Gender Roles And Stereotypes In Fairy Tales

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Gender Roles and Stereotypes of Women in Fairy Tales
When people think of fairy tales, the image that comes to mind is a children 's story with magical beings and lands. Often these stories seem very plausible and feel as if they happened in the not so distant past. In 1812, the Grimm Brothers published a collection of stories containing 86 stories, which became the foundation of what we call as fairy tales today. Aside from the fantasy elements, there are many other recurring traits found in fairy tales. Often the protagonist are the downtrodden, innocent, and mostly young characters. What made them standout was their status: sometimes an orphaned child, generally very bright, and adorably naive. The protagonists also have the clear distinction
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In the Grimm Brothers version of "Little Red Riding Hood," when Little Red Riding Hood exclaims, "What big teeth you have!", the Wolf answers "All the better to eat you with," and consumes her. However, the girl does not flinch an inch in Carter 's gothic version. Instead, the reader is surprised by “The girl burst out laughing; she knew she was nobody’s meat” (Carter 219). Furthermore, the heroine gives herself to the wolfman which is then described as a “savage marriage ceremony.” The instincts for survival, in this case, using her sexual powers to entice the creature, contrasts many stereotypes for women including her grandmother 's. According to Dr. Silima Nanda:

Fairy tales embody the ways that societies attempted to silence and oppress women making them passive. Much of the fairy tale literature reinforces the idea that women should be wives and mothers, submissive and self-sacrificing. Good women in stories are to be silent passive, without ambition, beautiful and eager to marry. (248)

The Heroine in “The Company of Wolves” breaks these portrayals of women in every way. She does not submit to superstitious beliefs or God and the bible, she refuses to be a weak, submissive, and vulnerable figure, and she is not afraid to use her sexual ambition to control men who are trying to silence and oppress women. Through the boldness choices, Little Red Riding Hood is able to survive a dangerous situation that even her grandmother was not able
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Works Cited

Nanda, Silima, DR. "The Portrayal of Women in the Fairy Tales." Valley International Journals, 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

An scholarly article about the Portrayals of Women in Fairy Tales. Talks a lot about the start of the stereotypes and the types of stereotypes woman have in the stories. However it also compares the different kind of traits and qualities women in different stories have and how they have helped them prevail in the story. For example how sleeping beauty’s patience/ sleeping allowed her Prince to find her and live a life happily ever after.

Patel , Henal . "Gender Roles Indoctrinated Through Fairy Tales in Western Civilization ." (n.d.): 1-67. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Very similar to the first article, This scholarly articles talks about the development of the woman’s role in fairy tales. The Author also takes a look at how feminists and modern authors have acknowledged the “detrimental effect fairy tales have on our perception of gender in society.” She then talks about recent works such as Shrek and how they compare to traditional Disney and Grimm versions of fairy tales.

Green, Samara. "Fairy Tales and Gender Stereotypes." The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 15
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