THE BBC has come in for criticism after showing an author encouraging children to rewrite Cinderella to make it more gender equal.
Jeanette Winterson is an award-winning English writer, best-known for her first book Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
As part of the BBC’s 100 Women season, she visited a primary school in the Cotswolds to discuss ways in which Cinderella is sexist.
After reading the schoolchildren the original story, Winterson then says: “Now we’ve heard the story we are going to think about some things in the story we might like to change to make it a bit more equal between the men and the women.”
One of the schoolchildren featured in the short BBC clip says the “sisters could be a little nicer”.
Winterson then asks the children if they think the girls should be “doing things as well?”
The 57-year-old says: “So you don’t think the princesses should just be sitting there saying ‘rescue me?’”
One of the children added: “They shouldn’t really rely on anybody else to save them.
“They should stand up for themselves and actually try themselves.”
Winterson then suggested to the children might want to rewrite the fact that Cinderella had no money of her own.
“So what about the business of cinderella having no money of her own?” she asked.
“This is a problem because in those days women didn’t have any money so I think we might want to change that.”
The idea of rewriting classic fairytales sparked an angry response from BBC viewers.
One asked: “What next? Cinderella will be getting a sex change and falling in love with a woman. Leave the stories alone.”
Another viewer tweeted: “Angry feminist revisionist rewrites fairy tales. Last thing my blood pressure needs before breakfast. Jeeeeeeeez.”
Stephen Palmer said: “Definitely not. Leave classics alone we wouldn’t rewrite Shakespeare to [sic] much correctness.”
Ray Mach said: “Most people will say – if you want to ‘update’ them to bring into a modern context write new ones, leave the originals alone.”
Others were more in favour of Winterson’s efforts saying: “Brilliant retelling of rubbish old ‘traditional’ fairytales by small sensible children. Good on you.”
The BBC’s 100 Women was a series first established in 2013 which examines the role of women in the 21st century.
It was first created following the 2012 gang rape of a woman in India. BBC editor Fiona Crack and other journalists used the tragedy as inspiration to focus on the issues and achievements of women in today’s world.
Along with Winterson other nominated women include singer Alicia Keys, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and plus-sized model Iskra Lawrence.
A BBC spokesman said: “Our 100 Women season is meant to provoke debate and discussion so we’re delighted people are engaging with us – whether this amounts to the BBC being ‘blasted’ readers can decide for themselves.”