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Feminism In Grimms’ Tales Essay

722 words - 3 pages

Ruth B. Bottigheimer is a folklorist, scholar, and author. At the moment, she works at Stony Brook University in New York and she is a professor in the department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. As her writing the book Grimm’s Bad Girls and Bold Boys: The Moral and Social Vision of the Tales suggests, she has a fascination for fairy tales, primarily European fairy tales. This book is an in depth analysis of the stories represented in Grimm's Fairy Tales; however, Bottigheimer’s main argument seems to be focused on gender distinction in the stories. Bottigheimer seems to believe that women were discriminated more in this story as that was the social norm at the time. Various chapters throughout the book seem to focus on the argument that there is an inequality between men and women represented.
As Bottigheimer states, “Four perspectives have dominated Märchen research in the recent past: Freudian, Jungian, Marxist, and feminist” (ix). She later states, “feminist interpreters bring a special sensitivity to gender associations to their reading of the Tales” (ix). While Bottigheimer does cover other arguments, including that of the Freudian, Jungian, and Marxist, I am focusing on Bottigheimer’s feminist argument, as I believe it is the argument she is more focused and passionate about. The main evidence that Bottigheimer provides to support her claim is how the Grimm brother made various editorial changes to the book, each which reflected women in a more negative light. Bottigheimer further provides proof for her argument in chapter 2. She states, “The tales Grimm chose to set before young people are especially good examples of what he considered to be socially desirable and safe for their eyes. In general, the Small Edition includes tales particularly suited to maintaining the status quo, with stories of girls – sweet, marriageable and often suffering – preponderant” (20). This sentence is, probably, one of the most profound that Bottigheimer has for her argument. This show that because the Grimms’ story wasn’t as well received as they liked that they decided to update many of the elements of the story to match the status quo. The element that is most visible, at least to Bottigheimer, is that woman were...

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