Fairy Tales and Gender Roles

Fairy Tales and Gender Roles


Some things about fairy tales we know to be true. They begin with "once upon a time." They end with "happily ever after." And somewhere in between the prince rescues the damsel in distress. Of course, this is not actually the case. Many fairytales omit these essential words. But few fairytales in the Western tradition indeed fail to have a beautiful, passive maiden rescued by a vibrant man, usually her superior in either social rank or in moral standing. Indeed, it is precisely the passivity of the women in fairy tales that has led so many progressive parents to wonder whether their children should be exposed to them. Can any girl ever really believe that ...

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tale has hundreds of oral versions collected from Asia Minor, Africa and the Americas as well as from across Europe. These tales of course vary in the details: The stepmother (or sometimes the mother herself) attacks Snow White in a variety of different ways, and the maiden is forced to take refuge with a number of different kinds of unlikely protectors robbers, assassins, giants, and fairies as well as those adorable Disney dwarves (Bacchilega, 1997, p. 29).

Each version of "Snow White," no matter how different the surface details, shares several factors in common that are central to the way gender is described and used in so many Western fairytales: The heroine has a wondrous origin, she is innocent, she is persecuted at the hands of a jealous older woman, she is apparently killed (or dies) and she is then resurrected (Bacchilega, 1997, p. 31). The most striking of these elements is female jealousy, because while it is certainly not essential to the plot, it is a ubiquitous ...

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Fairy Tales and Gender Roles. (2011, April 2). Retrieved April 19, 2018, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Fairy-Tales-and-Gender-Roles/97391
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"Fairy Tales and Gender Roles." Essayworld.com. April 2, 2011. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Fairy-Tales-and-Gender-Roles/97391.
"Fairy Tales and Gender Roles." Essayworld.com. April 2, 2011. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Fairy-Tales-and-Gender-Roles/97391.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 4/2/2011 01:36:38 PM
Submitted By: dguy
Category: Social Issues
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1150
Pages: 5

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