Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Sexism & Patriarchy Fairy Tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have women as passive characters…

16 replies, 16 voices Last updated by Afshan Iqbal 1 year, 11 months ago
  • Woospire
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    @admin
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    Fairy Tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have women as passive characters, waiting for a ‘prince charming’ to save them. Is it time we stopped telling these stories to children?

    Mayuravarshini Mohana
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    @mayura
    #31545
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    Bed-time story telling is now a popular custom and one to be encouraged. However, it becomes problematic when the stories being narrated contribute towards sexist conditioning of young minds. Fairy tales, which are much loved by children, are guilty of this.

    The heroines of fairy-tales get into a fix and it is ultimately a man, a certain ‘prince charming’ who saves her from her ordeal. This equation is consistent across many fairy-tales and when these stories are boiled down to their essence it is a typical ‘valiant man saves damsel in distress’. Why is it that damsels are always in distress and can’t seem to save themselves?

    The villain most often in these stories is a woman. Take for example, the evil mermaid witch in Ariel, the cruel stepmothers in Cinderella and Snow White or the malevolent fairy in Sleeping Beauty. By relaying these stories to children, we make them believe that women tend to be hostile towards each other, that woman’s greatest enemy is woman herself. Sisterhood and solidarity remain out of question. In a surprising twist, all men always seem to have best interests at their hearts.

    Through telling these stories we condition the minds of children and teach them that an ideal woman is passive and always remains waiting. The most she can do is mope around, believe in magic, or even better, lose her voice for a man (literally!). She never seems to rely on herself to get out of a difficult situation. She absolutely surrenders herself to fate and relies externally for help. We only need to look around, at the wonderful and strong women peopling our lives to realise that this is light-years away from truth.

    By glorifying the passive, submissive heroine, we unknowingly encourage girl children to emulate these characters. We quell their inherent strength and fiery spirit right at a nascent stage. And instead we tell them, ‘Don’t stand up for yourself. Be silent, and obey. Wait for a man to come save you (it is after all something only he can do). Most importantly, look pretty (even if you’ve been asleep for 100 years).’

    Fairy-tales are unrealistic, out of date and flag bearers of patriarchy. It is time we stopped passing the baton. Only then can we hope for a more inclusive ‘happily ever after’.

    nehachitroda
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    @nehachitroda
    #31553
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    If a child is taught something at an early age, whether good or bad, wise or ethical, the child grasps and learns that thing easily because that is the age of learning by seeing, listening, and imitating what they see in their surroundings. Most of the think stories for children are making them learn about the only story but in that story, there are characters, which are also that important so while reciting a story to a kid we should also consider that women and men both in the story are just characters and in reality, it should not be imitated.
    Many fairy tales have the message that a woman needs to be saved by a prince to live happily ever after and don’t show empowered women making their way on their own. But women really don’t need that to rely on, the story can be just shown in some other perspective too so that kids while reading stories don’t take it too seriously in real life.
    Cinderella’s character mostly relates to these times teen girls like, not liking for who she is and where she comes from, not supported by her stepmother, ridiculed by peer groups, etc. It’s not a great message to show that if they put on a slipper they instantly turn into a beautiful woman and then men will accept and want to be with her, the prince will marry a girl who fits that shoe, So back then also it was shown if you want to be accepted by a man you should fit in the things that he wants.
    Fairy tales are an important and almost inevitable part of childhood, which is all the more reason why we must pay attention to them as adults. They contain both positive learnings and problematic ideas on issues like female agency, consent, and self-sacrifice.

    Anika
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    @anika
    #31590
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    Fairy tales are extremely popular and loved around the world. It is still admired by many from children to adults. However, most fairy tales are extremely problematic in nature.
    It was actually a woman who coined the term fairy tale. The same woman, Marie Catherine d’Alunoy wrote about strong and positive female leads. However, with the Grimm brothers, it was a different case. They are best known for writing Rapunzel and Snow White. Although when shown on the big screen the tales are far less gruesome, a lot of problematic elements are still present in both. The women in these tales are either pushed into a stereotype or are hardly present in the story.
    These stories although well loved, are full of stereotypes. It presents women as damsels in distress, waiting for a handsome prince to save them thinking they can’t save themselves.
    They also put women against each other so that any other woman who isn’t close to the lead is a bad person. It teaches bad morals.
    Consent is almost invisible. No one knows whether Aurora or Snow White consented to the kiss given to them by the princes. But it’s alright since they’re handsome and rich and are falling for the female leads, right?
    Not to mention the impact it has on young children, specifically girls. Many often grow up thinking they want to be rescued just like Snow White, often trying to enact those types of scenarios. It also promotes internalized misogyny. Because any other girl is competition for them. We should not bring down other women. We should not base our value on men. We should be our own person.
    Fairy tales are highly unrealistic and promotes unreal standards for the young children of today. Luckily, many have opened their eyes and have started pointing out the mistakes in fairy tales and are telling children stories with positive role models.

    simran arora
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    @simran
    #31592
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    Many people yet believe that narrating fairytales is a good method to improve cognitive power. But over the years, one storyline visualized with different characters has introduced a rather misogynist perspective. For example, fairytales like Cinderella, Rapunzel, etc., impose that women can only be protected from society when a prince charming rescues them. As far as cognitive memory is concerned, one can improve it by reading books as well.

    Another reason why we shouldn’t nurture our children with fairytales is, we create an illusional world for them. It can be tough to pull out children from their illusional world as it causes hurt and pain. The idea of being not good enough reduces the self-esteem of the child.

    Even when you research about this topic, it is unlikely to find a supportive answer regarding ‘no to fairytales.’ No wonder people even today believe that fairytales are good for entertainment. However, it is not entertainment, but society imposing silent laws on people and making them ‘civilized.’ The influence of one culture over the other can be both superior and inferior. But the fairytale romance simply does not exist in reality.

    By introducing fairytales to our children, they subconsciously believe in doing the same things and living by the same ideals. It is time that we bring new fairytales. It could help to boost a child’s morale, self-reliance which will contribute to a child’s growth and personality development.

    shaifalikapoor03
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    @shaifalikapoor03
    #31596
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    Fairy tales were never a means of encouraging a passive women’s character, they should never be related to a society’s customs. All the fairy tales are meant forever delivering the same message that everything gets well in the end, fairy tales have always been a way of motivating the kids with positivity in their minds about whatever bad happens in the world it eventually has to end with everything good and happiness, if it’s not happy its not the end- is the basic moral of all the fairy tales we’ve ever heard, they should never be made a reason to create inequality in children’s mind.
    Cinderella is a story of a girl’s life where she’s faced a lot of miseries and in the end it was female fairy who helps her to be happy, the prince in the end was just a means of showing us that it all ends well. Women in these fairy tales have always played an important role, even in Cinderella, she tries to fight for herself but ends up failing but she still tries and with the help of a fairy she wins. Fairy tales have always been a means of spreading positivity and these make a beautiful part of a kids life, hence we should never stop telling them these stories.

    Semantee Chattopadhyay
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    @semantee03
    #31608
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    Since childhood, we are being fed the idea that a Prince charming will arrive riding on a horse one day and we’ll have the perfect love story. But should this be the ultimate goal of our life?
    “Once upon a time, a girl was forced into slavery by her evil stepmother, her name was Cinderella. The girl kind, obedient and beautiful so she was rescued by a handsome prince.”
    “Once upon a time, a girl was locked up in prison by a beast deep in the woods. The girl was caring, understanding and also beautiful so he fell in love with her, she fell in love with him who eventually turned out to be a handsome prince.”
    “A beautiful girl was cursed and fell asleep for a hundred years but she was again rescued by a handsome prince.”
    Though fairy tales open up a world of imagination and creativity, they are discriminating. The girl is always fair, beautiful. The prince is handsome and always to the rescue of the princess. Fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White show women as passive characters. It shows that they can’t stand up for themselves or determine their futures. Their traits of beauty and obedience will make sure that someone takes care of them. It sets unrealistic expectations for men to be competitive, aggressive. It sinks in the idea for them to be always brave and never feel anxiety or fear. Life is not a fairy tale. Children should be taught how to be good human beings. They should be more focused on being the right one instead of finding the right one. Fairy tales generally express that the main characters are straight, white, young, able-bodied and conventionally beautiful. These contribute to a lot of unhealthy thoughts in people in our diverse society. It’s high time to rethink these stories. Children in today’s world need examples that they can look up to.

    anshika agarwal
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    @anshika-2
    #31613
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    Everytime a girl learnt the story of Cinderella she gets to know that life is beautiful after getting your prince charming. He is the man of your dreams. These stories tells that life has only happy moments after marrying to you prince charming and you will become the Cindrella of today’s world.
    But it’s high time we introduced them to the real world of women who can deal with their problems by themselves rather than waiting for a man to save them. How about telling your children the stories of Jhansi ki Rani, Mother Teresa, Kalpana Chawla and other brave women? Parent’s should raise their daughter’s smart and brave. Society needs to tell them that they had not born just for marriage. They are not born to get married and then have a baby. It should be stopped and they need to be more focused towards their goals, desires and wishes. They should be independent enough to do everything alone by themselves. By telling the stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel we are telling them there will be their prince charming who is going to save her in future in the difficult situation. We should stop telling them these situations. Parent’s should make their kids watch movies like Mardaani and Pink.
    The brave and real stories of the strong women will help your daughter fight challenges in life and come out as a winner. To raise smart, bold and confident girls who don’t run away when they see challenges we need to make it known to them that marriage is not the beginning and end of their life. There’s a whole lot more they have to look forward to.

    Tanima
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    @ta
    #31851
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    Yes, that’s what I’m supporting most. I guess women are much stronger than what they are felt. And some fairy tales are one of those customs which makes women feel inferior. Of course every one of us know what a fairy tale meant to us and specially to girls I guess.
    It’s our society made gender discrimination custom which is preached not only in India but all over the world. Undoubtedly they become a very special part of our daily routine and further these little things make a percent of who we are. But have you ever thought just like toys and dresses, we even discriminate stories as we prefer a fighting and struggling story for a boy but a story, strongly coated with patriarchal norms, which tells us how a woman should be according to preference of our society. Why? Whether it’s a boy or a girl, everyone needs the same inspiration, life lessons, strong and heroic characters to encourage their story. But no, we’re telling them literally some hypocrisy and expect them to behave like this.
    Beauty and the beast, a fascinating story where it shows how a woman accept a cold-hearted man and not only make him melt as a human but she lived always by his side. Yes, that’s a very beautiful expression of love and how we should never judge on the basis of looks in a short time. But why a woman always has to be the one to do that? Can a man accept any imperfect woman who is strongly defying the rules? No, women need to be fair and beautiful to be loved.
    In Cinderella, it’s a stupid story of falling in love with someone whom you met once, never talked, never knew his true colors.
    In little mermaid, it says that women has to change herself and struggle to achieve someone’s love.
    And what’s about Snow White? It’s literally a prince kissing the princess without even asking and she was totally okay with that.
    Now what else, they are satisfying every patriarchal norms which society wants to fulfill. From a wrong citation of love to unwanted touch and even not to raise your voice, every crime is justified . And how can we forget about how should a girl deal with her problem? Yes, by waiting for their prince Charming to come in action. Wow.
    That’s why it’s a request to every parents that first watch or listen that stories which are going to be imprinted on her. It’s not like there’s no story with a strong and positive influence, go for them. And if you still can’t find it, let them know the stories of bravery, honesty and the heroic actions of women in history. Maybe that’s how we’ll be able to make a real empowered society .

    Dharani Sri
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    @u19mae026
    #31975
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    Fairy Tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have women as passive characters, waiting for a ‘prince charming’ to save them. Is it time we stopped telling these stories to children?
    Fairy tales have stolen many of dreams. I think this happened not only for me, but also for many of us. Fairy Tales Have played an important role in our childhood. but still do we narrate these tales to our generation? Many of us have stopped because, these fairy tales portrait woman as a witch or an evil step mother or mostly the lead character is portraited as a passive one who waits for a prince to save her, which develops a passive character in our children.
    In fairy tales like Sleeping beauty, The Snow white, Cindrella and many more, the lead character are portraited as a passive woman. This develops a submissive character in the children`s mind. This makes them to rely on others. in those ages, their mind will absorb everything we tell. This fixes in their mind that they should wait for others to help them to overcome their disabilities. This is the reason why many of the parents hesitate to narrate these fairy tales to their children.
    But there are some other fairy tales like Rapunzel, The Robber Bridegroom. In these fairy tales, the lead women character raised her voice and tried themselves to overcome their disabilities. In the Robber Bridegroom, she creates a situation to escape from the butcher and she does. In this tale, the lead character relies on herself and get her away from the trouble.
    Thus, fairy tales have both positive and negative aspects on children. Fairy tales have portraited women in many aspects, both admirable and abominable. The roles of women are already changing in today’s culture. Disney fairytales films namely The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast portray females in a more positive light. They possess more freedom to make choices and more changes in their lives as they pursue their highly articulated dreams. These stories can lead to increase the creativity of the children. I suggest every parent to narrate bedtime stories to their children.

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