dont get the attention they should.
I think you've got a point about Disney, and in their effort to produce kid movies, everything is becoming very cute and climate controlled for today's kids. I only hope some parents are reading the unsanitized versions to their kids!
Yes, Disney definately has the market on the fairy tales. I think it's most beneficial for kids to compare various versions and choose the one they like best. I totally agree that boys would probably like the original versions while the Disney versions have been highly feminized.
My mother-in-law bought some old Disney books (circa 1975) at a garage sale and brought them to my daughter. They were written so differently than they are today...one of the has Cinderella convinced that her ugly stepsisters will be happy if only they could find nice husbands so she sets off on this plot to marry them off. I don't think that would fly nowadays, and I have to admit I don't like the story since it makes it seem like all an unhappy gal needs is a husband to be happy.
Well, in an ideal world, I suppose that's how things would work. Parents would tell the stories to their children and adapt them as needed. The stories were part of an oral tradition anyways, not created to be written down. That's why there are so many different versions of the same basic story, because different people wrote the stories as they had been told to them.
But things are different today. If you sit down with a group of children and tell them you are going to read Cinderella or some other fairy tale, a good protion of them are bound to say they've already seen the movie. And if things are different, children are more likely to believe the movie is the "real" story than the book or a story told by someone.
Disney are simply the most well known versions, but not necissairly the best. It's important for kids to understand why there are a number of different versions, and the Disney movies are simply one interpretation.
My husband still loves some of the fairytales. He just helped our oldest with a project on Jack and the Beanstalk. Even though at first he didn't think this was a fairy tale. Momentary lapse in his thinking for a minute. My two sons also enjoy the fairytales.