Fairytales Influence on Gender Roles

Topics: Fairy tale, Gender, Brothers Grimm Pages: 2 (862 words) Published: November 2, 2014

Gender can be defined as the differences between the way that men and women in particular societies are expected to behave. Gender can affect our identity in many ways. This essay will look at how influential, firstly, children’s fairytales are in providing gender stereotypes and secondly, how the children’s fairytales have evolved over a period of time Gender stereotypes are simplistic generalizations about the gender attributes, differences, and roles of individuals and/or groups. Traditionally, the female stereotypic role is to marry and have children. She is also to put her family's welfare before her own; be loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, and sympathetic; and find time to be sexy and feel beautiful. The male stereotypic role is to be the financial provider. He is also to be assertive, competitive, independent, courageous, and career‐focused. The main characters of fairytales are women and this is because the narrator was always female. There are different types of women and these can be differentiated by the lead characters appearence. Beauty is the most important trait that a woman can have, and this dictates the conclusion of the story, whether she has happiness or not. Females who are described as ugly or different are usually referred to as The Witches or The Ugly Stepsisters. The good female is accepting of her life and would usually wait until a man would rescue her in order to take control and dictate her future. “Through the majority of the tales, the heroine’s beauty, rather than her actions, drives the plot” (Baker, LB, 2003. The Pervasiveness and Persistence of the Feminine Beauty Ideal in Children's Fairy Tales. 5th ed. London: Sage Publications, Inc). The male does not enter the story, unless the female heroine is describing her dream man or dreaming about him. The hero, often a prince, is described as brave and handsome. His beauty is secondary to his actions, unlike the female. While the female heroine is often in need of...
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