Damsels in Estrus
Gender stereotypes have been around longer than any of us can imagine. Such stereotypes have reinforced behaviors and shaped today’s gender roles. Many women of the new millennia dislike such societal expectations and often enjoy challenging their traditional confines. One common way to discourage female based gender stereotypes is through empowerment. ABC’s Once Upon a Time is a prime example of such efforts. The female heroines of the show thwart typical gender stereotypes through their bold behavior not just in their modern day hometown of Storybrook, but also in their actions as storybook characters.
Once Upon a Time first aired on Sunday, October 23, 2011 CITATION. The first season ended several weeks ago and has since left viewers waiting anxiously for the arrival of the second season. Once Upon a Time focuses on Emma who is the daughter of Prince Charming (also known as David Nolan) and Snow White (also known as Mary Margaret Blanchard). Due to an evil curse, Emma needed to be transported to our world where every storybook character was in turn trapped waiting for Emma to one day return to break the spell.
In the first episode, Emma arrives in the town of Storybrook (our world) to meet with her son Henry. She soon discovers that the woman taking care of him is less than ideal and decides to try to gain custody of her son. The show is unique because it jumps back and forth between the two worlds to tell the past of the characters that inhabit the present day town. Through these flashbacks, viewers are able to learn more about the town’s curse and inhabitants.
Once Upon a Time also stands out from the competition because each female character is strong and witty. As all of the female characters are from storybooks, they are all main characters but with a twist- all of them are heroines. Each female displays amazing feats of courage and challenge many current stereotypes of women.
For example, there is not one woman in the show who is married. Because of this, all of the women who have children are single mothers. This is normally seen as taboo in modern culture but the show brushes it off as nothing to be focused on.
Many of the women in Once Upon a Time share strong traits in common. Such characteristics are prominent in both the past positions these characters held and their current ones in present-day Storybrook. For example, both Emma and the Mayor are single mothers. They are able to provide for Henry without financial difficulty and do not appear to need any emotional support from a male. Similarly, Mary Margaret and David’s Storybrook wife, decide to leave Prince Charming when they find him to be too unfaithful. There is no mourning over him as the now ex-wife decides to leave town to pursue her much dreamed of career and Ms. Blanchard diverts her focus to overcoming her damaged reputation as being a mistress. All of the women in Once Upon a Time also have prominent positions in their occupations not just...