Fairytales May Convey a Hidden Message

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As innocent as they seem, from the cute fairytales of Cinderella and her submissive character to the passionate story of Beauty and the Beast, a maiden who falls in love with a beast, the true meaning that lies beneath the pretty shell delivers a different message to children. The idea of the “traditional” role of women is constantly portrayed in many fairytales. Fairytales, although fantasy-like, still resemble aspects of the world and throughout history, women were considered inferior to men. “…it is a fair assumption that in a world dominated by men, the fairy tale reflects the world as defined and organized by men…” (Oliver 86). Stories such as The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson, Cinderella and Snow White by the Grimm’s Brothers, and Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbet de Villeneuve, emphasize the different inequalities between men and women. “Girls in Fairyland do not triumph over males; they obey.” (Oliver 86).

An envious step-mother, a mistreated heroine, and a granted wish to go to the ball may not be the only meanings presented in the fairytale of Cinderella. A dangerous message sent to children, especially for young girls, is to be passive till a rescuer (in this case, Cinderella’s mother) to arrive and grant their wishes. Although obedience is a valuable lesson to be learned, Cinderella continues to be submissive to the extent which she is relentlessly abused by her step- mother. Yet, eventually, her passive role is rewarded and as a result, she lives happily ever after with her noble prince. “…toying with the Cinderella motif, Gardner explodes the notion that every woman is simply waiting for a prince to come along and save her.” (Zipes A32). However, this message taught can be subconsciously embedded into children’s minds and during the periods of maturation, children will have the thought that suffering quietly will ultimately be rewarded. “While it may be true that fairytales offer...
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