Carter successfully spins typical gender stereotypes on their head in her collection of short tales. In each tale there is a shift between pretador and prey, heroin and damsille in distress. These subversions send a strong message out to the readers and also are the key tool for why Carters tales are so gripping, using familiar fairytales and then introducing these subversions makes one feel as if one is reading completely new stories. Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber" and "The Tiger's Bride" are both explorations of masks and stereotypes in society. They explore the many masks people can wear, the difficulty of seeing the truth behind masks, and why living behind a mask is not truly living.
Carter subverts the generic gender roles through her feminist re-telling of the Bluebeard myth: she substitutes the mother for the brothers of the bride as the rescuer. This switch calls to attention the stereotypes of the traditional fairy tale’s male-as-saviour and female-as-victim roles. A woman is the hero this time instead of a white knight. And instead of relying on the evil mother/stepmother motif common to fairy tales, the bride’s mother wants only what is best for her daughter. In addition, Carter adds the unusual character of Jean-Ives, a man who comforts and empathizes with the female protagonist, but does not save her
Carter suggests that gender is not important in determining the relationship but the life experiences each partner has.The character of the young heroine challenges the stereotypical belief that woman always occupy the submissive role in a relationship and that the man is there to act as the woman’s protector. It is almost natural that the most experienced partner, who is generally the most confident, takes the lead in the relationship and protects the more innocent one. It is without doubt, that in Jean-Yves and the heroine’s relationship, it is not the man who assumes the dominant role
In the stories where traditionally the woman/ girl would be the one in need of saving, Carter gives these females a new status, they are the heroines and they are the ones with the power and strength to protect themselves without the need of a man. Carter rejects the stereotype of women being emotionally vulnerable to men when the girl takes control . In the tigers bride the the girl takes control of the situation presented to her, even though she sees what is asked of her differently to how it was meant, she presents herself as the strong one and makes the tiger feel less than herself as she doesn’t clearly understand his meaning behing his request. ‘So I shall be covered completely from waist upwards, and no lights. There you can visit me once, sir, and only once.’
This is in great contrast to when the girl willingly does reveal herself to him at the end of the story, she is liberated from her role as a niaeve girl and freed from the lack expectations her father through away when he gambled her off. ‘I felt at liberty for the first time in my life’. The girl becomes the sexual character even though at the very begining we see her confused and unaware of what sex actually is and how emotionally, one can become open to it. ‘I felt my breast ripped apart as if I suffered a marvellous wound’ the signigicance of the ‘marvellous wound’ shows she has freed her self from her adolesnce and become a woman by giving herself to the tiger, the wound echoing the first blood after intercourse.This demonstrates she feels an emotional reaction rather than a physical one. She juxtaposes the words ‘wound’ and ‘marvellous’ to show that although wound suggests damage, it is still a positive reaction.
Carter is very successful in giving her women a strong head and demiener that allows them to be the heroin and the one who takes charge. Carter deffinately doesn’t weaken her men so they are left vunerable but she leaves them to be swayed and easily led not by the innocent little girls who cant defend themselves, but by the strong sexual women that carter transforms them to.