Folklore Analysis: Selected Topics in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

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FOLKLORE ANALYSIS
Selected Topics in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
LIVING A FAIRY TALE LIFE
This analysis will be on the topic of folklore, including the interpretation of fairy tales and proverbs and their relation towards gender-role stereotypes.
I. Insinuations of differential treatment men and women receive in Fairy tales
Fairy tales are known for generations, and are most likely past from generation to generation. People assume that these stories are written especially for children. But many of these so-called fairy tales do have a clear double meaning and often a deeper meaning than you would suggest when reading it out loud to children. The stories are interesting for children, since they can identify themselves with the ‘good’ characters and this makes it easy for them to remember the ‘moral’ lessons to be learned. Which basically is to separate the good from the bad/evil. Furthermore, what can be identified when assessing fairy tales is that there is a clear usage of stereo- typing. The first division is made between good and bad/evil and men and women. Simply by showing which actions are socially accepted and which are not, to show what is moral and what is not. Second, is that the characters of both female and male are very superficial and shallow. The good girl is kind, beautiful, good looking, naïve, never gets angry, and she takes bad/sad situations for granted. The male person is always handsome and makes sure the girl ends up being happy. A third character is the bad/evil person, which basically is an ugly person, or might be good-looking, but will have no good intentions and wants to harm the good. In the end the evil always get punished and the good will conquer the bad.

In the following section I will examine two well-known fairy tales to identify gender discrimination or differential treatment of men and women. Therefore, I choose Cinderella and Snow White. First is Cinderella, which tells the story of a girl named Danielle, who lost her mother as a child. She promised her mother before she died that she will live a good and pious-religious life. Soon after that her father remarries a strict and unkind woman, who already had two daughters from a previous marriage. The two daughters terrorize and bully Cinderella to their maximal capacity and limit her living conditions to minimal, non-human conditions. She is de maid/governess of the house and is not treated as part of the family and they made her work day and night and they call her “Cinderella” a mocking nickname, given rise to because she was often covered in cinders. She decides to go to the ball, with some magic help and the king falls in love with her, after a struggle of not being recognised, the king finds Cinderella and marries her.

For this essay, I have decided to mainly use the version of Charles Perrault, written in 1697. For his version of Cinderella he used the French court as his inspiration. Which, we nowadays could depict as being out-dated since our society is more equalized than back then. But still parts the stereotype gender roles are similar to what we can identify nowadays. His way of characterizing the main characters is based on the French norms of that time: it is all about being wealthy, showing of and having a good social status and reputation, so mainly the differences are based on sex. In general it can be concluded that the men persons in the story are far better of than women. They have everything they want, money, wealth and the possibility to marry the girl they want. Men were superior to women at that time, and the social ladder showed that men will always be higher on that social ladder then women can be. For example, the king has the highest male social position, and the queen has the highest female social position. Nevertheless, what is shown in the story is that even though the queen has a high social position, her powers are very limited. She is not aloud to speak up, (e.g. in the...
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