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Gender roles in Cinderella

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anca cosa

on 4 February 2015

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Transcript of Gender roles in Cinderella

Gender Roles in Cinderella
Grimm Brothers & Disney's Versions

In our society there is a huge pressure from all sides to conform to a certain ideal of beauty; we are inundated with all types of images and media forms telling us who to be and what to look like. Young girls are hounded with images of princesses who tell them that the key to happiness is being fashionable, beautiful and finding a price to -save- you. Young men are taught to be successful, good looking, muscular and manipulative.
What is a gender role?
-the cultural and social basis of roles assumed daily by men/women

-expectations regarding attitudes, behaviours & personality traits

-social and behavioral norms considered appropriate in society

Disney films
-gender stereotypes are present in the Disney Princess line

-in the 50's in particular, TV and magazines portray women in domestic roles and work; women took care of the house

-domestic roles were displayed in films like Cinderella and Snow White

-women are depicted as weak, submissive and reliant on men

-a woman's true happiness can only exist through the love of a man
Disney's Cinderella
It is derived from Perrault's version of 1697

It suggests that:

-the big reward in life is the security of marrying a 'prince'

-powerful female figures are often ugly and evil

-the goal of Ugly Stepsisters is to meet bachelors

-girls should know that their value lies in men's desire for them
Cinderella in Grimm's
version 1812
Of all of the stories that the Grimm Brothers and Disney shared, the one story that was the most different in its two incarnations was Cinderella.
Common things
-weak father, who fall silent and become invisible in the presence of strong women/cautionary tale for men who would give their wives too much freedom

-the name, some of the basic plot and characters

-a girl who is forced into servitude by her
stepmother and eventually is able to attend a royal ball where she meets Prince Charming

-after passing 'trial of shoe' they live happily-ever-after

-both societies (Grimm and Disney's) put great stock in the ability to keep the house

-the ideas concerning women are vastly different in the Grimm and Disney's culture: Grimm society desired hard working and pious women while Disney's desired the passive women, the perfect little housewives

-Cinderella plants a hazel branch on her mother's grave, it grows into a 'handsome tree' in which lives a white bird that helps her

-no restrictions imposed upon her by Fairy Godmother (leave the ball and keep her identity secret). This version lacks the Fairy. Instead, the little girl has to work hard for her rights, triumphing through extreme perseverance and piety.

Cinderella's choice
: no sitting by the fire and weeping-she goes at once to the tree and gets a pretty frock which she puts on with all speed and hastens to the party.
-Grimm version is much harsher, more bloody than the version of Disney. There is a part of the story that is completely neglected by Disney (stepmother forces her daughters to mutilate themselves and then are further mutilated as punishment).

-magical birds find the stepsisters and peck out one eye from each of them. Thus they were punished with blindness for the rest of their lives due to their wickedness and malice.

-but Disney's society shelter the children (a story in which girls cut off parts of their feet would have been considered too violent).

wicked parties are punished for their wicked ways.

The ugly stepsisters are not ugly, they are '
beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart
' (their true nature is hidden by their pretty face) and Cinderella is '

Elisabeth Pantaja points out that this FT reflectsand reinforces feudal ideas rather than bourgeouise ideals:

Cinderella's lack of beauty is of no consequence to the prince; the story values are actually historically prior to middle class ideas of romantic love, sexual attraction

in pre-modern societies concepts of blood and alliance are integral to kinship arrangements

if members of aristocracy married each other based on class, then one way of identifying class is through clothing.

the Prince chooses Cinderella because she represents herself as a member of elite through her clothing. when she doesn't wear her finery the Prince does not recognize her.

Cinderella in Disney's film of 1950
it reinforces gender roles by portraying women in a negative light

it reaffirms masculine dominance and feminine submissiveness

the film features the famous song A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes =>by dreaming hard enough wishes will come true by a stroke of luck. REALLY???!!!!!

does absolutely nothing herself to get out of the situation she is in. She should have confidence to stand up for herself and not wait around for her wishes to come true.
Film message:

-getting a wealthy man to fall in love with you will result in true happiness

-'female should be rescued by men'=> women have to rely on other people to save them, particularly men.

-without a male figure, women are weak and insignificant

-wealthy and beauty= top priority and a gateway to happiness

-women are passive and unable to take actions on their own to go after their dreams

-women should be weak, obedient and passive
- you have to be beautiful (if not, men won't pay attention to you)

-get attention with the help of little magic to make you appear beautiful (clothes, make up)=> Prince Charming fell in love with Cinderella's beauty not necessarily Cinderella herself
Cinderella: Dreams Come True 2002
decides what happens to her family, runs her castle and the country in her husband's absence

-it continues to reproduce the feminine beauty ideal

-because Cinderella is beautiful she is also kind and has forgiven her stepsisters and stepmother (they live in her castle)

-but her ugly sister Anastasia falls in love with and marries an unattractive town backer

her inferior beauty can only earn her the love of an equally unattractive man who is in a lower social sphere
Another Cinderella
2008 movie

2015 movie

inspired makeup


Continuing to portray characters in this way,
people conform to dominate norms and conceptualizations including those related to age and gender, even if we question or reject those norms. This type of conformity causes gender roles and stereotypes to remain present in our society.
Full transcript