Princesses In Fairy Tales

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“Beauty and Splendor”: The Ascribed Role of Princesses in Fairy Tales
Fairy tales have long been known as stories told to entertain children. Throughout the years, these stories have been passed along from one generation to the next as a method of teaching historical and moral lessons. However, we often do not give adequate attention to the stereotypes created with the common motifs in these tales. More often than not, fairy tales are based upon royalty and young women in fairy tales are obligated to become the ascribed role of princess. It is known that because of precedence,princesses must be adored and this is simply because of their outstanding appearance. By examining the fairy tales of “Sleeping Beauty in the Wood”, Perrault’s version of “Cinderella”, and “Pretty Goldilocks”, it will be evident that the stories revolve around one-dimensional, narcissistic individuals, otherwise known as Princesses.In “Sleeping Beauty in the Wood” the princess is first introduced as a child who
“had all the perfections imaginable”. (Perrault, Sleeping 66) As well, after fairies had been summoned to serve her, each one gave her a gift: to be the most beautiful person in the world, have the wit of an angel, as well as wonderful grace in everything that she did. The author creates the portrait of a shallow character which has been blessed with cursory traits. It is important to note that the princess was not born with such characterisitcs, but the fairies, looking out for her best interest and serving her, use their supernatural powers so that she might possess these apparently essential qualities. The complete story depends on and focuses around Sleeping Beauty’s appearance. Although she has had misfortune and been pricked by a spindle and doomed to sleep for one hundred years, it is said that “her swooning had not dimmed her complexion: her cheeks were carnation and her lips were coral.” (Perrault, Sleeping 68) Again, the story is carried on the fact that the princess must live up to the expectations of being beautiful. The author feels it is important to let the reader know the status of her looks to ensure that she is till looking her best despite being under a spell. As the story progresses, the princess is subjected to mistreatment by the wicked Queen-Mother, yet in the end the beautiful looking princess prevails while the ugly Queen-M...

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...arance. She was told a young prince was asking her hand in marriage, and she was primarily concerned that everyone should proclaim that she lived up to the name of “Pretty Goldilocks”. After ordering an admirer, namely Prince Charming, to perform certain tasks to prove his dedication to her, she tests him by asking him to fetch water from the Fountain of Beauty so she “can never grow old and shall get prettier every year.”(d’Aulnoy, Pretty Goldilocks 228) Perhaps this shows that only a man who would be willing to help her stay beautiful is worthy of her hand in marriage. This further shows the future depends on her concern for attractiveness and not her subsequent marriage to the Prince.
In conclusion, it is evident that fairy tales posess many gender-related stereoyptes. In fact, it may be that the stereotype of women as aesthetically pleasing objects was established in the telling of these tales over generations. The primitive formation of these tales allow for such narrow-minded ideas, however, as the genre succeeds and transforms the biased subjects must be focused on less conceitedness to ensure that our children today learn fair and good morals.

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