Essay on Analysis Of Margaret Mead 's The Fairy Tale

Essay on Analysis Of Margaret Mead 's The Fairy Tale

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Margaret Mead was a feminist who believed that human behavior wasn’t determined by genes, rather it was determined by the society around them through cultural conditioning. Cultural conditioning is the idea that society dictates what is masculine or feminine and thus influences their behavior. This idea is well portrayed in the fairy tale, “Rumpelstiltskin”, which is basically a story of a woman who was able to succeed but only with the help of men. Although “Rumpelstiltskin” appears to be a success story for women, the fairy tale contains many sexist notions which shows that Mead would not have supported this fairy tale.
One of the reasons why Mead would not support “Rumpelstiltskin” is because of the sexist ideals that are present in the plot of the story. There are many sexist ideas in the novel, and thus Mead would highly be against spreading these ideas to influence the minds of its audience. Mead’s opposition is especially evident when she pushes for the goal of equality for both genders in her text “Sex and Temperance”. She says, “Girls can be trained exactly as boys are trained, taught the same code, the same forms of expressions, the same occupations.” In this quote, we can see that Mead believes that girls can do exactly what boys can as long as they receive the same opportunities. Yet this isn’t the case in “Rumpelstiltskin”. The entire plot of this fairy tale revolves around the idea of, “the miller’s daughter always needing help, whether it be from Rumpelstiltskin, the King, or the messenger”(Grimm). In Mead’s perspective, she would’ve questioned why the miller’s daughter would need their help when she never even attempted to do things herself. Mead, who is a firm believer of equality between genders, would think that...

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...equal environment for both genders because society then recognizes that each person has their own “pattern” tailored to their respective “gifts”. This isn’t the case with the story, and thus Mead would not support the fairy tale because of its sexist cultural conditioning.
No matter what aspect that Mead could look at “Rumpelstiltskin” from, she would never approve of it because they don’t align with her beliefs. She would think that allowing any child to read or listen to such a story would be a detriment to society, since it would allow for those children to develop corrupted views on gender roles. Mead stresses the idea of equality, and this story promotes exactly the opposite. She wouldn’t want people to think that females or males acted or thought a certain way. Instead, Mead would want everyone to know that anyone is capable of anything, regardless of gender.

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