Gender Stereotypes In Fairy Tales

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Fairy tales have a long history, being one of the most popular and well-read genres of literature, that has influenced generations for centuries. Originally oral tales, many world-renowned fairy tales have been recorded as literary texts or produced as a film. With fairy tales being shared in this way, it is too little surprise that fairy tales have become a large part of Western culture. German poet Friedrich Schiller claims that fairy tales still exist and remain extremely popular in almost every culture because there is a “deeper meaning in fairy tales [that] resides in [our] childhood than in the truth that is taught by life” (Bettelheim, 1991, p 5.) Fairy tales prove effective within society because they are both instructive for audiences as well as entertaining. Fairy tales function largely to teach …show more content…
Although there are some exceptions to the traditional gender stereotypes present in fairy tales, many of the classic tales such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White, all convey a female character with little agency and promotes male dominance. The patriarchal ideology contained within fairy tales are a very intricate part of society because they make clear divisions between good and evil as well as a model for ideal behavior in society. So as Jack Zipes expresses it, “the fairy tales assume great importance because it reveals how social mores and values were introduced in part through literature and constituted determinants in the rearing of an individual child” (Zipes, 1983, p.7). Thus, this essay will discuss the impact of female gender roles in four common fairy tales: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood, as well as the feminist response to shifting the view of women away from patriarchal

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