Gender Roles in fairytales

Reflective Response: Analyzing Gender Roles Gender Bias is still very evident in our society and I believe it is also still present in Fairy tales. Despite how far we’ve come in equality between genders, children’s fairy tales still tend to advertise the gender bias and stereotypes set upon men and women. Many of these stories depict their male heroes as powerful, tough, and dominant, and their female counterparts as selflessly dedicated and submissive damsels in distress. Children absorb these messages from a very young age, through their exposure to fairy tales in media such as storybooks, children’s films and
TV shows. These messages give them the impression that the only way to be happy is to fulfill the traits of the ideal male/female figure. Little girls frequently dream of becoming the beautiful princesses while little boys strive to be the mighty brave knights, warriors and fighters. Many stereotypes appear in Disney movies, for example Cinderella displays apparent gender bias, stereotypes and discrimination. This movie shows the classic storyline; the courageous, fearless prince charming saves the helpless weak princess from doom.
Cinderella is characterized as a tender earted girl who passively accepts her fate which is to live with her evil step-mother and step-sisters. Her life doesn’t change until prince charming takes an interest in her and swoops in to save her from her miserable life by becoming not only her one true love, but also her sole provider. This is an evident example of Disney portraying women as weak and docile. Cinderella does not stand up for herself but has to wait for a man to do it for her. This stereotypical storyline teaches young children how they must be to be accepted in society; boys must be strong, girls must be weak.

This kind of message is engrained into young girl’s minds that they have no control over their lives and must wait for a strong male fgure to save them. These tales teach girls to be passive and dependant because any female characters that break these norms are depicted as an evil. If a woman is strong, independent and speaks her mind (stereotypical male traits), she is seen as nothing but obnoxious or a “bitch”. Not only are girls affected by these gender stereotypes throughout fairy tales but boys are taught to be the leader, to be strong, emotionless and aggressive giving many young oys aggression problems later in life.
These stereotypes give men the impression girls are weak and need some sort of saviour in their life leading them to treat women like they are doing them a favor by simply being with them. All these images help to construct a cultural norm of male dominance. The depiction of forceful and aggressive men and tender and loving women teaches children that these are the norms of society and this is how you should act, when in reality you can be any of these traits no matter what gender. Gender Roles in fairytales By frankiem29

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