Folktales, especially the Western European fairy tales such as “Cinderella” and

Folktales, especially the Western European fairy tales such as
“Cinderella” and “Snow White,” have been criticized as having sexist
stereotypes. In some ways, this criticism seems valid when one considers
that folktale characters are stereotyped. However, the genre, rooted in
an ancient oral tradition, reflects its origins: folktales echo the
culture in which they arose. This presents an interesting dilemma. Are
the stereotypes present in folktales—such as the beautiful, kind, and
helpless princess—bad? Will they damage today’s children’s concepts of
gender-appropriate behavior? Can one story be that powerful, or is it
collections of stories that we have to consider? Discuss these questions
as a class. As always, you need to write your original response and at
least two replies to others.

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