Ever since those sassy ladies from the University of Auckland gave Robin Thicke a stern slap on the wrist in their video "Defined Lines," feminist parodies have been popping up all over the place. AS THEY SHOULD BE, amirite? Next up, Huffington Post blogger Brian Gresko gives one of Shel Silverstein's most beloved stories a makeover in a feminist parody of The Giving Tree.
Silverstein's classic children's book tells the story of a lady tree who sacrifices her whole life for the little boy she loves. Gresko's post "The Taking Tree" tells a somewhat different tale by switching up gender roles. The lady tree is now a man tree, and the little boy a young girl (who starts out applaudably eco-friendly, I might add.) Their story begins all kinds of warm and fuzzy, as new relationships are wont to be, but quickly takes a turn for the worse. I've never actually had a relationship with a talking tree (or a "taking" tree, for that matter,) but I imagine if you do, this is not how you'd want yours to go.
In one scene, Gresko writes:
"I'm too big to climb and play with you," the girl said. "I want to buy things and have fun.""You can have fun with me!" the tree replied."It's not the same. I have friends now. People friends.""Oh, I get it. You don't like me anymore...""It's not that," the girl said. "It's just that, well, I need money. And I thought I'd take some of your apples with me to the city and sell them. Then I can go to college."The tree laughed at this. "No way," the tree told her. "These are my apples. Some friend you are! Take a hike."
As the story progresses, the talking tree becomes notably more disgruntled, and will probably begin to remind you of a few of your most regrettable ex-boyfriends. This is not just a taking tree, it's an abusive tree, and somebody's really gotta do something about it.
Luckily, we have our female protagonist ready to jump in and save the day!
I won't spoil the ending for you (OK, I will, she cuts the tree down.) Although it's worth noting, if The Taking Tree were truly a fist raise for feminism, our lady probably wouldn't have waited until the eleventh hour to chop that sucker to the ground. And really, depending on your preferred brand of feminism, she might have nixed the axe, and opted for some personal empowerment therapy instead.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Image: Brittany Ryan/Flickr