Feminism And Folk Tales

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Feminism and Folk tale “Different versions of Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella”: In one picture women as a lead of the story and in another as a passive character.

Why people need to fight over feminism, it’s something that should have increased its importance over time. We talk women objectification in folk tales, but it even exists in present era in different ways. The thing which has changed is that people have realized that something is wrong as women are not treated same as men and the duties which were assigned to them are changing even then, it’s something that’s regarded debatable. In same way, in different versions of Red Riding Hood women is shown either vulnerable or too bold which is contrasting. In sleeping beauty, women is portrayed as weak and helpless as she needs someone’s help to end the curse and live happily ever after.

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In these tales, either women has always been portrayed submissive, while men are shown as upper gender in every case or in contrast everything revolved around women who is shown worthy of this importance, Like in Cinderella, she is shown weak as she is regarded as good girl as she bears all the mistreatment by other characters and, she needs the help of a man to get her out of that condition. Same is the case in Sleeping Beauty as she has to wait for true loving prince charming to break the curse which portrays women vulnerable and there is not even a single sign which shows any kind of struggle on her behalf in order to save herself. She is shown weak even by her parents as they don’t feel it’s important for her to know that her life has chances of any kind of risk.

In Perrault’s versions of The Little Red Riding Hood, women are shown vulnerable, innocent and were controlled by men. In my viewpoint, the old folk tales were written by the rich people who were educated, and their writings showed the nature of the society as the educated so called civilized people objectified women as a materialistic thing so it basically portrays men dominance where men were leaders’ on the other hand women were considered as baby producing machines and a man’s personal servant. Whereas in other version of the little red riding hood a woman was depicted as strong, independent and clever where she knows how to take care of herself it basically portrays how ideal modern-day woman should be like to not only survive the difficult phase of the life but to be a fighter and emerge as a leader who can control this world which were underestimated in the most phases and always treated her as a passive character. In this version of little red riding hood the girl was shown as strong independent, the one who took advantage of her appearance to fool the one who was trying to fool her, she was bold and strong enough to release herself from the trap laid by the monster. Unlike other version in this women is shown as an active character of the tale.

Reading the sleeping beauty, it seems to be that men are only treaded as heroes who bravely fights every bad person and saves beautiful fragile women why? Why can’t it be that women fights evil people and saves the life of innocent why can’t a women be a hero, just because they are regarded not physically strong enough by some men, there are many women freedom fighters who fought for their rights they fought for innocents and are emerging as leaders, why in every movie or novel not only old but in the some new ones also women are shown and treated as fragile and men as tough as a rock. In sleeping beauty the role of the girl is as an innocent and vulnerable who needs to be saved by some prince and she is affecting her surroundings in no way so that she can emerge as the main character of the story or even as a hero as that importance is given to men’s as they are strong and powerful who can save people and only they can become the heroes of the stories.

As we have been understanding about how the folk and fairy tales have changed passing through generations and these folk tales now are complete different version of the original one but one thing that has not change is the role of the women portrayed in these tale, they were shown weak in vintage version of the stories and are shown weak in the modern version of the tales why didn’t any writer changed the women role in their story other than just being the victim of the wrong people of the society.

There is always a question in my mind that why women are always shown so weak in fairytales and whether they hold any different position in real world. Then comes series of events happening in the world as in some women are emerging as powerful world leaders while others in vicious circle of child marriage, sex slavery and other brutal happenings. So this completely shows that the role of women is contrasting same as shown in these folk tales as in them they are the leads of the stories and in another they are shown vulnerable, weak, sex symbol or in other words soft and passive character. While men shown as saviors and active characters.


  1. Erum, Tazeen. (2009). The History of Gender Ideology in Brothers Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Pakistan Business Review. 11. 297-313.
  2. C. E. (n.d.). These Feminist Folktale Collections Belong in every Young Girls’s Bookshelf. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from bust.com
  3. Butler, L. (2015, March 24). How Sleeping Beauty is Accidentally the Most Feminist Animated Movie Disney Ever Made. Retrieved from https://www.tor.com/2014/11/06/how-sleeping-beauty-is-accidentally-the-most-feminist-animated-movie-disney-ever-made-and-how-maleficent-proves-it/
  4. Yi, S. (1970, January 01). A Feminist Reading on Sleeping Beauty, by Shuang Yi. Retrieved from https://ideas.repec.org/a/arp/ellrar/2018p106-111.html   


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