Written by Riley Endicott
Most fairy tales end with a masculine knight saving a beautiful, but victimized damsel in distress. Literature has always set the standards for the “idealistic woman”. Children grow up listening to the tales of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty not realizing they are being subconsciously affected by the often skewed content of these stories.
By portraying females as a submissive, weaker class, and men as strong, dominant, icons; literary works have molded the minds of countless generations into believing in defined gender roles. Girls became defined by the color pink, (like Aurora’s dress) and feminine, dainty features (Cinderella’s tiny feet); left to believe that their only hope was a knight in shining armor crusading for their love. Boys, on the other hand, are given toy guns and plastic knives to emulate the ‘masculine’ activities that society believes men are obligated to participate in (Peter Pan, Prince Charming etc.). This exemplifies the bias and extreme flaw that is found in our culture; society judges a person’s capabilities by their gender.
Fairy tales promote this bias; these stories mar the younger mass’ perception of men and women. They disregard non-binaries and promote judgement towards those who do not represent the characteristics from the tales. Unlike Elsa, from the movie Frozen, do not just “let it go”. Harness the hate and empower yourself, because one’s gender (or chosen label) is not determined by anyone except themselves; what others disagree with is what makes each individual unique and stronger. Cinderella’s step sisters learned that one size doesn’t fit all, and so should the people who believe we’re required to submit to gender roles. If you, the reader, believe these stories to be unproblematic, then I am the evil queen.
I’m here to hand you the poisoned apple- the hurtful truth. WE are empowered by the judgement and do not need others to inform us of our roles and how one should act. WE must begin to speak up and reform the societal concept of gender roles. WE need to break the binary, break the glass slippers and sheathe the flimsy swords; WE need to stop subjecting ourselves to a societal bias that blights the definition of an eventual happily ever after.