Classic fairytales - soooo unfair | INFJ Forum

Classic fairytales - soooo unfair

Discussion in 'Art, Entertainment, and Media' started by Gaze, Jan 25, 2010.

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  1. Gaze

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    So, I love classic fairytales as much as the next person, but anyone notice that particular kinds of characters generally get a bad wrap. Consider the role of stepmoms in Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Snow White. I'm sure much has been written on this, but i'm curious to hear what others think. The very good friend or confidant of the hero is almost always portrayed as asexual AND undesirable.

    Thoughts?
     
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    #1 Gaze, Jan 25, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  2. Sithious

    Sithious Well-known member

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    Step moms are bitches, this is a universal fact.
     
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  3. OP
    Gaze

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    Awww. Did someone have a mean ol' stepmom? :m052:
     
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  4. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    And a man is always the rescuer.
    Gross!
     
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  5. sassafras

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    Where stepmoms/dads were concerned, maybe it was a cultural way of reinforcing the idea that divorce/second marriages were a bad idea. Men as rescuers kept introducing the male "ideal" as the protector, the provider and the dashing prince, while their women were frail and needing to stay home to cook the stew and bear children--- when they weren't being held hostage by evil dragons/witches, etc. Keeping gender roles intact and such.

    Reflection of the culture, methinks.
     
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  6. OP
    Gaze

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    Yeah, true, but it's still sooooo unfair. :m182:
     
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  7. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Agreeable sentiment.
     
  8. under skies

    under skies Community Member

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    I initially felt inclined to comment (conversely to the post mentioning that it was always the handsome prince to come to the rescue) that it typically seems to be the young women that need the rescuing. And that's crap.

    But there are a few that don't necessarily turn out this way. "The Little Mermaid," for example, does involve the mermaid sacrificing herself for the prince, although she was foolish enough to get herself into the situation, in the first place. ... Well. She wasn't completely foolish. She did it for love, and I can sympathize knowing that she felt that her love for the prince was more important to her than her life.

    And Cinderella probably wasn't going to be able to support herself without her stepmother's money, so what was she supposed to do?

    And really, are the majority of these classic fairy tales really all about weak female characters or are those just the ones we enjoy hearing about the most? This is an actual question and not rhetorical, as I am not that well-read in fairy tales, but, I'm just saying, there are other stories, like "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Hansel and Gretel," that don't focus on female leads that need saving.

    /Digression.
     
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    #8 under skies, Jan 26, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
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  9. Jana

    Jana Searching...

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    +1
    Btw, if I have been waiting prince to rescue me, dragons would have been etaen me millions times:) (sorry for bad grammar in this if sentences;)
     
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  10. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Ok, but why does the Little Mermaid have to sacrifice her life as a mermaid to be with the prince? Why can't he become a merman? Inherently, it's all about the woman being able to live in the man's world in order to find love and happiness. Plus, she still needed her father's blessing(daddy's property) before he would give her to another man. Would he have made her a human on her own, just because she wanted to explore and experience a new world all on her own?? Without her going for "love's" sake?? Cuz that would be a fairy tale that would shut my mouth. Lesson: A girl has nothing to learn and experience if it does not pertain to belonging to a man. They just make it look all whimsical and lovely. Unfortunately, these fairy tales (Disney remakes esp. just program young girls into becoming "Princesses" who need a rich prince to satisfy all their worldly desires. It's totally impractical and degrading.) [/crackpot]

    I'm not familiar with Hansel and Gretal or Jack and the Beanstalk, actually..
     
    #10 acd, Jan 26, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  11. Tamagochi

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    These are fairytales - they are not supposed to be the epitomes of reality and never were. Applying ideas of feminism for fighting dragons is just wrong way to approach the matter :)
     
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  12. sassafras

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    There's no such thing as 'just a story.' Especially not where fairytales are concerned. All the archetypes are tightly packed pockets of cultural information, passed on orally.

    Granted, you're right to suggest that is frivolous to expect these tales to hold up to present day ideals, but they shouldn't be dismissed all together. Those same archetypes, after all, still prevail in our modern story telling. If anything, I think it would be beneficial to examine them as roots to our modern day culture.
     
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  13. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Dude, how is that even frivolous? People are trained from childhood to be members of society to make up an entire culture. These stories are culture builders and used to socialize children. I joke and call myself a crackpot because I know that most people are uncomfortable criticizing their culture..
     
    #13 acd, Jan 26, 2010
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  14. under skies

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    Well, the way the story is set up, the mermaid has never been allowed above the water and is therefore drawn to the surface the moment she turns fifteen and is old enough. She spies the prince and instantly feels that she is in love with him, so much that when he nearly drowns, she rescues him at great personal length. Because she cannot go ashore and he does not wake up until the people she discreetly leaves him with revive him, he never sees her at all. Therefore, the prince would've had no reason to go underwater. He had no idea who she was when she did eventually take human form and go to live with him in the castle temporarily. But, theoretically, the story could've been written a thousand different ways, and, frankly, I've no idea why he wrote it the way that he did.

    There is definitely an element of women trying to please men, to fit in to their world, but at least the woman did get to be the heroine. Were the prince the one to fall in love and chase after the mermaid, he would've just ended up being the self-sacrificial hero in the story, and then someone would be pinpointing that.

    (On a separate note, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by her needing her father's blessing to become fully human, as she actually dies at the end and then becomes a fairy, unless you are specifically referencing the Disney movie, and, in that case, I have been referencing the original tales the entire time.)

    Anyway, if you analyze it without bias, a lot of the female 'victim' characters do have merits of their own. For example, Cinderella never gave up faith that someday her life would get better. Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" is both courageous and compassionate, willingly going to the Beast's castle to save her father and eventually finding it in her heart to look past the Beast's ugly exterior (even if it takes his dying for her to see it first). I think that more often women end up being the psychological heroines and it's the men that triumph with their brute strength. It definitely relies on stereotypical sex roles, but at the same time, it's not like women are made out not to have any virtues at all.

    It's all how you look at it.
     
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    #14 under skies, Jan 26, 2010
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  15. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    I was referring to the Disney movie. In the end, it's her father who has to turn her into a human woman. And, if it were the prince who chose to be a merman, we would be pinpointing that. If it were a theme that men make these sacrifices to be taken care of by women, we'd be criticizing that, too. I'd hope. I'm sure the heroines in the stories do have positive points. It's just that the story usually revolves around being rescued by a prince and taken care of. You said it. It's all about the sex roles. I'm basically just saying that fairy tales, and disney remakes in particular perpetuate these roles through the stories they tell.

    Can you deny that little girls take these stories to heart at least a little bit? That at least they reference these themes a little bit (if not a lot) in their own lives as they grow older. Though they may grow out of disney movies, and move onto stuff like Pretty Woman etc. etc..
     
    #15 acd, Jan 26, 2010
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  16. sassafras

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    Same thing with most romantic comedies. Common plot? Woman is having some sort of trouble (personal, spiritual, career-wise). Man comes along. Conflict ensues between them. Then they get together. Everything falls into place for woman afterward.
     
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  17. bamf

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    Boo. I hate how these things perpetuate out-dated gender roles.

    I want to be rescued, damnit!
     
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  18. sassafras

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    Then again, the romantic comedies that try to be edgier and reverse gender roles are f'n ridiculous. Ever seen Maid of Honour? *shudder*

    *swoops in all dashing and noble and rescues mf from.... zombie-slant*
     
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  19. bamf

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    I'll steer clear of that. I'm curious, has anyone seen such obvious promotion of gender roles in the recent Disney movies? My knowledge of Disney movies ends around The Lion King, and that was based on Shakespeare. Is Disney still sneaking in the men>women thing, or have they started to tone it down?

    TDHT, you're so brave *swoons* What would I ever do without you? *bats eyelashes* I would be so lost *bends knee slightly*
     
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  20. sassafras

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    I haven't seen a Disney movie in ages. Last I heard, Princess and the Frog made a career-oriented heroine, which was a first.


    *grins, strikes a pose*

    Say, maybe you'll make me dinner sometime and I'll pretend I'm interested in hearing about what you bought at the mall...?

    (Aw, mf, I lurves you *hugs)
     
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