I took a moment to really think about the original Rapunzel story. A (literally) sheltered teenage girl gets pregnant and is cast out into an unfamiliar world. The more I think about it, the more it bothers me. So here’s another women’s rights fairytale.
After the Tower
What did you expect, Mother—I know
you’re not my mother but I have no other word
for you—what did you expect when you put your faith
in a tower? You told me the world was full of dangers
but not what to do when danger crept my walls.
A tower is a tower, not a weapon, not an answer.
All the truth you kept from me, Mother, all the truth
you kept from me turned to lies on his lips.
I followed him and he rewarded me. I wanted,
so I did. You never told me that beauty and pleasure
could cause trouble. I’m more surprised than you,
Mother, more surprised by my expanding body
and tightening dresses. I thought I was only bursting
with love. Now you tell me, Mother, now you show me
that a few happy nights could change my life,
my very self, that there is a price for being unguarded.
I’ve never paid for anything. You never punished
me, Mother, you never punished me until now,
casting me out of the only place I’ve ever been.
I have nothing but this soft body and a love whose name
I don’t know. What will become of a child
with a mother such as me? How will we live?