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Folklore and Fairytales Every country has specific tales that have acted like a backbone to its people for centuries-Folklore is the fertile soil of morals, heroism and fantasy. Come share stories and magical tales, from wherever you hail...

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Old 05-17-13   #11
PrincessKLS

 
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

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In some ways I suppose they are if you only consider the ones that seem to be the favorites. Yet the totality of all fairy tales I think are about even in hero's / heroine's in the story and their ability to face adversity and overcome it.

The problem is that only a very limited percentage of fairy tales become public property and pushed in the public psyche. If I recall correctly Grimm's fairy tales take like five books to record all of them yet hardly any of those are well known.

I also think part of the issue is what the public will accept, thereby controlling which ones are made into movies, cartoons, etc.

None of that really truly touching upon the horrific aspects of the tales being smoothed over to make them more PC. Little Red Riding hood is really a horrific tale and bloody if you read the original not the version that is most often presented.
So wait, Grimms Fairytale isn't the original?
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Old 05-17-13   #12
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

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So wait, Grimms Fairytale isn't the original?
The Brothers Grimm collected and retold it as Little Red Cap (had to look it up but the original author is listed as a Charles Perrault; titled as Le Petit Chaperon Rouge in 1697) the original near as I recall but the telling is nothing like what you see today. Figure in some the Wolf is not killed but cut open and his stomach then filled with rocks. That and the fact the woodcutter never hears Little Red Cap but knows the wolf and see's it's belly and knows it has just eaten something.

Most fairy tales were extremely scary and many were out and out blood thirsty in their attempt to influence or warn the audience.

Figure the trickery of the fae or other non-human worldly beings that haunted the edges of civilized society. Some such as Red Caps renowned for the Red Cap coming from dipping their hat into the blood of their kills for instance.

Even Rumpelstiltskin is hardly a charming person when you consider what he does. Demanding the first born child for his service to the trapped girl. Sort of pointing out that nothing comes for free and the cost can be quite high. Cinderella is more than just an evil step mother and step sisters but points to the dangers of deceit, deception, greed and to some extent those not of ones social class and influence.

Edited to add I remember part of the Red Riding Hood story and being written by someone else but had to look it up to recall the author's anme and original title.
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Old 05-18-13   #13
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

I was also thinking, most of the fairytales we know today are even older, like medieval folklore, right?
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Old 05-18-13   #14
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

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I was also thinking, most of the fairytales we know today are even older, like medieval folklore, right?
I don't remember if most of them are medieval folklore or not. I vaguely recall a lot were written in the late 1600's which would place it post medieval period which ends in the 1500's. Yet some would also be reflections of earlier ones recovered from the Roman and Greek periods which takes them back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.
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Old 05-18-13   #15
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

I have a book called Giant Story Book, McLoughlin Bros, New York, copyright 1908, that has many stories I have never heard of. Some are similar to the familiar fairytales but most are totally new to me. They all seem to have some lesson or moral to teach. And then there are little tidbits like this -

"A Cross Lamb

I had a little wooly lamb
Who used to be so cross.
That ere he grew to be a sheep
I ate him with mint sauce.

by Cornelia Redmond"
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Old 05-19-13   #16
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

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I was also thinking, most of the fairytales we know today are even older, like medieval folklore, right?
Many of the motifs are much older than that. It's a bit like the Mabinogion. Pugh's 1790-something translation of parts of it inspired Charlotte Guests's Victorian version. But the written tales go back to the 1300s, The Red Book and the earlier White Book (of where I can't recall right now, one of the two was 'of Hergest' but I have no idea where that is anyway).

But those were just the first written (in Welsh) sources. They were writing down stuff that may have been handed from bard to bard for hundreds of years before that.

Since Monslo mentioned it, Little Red Cap is much older than Perrault in 1697: there's an equivalent in Chretien. And since I made the point earlier about them still being written, the 'waking up in a bath of ice with a kidney having been removed' urban myth is the same piece of advice, just for travelling businesspeople rather than small kids. Now, of course, that doesn't mean there's not a market in kidneys for which the donor has been massively underpaid: I think that's Aarne-Thompson 420, but it's my turn to cook and I don't have time to check.

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Old 05-19-13   #17
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

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.. But those were just the first written (in Welsh) sources. They were writing down stuff that may have been handed from bard to bard for hundreds of years before that. ..
The oral traditions really carry them back even further for sure. Not only carry them back but create a lot of the variants when you think that popular tales many times took local twists in the plots or character identifications.

Sort of like the theme to a song. You recognize the same theme in a lot of songs but the words are changed though the same concept is present in all the variations.
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Old 05-23-13   #18
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

A lot of the most popular fairy tales are sexist...but not all. In Beauty and the Beast, for instance, the Beauty saves the beast, transforming him into a worthy partner with her feminine power. Disney's version even shows Belle as the best person imaginable: honest, intelligent, hardworking, and kind. It depends on the individual story and the version you reference. Some of it just comes down to common sense and the reader/viewer. We can see what we choose to see.


Personally, I do not find Little Red Riding Hood sexist at all. Read the title: LITTLE Red Riding Hood. Of course she needed a big, strong man to come to the rescue--she was a child! What child wouldn't need an adult's protection? The majority of people working in the woods were male woodcutters...see how that works? I read it and see it as an admonishment to mind your mother, stay on the path, and don't talk to strangers. Good advice for children, in my opinion. Others read it and see the red hood as an allusion to menstrual cycles, the wolf as a rapist, all sorts of crazy stuff. In the end, what we see says as much about us as about the story.
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Old 06-10-13   #19
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

Good point HRH, I've considered buying this hitrecord book anyway just to see how they really intrepret it.
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Old 06-10-13   #20
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Default Re: Are Fairytales sexist?

In terms of fairy tales, you don't really define what you mean here, Princess.

I will assume for the sake of argument, however, that you're referring to something like the Disney interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. As to whether or not they're sexist, that again depends on whether we define "sexism," as meaning that the story rigidly defines male and female gender roles; which yes, it probably does.

For me, it's always been questionable as to whether or not Prince Charming in particular can be considered entirely heteronormative. If he is, then he's a fairly highly idealised version of masculinity from a female perspective, rather than a male one. In other words, he's the sort of man that Aurora herself wants him to be, rather than the type that he would necessarily like to be himself; or at least from my perspective.

Most guys who care about their appearance to the degree that he does, would likely be accused of homosexuality these days. It's also extremely unusual for a heterosexual man to have the degree of empathy for, or emotional understanding of women that he does; while straight guys adore women from a physical point of view, in psychological terms, we generally think that they are completely insane.
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