Gender Stereotypes In Fairy Tales

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If I were to simply ask you, “What are fairy tales?” Many of you would respond with the instinctive, “dashing princes, damsels in distress, an evil queen and a happy ending,” the basic foundation of every story, however the same fairy tales today are being remade to a much different fashion, Rapunzel becomes Tangled, Snow White becomes Mirror Mirror, it makes you ponder of the causes of this ripple in the traditional tales of the Brothers Grimm. This led me to reread a few popular fairy tales and now, with a more mature educated mind set, the subtle but prevalent gender stereotypes are unveiled. Fairy tales give off a very light-hearted feel with a very powerful generic triumph of good over evil theme which becomes the main focus and hides the true horror within, the view on how woman and men are expected to act. This is evident from every fairy tale’s princess protagonist, even though the entire plot is centred on her, she oddly has a passive role, compared to the prince, a much less talked about character, who inevitably saves her. A child psychoanalyser Bruno Bettelheim says, “The child intuitively comprehends that although these stories are unreal, they are not untrue ...” so when being read by small children, who have not yet learnt the true right and wrong ways of the world, their subconscious is the perfect untouched clay, easily sculpted and manipulated by the gender stereotypes, and obviously enamoured with the magic and love aspect in the story, children will grow
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