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FAIRYTALES: PROBLEMATIC STORIES



A world where our wishes hold meaning and in the end after all of the struggles we eventually attain our happily ever after, this is the essential concept that all fairytales entail. Fairytales are defined as “a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending”. I feel like while fairytales do help initiate our imagination at a young age yet still they also socialize us into some very problematic beliefs.

An example is of how in stories such as Cinderella she is always singing to the birds and doing the houses domestic work which shows how women are always shown as calm and warm-hearted hence I feel this underlines the key point of how women’s roles are portrayed in a conventional way which impacts children pessimistically.

In the same way in fairytales such as Snow white ‘the dwarfs depend on Snow White for her her ability to cook and clean’ while the dwarfs in return ‘keep her safe’ hence in my opinion this shows us how the traditional idea of women being weak and men being their defenders is focused on hence affecting children negatively as they are exposed to such derivative roles.

Similarly in the classic fairy tale of sleeping beauty corresponding feminine clichés can yet again be noticed. When the fairies blessed Aurora with gifts they included beauty, the talent of singing and that the curse set upon her could be revived by true loves kiss, I feel these gifts yet again stress upon ideals of how women are supposed to be beautiful which creates negative images for children as they start to set standards of what can or cannot be described as perfect.

Another popular fairytale includes Beauty and the Beast which has the common belief attached with it that it promotes women empowerment as the main character Belle would keep reading books despite the criticism shed face by the village she lived in however a much ignored version of this story is how Belle remained faithful to the beast to ‘find the beasts humanity despite his emotional and verbal abuse’, this affects children negatively as it shows that it’s alright for women to be targeted and devalued by men.

I feel even the story of Pocahontas which is considered to be a tale of an independent woman is also scarred with the typical image of how Pocahontas ‘needs a husband to be safe from harm’. This represents the fact that even the fairy tales that children consider to be the most secure are potent threats to their mind set. One common factor which can be found in all fairytales is how the princesses are always the ones being patient and waiting for someone to save them rather than them being empowered enough to do it themselves. This essentially proves how reading fairytales to children doesn’t always encourage children to be creative rather it can even become a peril to it.

Thus fairytales do play a problematic role in children's lives.

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7 kommenttia


Such an interesting read. We've put fairy tales and Disney movies on such high pedestals that we cant see how much damage they can truly cause.

Tykkää

Loved it! I love rewatching old cartoons and movies I was obsessed with as a kid just to analyse them once again through a critical lens and this holds so true for cartoons as well!

Tykkää

this is such a wonderfully detailed and critical analysis of fairytales, loved reading it. As a child I was obsessed with them, but gradually they started to feel more problematic. However, you have captured the essence of what seems to be the problem, and its terrifying to think how children are raised with these subtle messages

Tykkää

Thank you so much for highlighting this! I think it is time to rewrite fairy tales. Most fairy tales tell us that women are passive characters who can only be saved by men, and marriage is the ultimate reward for women. They represent women in binaries. For instance, they are either homebound( good) or they are evil stepmothers and daughters. Also, there is a lack of racial, sexual, and physical diversity. It is a truth universally acknowledged that Disney princesses are beautiful, slim and more often than not, white. It is important to rewrite these fairy tails as they play a significant role in shaping young minds. The idea that an ideal woman is fair, thin, and passive is implanted…

Tykkää

This post is probably my favourite on this blog. You have captured all the problematic features of fairytales accurately and it is honestly so scary because these movies are my entire childhood. The beauty standards set are absurd and the gender roles set are absolutely ridiculous. Most horrifying thing is that these movies actually shape the personalities and influence young children the most.

Tykkää
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