Did you know that some fairy tales are 600 years old? They have been around for many years, and nowadays some of the most common fairytales are Cinderella, The Snow White, The Beauty and The Beast and The Little Red Riding Hood. Fairy tales teach kids many moral lessons in a simple way, and that’s one of the reasons why they play such a huge role on children’s lives. Children are so in contact with fairy tales that they even behave and form their opinions based on them, these fairy tales are usually introduced in a stereotypical way which may impact the children’s awareness about gender roles and the reality of the world that we live in.
To begin with, in fairy tales, women are typically represented in not so positive ways, they are usually portrayed as weak, naïve, helpless, pure and innocent princesses or evil, ugly, mean and narcissists stepmothers or witches. A great example where these two types of women are presented it’s in the classic fairy tale Snow White, we have Snow White who is displayed as weak and helpless and then we have her stepmother who is portrayed as an evil witch who wants the beauty of her daughter. These typical representations of women have an impact on children’s perception of the reality, and they start to think that these stereotypes are normal, which is incorrect.
Secondly, the princesses are always seen as beautiful while the stepmothers and witches are usually ugly, so we can clearly see a link between goodness and beauty and evilness and ugliness. For example, in Cinderella the female lead who is seen as beautiful, pure and good while her mother is seen as ugly and mean. This fairy tale creates the erroneous impression that good people are pretty while bad people are ugly, and kids tend to believe that, because kids trust in everything they see since they don’t have a formed opinion about it.
Lastly, in fairy tales men are usually portrayed as beautiful and young princes who is always ready to save his princess. For example, in Sleeping Beauty, the young prince wakes up Aurora with a kiss, and they live happily ever after; in Cinderella the rich prince marries with the beautiful and pure girl. Men are rarely portrayed as ordinary in fairy tales, therefore children tend to believe that only men with power can protect women and it is a man that protects a woman, so they get the idea that women aren’t independent,t which is completely wrong.
To sum up, fairy tales are important in children’s life, and they have a great influence in children’s perspective of the world. It is evident that women in some fairy tales are portrayed either as beautiful, pure, naïve who need to be protected by a man or evil, ugly, narcissist and mean. Men are usually seen as beautiful, young and independent princes and heroes.
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