A new government-funded campaign in Singapore is educating young women about declining fertility through a series of illustrated "fairytales," distributed on university campuses, that retell classic stories that result in some kind of moral lesson for women who ignore the ticking of their biological clocks.
The stories—which are actually mostly nursery rhymes (this same confusion over form is common, as evidenced during a conceptual photo shoot during America's Next Top Model Cycle 6)—are more like cautionary tales with some statistical data. "The Golden Goose," for example, finds her nest empty after her "egg-making device" became "rusty and old," as a pop-up tells us "1 out of 3 women over 35 will have problems conceiving."
Another, "Alice," features a "wild and reckless" girl in a YOLO crop top inexplicitly steering a convertible from the passenger's seat while holding balloons, with a pop-up warning that an "extended adolescence for twenty-somethings today has a biological cost for women." Everything Alice is doing seems way more dangerous than the threat of declining fertility. In fact, she really shouldn't be having children. She seems really irresponsible.
Developed by a group of undergrads at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, The Singaporean Fairytale is the latest in the country's efforts to encourage Singaporeans to start having kids at a younger age.
Faced with a rapidly ageing society, skyrocketing housing prices, low birth rates and a population that works the longest hours in the world, this country of 5.3 million people has made various attempts over the years to encourage its citizens to marry and procreate, from government-funded speed-dating schemes to educational flyers on how to flirt.
While it is important that women are educated about fertility since the best decisions made are ones that are informed, doing so through fairytales and nursery rhymes is pretty patronizing. It's like, "You are simple like a child. You don't even know what's good for you." Additionally, using the "fairytale" format would imply that making babies when you're young is a means to a happy ending.
That being said, I do think that these are hilarious in the same way that I laugh at the really gory, over-the-top, unrealistic death scenes in the Saw movies. I mean, Humpty Dumpty's wife is literally a drunk, broken woman.
Singapore uses 'modern fairytales' to warn women of declining fertility [Guardian]