Cinderella And Shrek Gender Analysis

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Cinderella and Shrek both display gender expectations through fairy tale conventions, but in different contexts. The traditional version of Cinderella was written by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s, whereas Shrek, a film by DreamWorks, was released in 2001. Cultural and social values from both time periods are used in both films, through several techniques and conventions.

Cinderella uses various fairy tale conventions, mainly relating to Cinderella and her home life. These include a conventional 19th century house maiden who has suffered, a handsome prince and a wicked stepmother. The traditional Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella was written during the early 1800s where women primarily worked in domestic jobs as housewives, while
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Cinderella is also portrayed as a young woman suffering silently, without taking any action and waiting for her Prince Charming to rescue her from her horrible life. This is as much a fairy tale convention as it is a gender expectation for women to be beautiful and silent. However, this wasn’t as much as a gender expectation in the 1800s as it is today.

Cinderella’s father does not appear to be home as much as the stepmother, and this illustrates the type of work and expectations for women’s and men’s jobs in the 1800s. The father is probably commuting to work, and this is evident through the fact that he never sees the cruelty experienced by Cinderella.

Shrek is a film written in 2001, and was the first film of its kind to subvert traditional fairy tale conventions. Shrek uses fairy tale conventions to tell its story and above all, for comedic effect. However, these conventions are all reversed, as the King is a main villain, and the “evil” ogre is the hero.

The physical appearances and personalities of some characters subvert traditional fairy tale conventions. The beautiful princess later turns into an ugly ogre, the all-powerful king is very short, and the donkey talks. The convention of an evil ogre is also subverted, instead Shrek is a good person who doesn’t wish any harm on
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