Hips like Cinderella: Stereotypes in Fairytales

Essay by in_utero_8494High School, 10th grade July 2004

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Stereotypes and not so subliminal messages! When you think of your childhood these are not words that spring to mind. How about deception, conformity and subversion? As malicious as these may sound, the truth is that throughout the world, societies and parents put all of the above into practice in a desperate attempt to assert some form of control. How, I hear you ask, are these devilish methods of trickery and command being employed? The answer is simple.

Ask Cinderella...

The word fairytale itself is derived from the French "contes de fee" and the French literary fairytales of the 17th Century (which mainly concerned fairies, hence the name). The actual stories however, are much older. Many have their roots in ancient Greek and Roman mythology and legend. Overtime, they have been adapted to suit the current period. In short, fairytales are nothing more than basic folk law embellished, censored, politicized and altered to suit the present culture and ideals.

So how then, did fairytales become synonymous with childhood? Fairytales and the inherent morals and values within were discovered to be the perfect socializing agent between childhood and the harsh reality of the real world. Political and social stereotypes and attitudes covered in a bubblegum coating of fantasy and magic create the perfect sugar coated truth to serve up to impressionable young children. And how it has taken off! The original conspirators could never have imagined just how successful there plot to subvert all children into predefined social roles before the age of ten would be! Fairytales are now so deeply ingrained in our culture and pop culture that it would be hard to imagine a society free from their influence.

Our society would cease to function without its plethora of stereotypes. We as a society find it too difficult to...