Introduction Gender Race Class Conclusion

 

Women in Fairy Tales


Once upon a time...


It seems we have all read or heard this famous opening line and remember the stories that the words introduced with fondness. With such familiarity comes the understanding that fairy tales pervade the memories of most adults. There is no surprise in this, since the tales began as oral traditions and we have evidence of written versions throughout recorded history. Today, these tales of adventure, love, and magic continue to be passed down through the generations and are beloved by many, young and old.

Many wonderful lessons can be learned through the common themes of fairy tales; however, our goal is to explore the role of women in these tales and their portrayal according to gender, race and class. On the following pages, you will read about the messages that fairy tales send to both children and adults. We will explore the gender-appropriate "norms" that they enforce, the portrayal (or lack thereof) of protagonists of color, and the oppressive social roles of the princesses.

We are not trying to discourage fairy tales, for we understand the enchantment and enjoyment that they offer. However, we ask you to be aware of the reality that quietly sneaks its way into the hearts of children.

Throughout the site, clicking on any of our citations will take you to our sources page for more information.

We hope you enjoy your visit to our site!

Kim, Tina, JoJo, and Renée

 Fun Facts!

Did you know...
that there is a direct relationship between the number of mentions of female physical beauty in a story and the number of times that the story has been reproduced? Historically, those tales that emphasize women as beautiful objects are the stories that have been told most often!
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Did you know...
that the Walt Disney Co. agreed to modify some of the lyrics in the Aladdin film's opening song 'Arabian Nights' because Arab Americans found them offensive?
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Did you know...
that the only "Disney princess" to come from a working-class background is Belle of Beauty and the Beast fame?
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WS350 Summer '06 - Carpenter, Elliott, Kotin-Savitch, Neermann IntroductionGenderRaceClassConclusion