Stereotypes In Fairy Tales: Cinderella And The Little Mermaid

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Have you ever wondered how things that you experienced as a child shape the person you are today? Think back to the days you watched classic fairy tale movies such as Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. Have you noticed yourself or others following the fairy tale stereotype of associating fairy tales with fluffy dresses and high heels? As a child, you may have thought nothing of the imaginary stories and plots of such tales.

As you read, reflect upon the way fairy tales made you feel and act as a child. Fairy tales, in reality, implant unrealistic expectations and stereotypes into children’s minds. Let’s first take a look at the general Disney fairy tale movie storyline. In almost every movie, the men have full control over the women’s lives, resulting in the objectification of female characters. For example, Prince Charming is the one to “help” Cinderella get everything she ever wanted. In Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora “needs” the prince to wake her up from her sleep. This exact storyline is what our children are learning to follow at such a young age.

Children are not aware of gender stereotypes and objectification. Fairy tales act as almost a role model for them. Children want to lead the same lives they see in their favorite fairy tales. They start to believe they have to act according to the gender standards they see in these movies. Girls grow up feeling as if they are inferior to men and that they need to follow the typical gender conventions for a girl. This
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