Gender Stereotyping In Fairytales: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty And Snow White

2170 Words9 Pages
For many years, fairy tales have been shared with children; whether as teachable, pleasureful or bedtime readings. We are all familiar with the classic’s like: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. These stories hold easy recognizability for the patterns created within them. Patterns that induce, repeated reminders of the gender binary system and social class hierarchies, as well as determinants of the western society. Children’s books are not excluded from the mass portrayal of the role that your sex should play to children, but rather to create different schemas at a young age that carry throughout the lives of the children. There also tends to be a social restriction on writers creativity, especially when examining role reversal/diversity.…show more content…
Turner-Bowker claims, children are aware of genders by the age of five, this means they know male and female as two categories that are different. Not biologically different like the gender binary creates, but characteristically in ways that define our traditions, rituals and behaviours typical of the gender (462). In a different study on gender stereotyping in fairytales, Janet Evans an independent scholar from England, instructs thirty six children, age eight and nine year olds to first write their own fairytale. The students were told the story had to consist of a dragon, princess and prince. She found children had unexpected ideas for the stories, in almost all circumstances the princess was weak and getting saved (5-10). This proving that even children, see woman the way they are being presented in the stories which is not ethically correct, thus creating damage to later life as books are a learning resource for kids. After the children were read the story of The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch, (thus truly hearing the real story of the princess, prince and dragon) the children had a chance to discuss the story and what interested them about it. All things to be considered, Janet Evans found that children agree’d upon, it being odd that there was a female protagonist. Not to say the children were opposed to the idea of a female protagonist either (5-10). This as an illustration on the true grasp children gain from reading stories hoarded with stereotypes,…show more content…
Rather than emphasizing the system of gender binary categories, Munsch has completed turned the ‘girly girl’ princess into a super hero, prompting a new gender order. New gender order meaning, restructuring language and creating systematic change, only to provide equality. White middle to upper class men are something we all strive to be but for no reason other than human beings constructing a hierarchy. While creating that hierarchy, a top base was created placing males inside the position. Following the creation of social determinants, Amanda Diekman and Sarah Murnen proposes “In addition to lessons about morality, friendship, and other important values, books teach children about gender roles” (373). Munsch reverses this ‘rule’ and makes a some what joke out of the prince because Ronald’s persona of thinking he is all that. Controversially, Princess Elizabeth turns against all formulated femininity by using intelligence and wit, over beauty and wealth, unlike the usual soft, loving, gentle princesses Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Elizabeth presents masculine traits like courage, bravery, strength, and intelligence. She also carries her head high with her dirty clothes, messy hair, and straight up madness. Princess Elizabeth is independent, not needing any help or assistance from a male. Ironically, Elizabeth also does not portray the traits of
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