“Once upon a time there was a young handsome man named Bropunzel. Bropunzel was locked away inside a tall tower, combing his beautiful beard, knitting scarves and baking.”


This is how a new brief animation of Rapunzel begins. This story, however,  flips the male and female roles and shows the princess rescuing the prince for a change.


The story goes on to explain: “Bropunzel had never met a woman in his life so naturally, he fell in love. The princess brought Bropunzel back to her magical kingdom where they got married and lived happily ever…”


The animation then cuts to point out “Boys don’t wait around to be saved in fairy tales. Why should girls?”


The ladies behind this interesting animation exploring gender stereotypes in children’s literature are Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo - who are concerned about the lack of suitable books available for young girls.



Elena explains why they made Bropunzel: “We switched genders in this fairytale to show how ridiculous it is for a woman to be sitting around helpless in a tower, waiting to be saved by a prince.”


Elena and Francesca were inspired to create a book to inspire young girls after carrying out an experiment on a library bookshelf of kids’ books.


They asked a mum and daughter to remove all books which had no female characters and books where female characters did not speak.


The mum and daughter duo removed a staggering 76 books without female characters, in comparison to just three without male characters.


Then they removed a further 65 books where the female characters did not speak. They then took away books where the only female characters featured, were princesses. Out of a full bookshelf, only a handful of books remained.



Elena and Francesca were inspired to create their own book, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a collection of 100 real life heroines' stories; about women and girls who achieved amazing things against the odds, in a storybook format.


The book was a resounding success and has been translated into 30 languages. 


The stories feature real-life women  from different backgrounds and races who became artists, judges, sports stars etc.


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls received a glowing review in The Guardian which read “The stories are not sugar-coated, and the emphasis is on overcoming obstacles and persevering, the book’s dedication page urging readers to 'dream bigger, aim higher, fight harder' ".


The industrious women have now launched a second anthology Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 and are crowdfunding the cost of publishing their book via a Kickstarter campaign. They have just a week left to raise funds.



Bropunzel was made to highlight how outdated gender stereotypes have been perpetuated in children’s literature and shows the importance of creating strong female roles for young girls to relate to.


“We made this video to show how ridiculous it is for women to wait around to be saved by a prince. Our daughters deserve more,” the caption alongside the video reads.


We wish them the very best of luck with their wonderful book.