History And Critique Of Fairy Tales

2110 words - 8 pages

Marie-Catherine D’Aulnoy a French writer coined the term French term “Conte de Fée”, during the 17th century, which translates to fairytale in English. She was one of “the most prolific and influential author [of the genre]… She published four volumes of fairy tales [which] were translated into English in 1699. Her most famous tale today is The White Cat”(Heiner). There were plenty other authors who’s work is still praised today like Charles Perrault and the Grimm Brothers; between the three they composed Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Snow White. The most widely accepted definition of a fairytale is, a short story within the broader genre, folktale, that features fantasy characters such as fairies, dwarfs, mermaids and giants who often use magic and more often than not ends with the stories protagonist living happily ever after. These stories have been around as long as humanity and are a significant part of every culture all around the world having been passed down orally from generation to generation. Many kids grew up with Princesses Cinderella and mystical fun loving teenager Peter Pan; in return they have been taught many underlining themes that can be found in nearly all fairytales the most common being sexism and false sense of hope but also one that is somewhat ambiguous and isn’t always so easy to spot but just a significant: racism.
“One of the most basic goals of literature written for children is to impart moral lessons and encourage moral behavior”(Kim). Fairytales are a product of the time in which they were written, where extreme sexism rampant. Now in modern time young girls are still being taught, in a way trained, by men on gender roles and what’s womanly and what isn’t. The influence on kids is so strong that you see young girls and boys copying this dated ideology with the girls who’s only aspiration is of being a stay at home mom. Girls and boys are brainwashed from a young age into believing that men are superior in every aspect of life, supposed to go out and make the money and, run his household with full control while the women are submissive, dutiful and obedient. In the movie Mulan written by Robert D. San Souci, the government sends out a notice requiring that one man from each household join the army however, the only man of the house is Mulan’s elderly father. Without telling anyone Mulan goes in her fathers place. When in battle Mulan saves everyone’s life during a surprise attack, but is immediately shunned when her gender is discovered. By law Li Shang is required to execute her but, instead she is left in the wilderness to die. When she figures out that the emperor life is still in danger she tries to tell the men but they cast her off. This film while empowering at the end display exactly what society feel about women: even thought she work just as hard without complaint and saved all their lives when she was discovered to be a female she was immediately...

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