The Changing Nature of Female Portrayal : An Analysis of Gender Roles in Fairy Tales
This essay examines gender normative and patriarchal elements of the popular fairy tale Sleeping Beauty in order to expose how patriarchal ideals are upheld. The reason for this is that children may internalize the values taught in these stories, which may lead to them perpetuating patriarchal ideals and gender normative behavior. The popular version of this fairy tale, made by Disney, follows many of the typical patriarchal ideals with a strong male hero, a wicked female witch and a weak and submissive young female, close to nature. This is contrasted by a modern retelling by Cameron Dokey that is, in many ways, gender subversive and challenges the traditional gender roles and attributes. This essay finds that the version made by Disney is a product of its time, and portrays ideals from that period that could affect children of today into internalizing archaic patriarchal ideals. Dokey’s version is better adapted to the current socio-cultural environment and succeeds in aligning the story with modern values and provides a better option to teach children the actual values and gender roles of our society.
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