|Author||Kong, Grace Yi-Lyn|
|Title||Feminisation and fairy tales|
|Institute||Thesis (M.Ed.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University|
|Supervisor||Wong, Patricia May-Lynn|
Fairy tales are one
of the most widely read and disseminated texts, partly due to the
enormous number of reproductions both in textual form and film. This
widespread scale of influence has led to concern and debate over the
soundness of these texts that have traditionally been viewed as
fundamental to the education of children and which are used as in
schools to teach anything from writing skills to character development.
One specific concern is about the potentially negative effects of
reading classical fairy tales on girls and women. Since the 1970s, when
Alison Lurie who argued that fairy tales champion women and Marcia R.
Lieberman, who insisted otherwise, feminists and scholars of children’s
literature have remained split on the subject. Through an analysis of
the fairy tales, and texts that focus on the psychological development
and health of girls and women, this dissertation argues that an
uninformed reading of fairy tales results in feminisation, otherwise
defined as the exposure of girls and women to embedded patriarchal
values that in turn encourage and influence women to remake themselves
according to male standards of what a woman ought and ought not to be.
These espoused values are reflective of behaviours and beliefs that
women in society have been documented as internalising and practicing,
often to the detriment of their physical safety and psychological
welfare. However, rather than avoiding or abandoning fairy tale texts
and films, this dissertation argues that a critical reading of fairy
tales and disruptive reading strategies, coupled with a judicious
selection of what stories to read, can have an emancipatory effect on
not just girls but also by breathing new life into old tales.