Magazine topic: 
Entertainment
Total votes: 113

Fairy tales fight back

14
by : 
BethanyS

We all know the stories. The princess falls in love with the prince. He rescues the damsel in distress from the tower or the dragon or the wicked queen … or anything at all really. The plot in many fairy tales relies on a woman in trouble needing a brave, strong man to rescue her.    

I loved Disney as a child, and I still do, but it is clear that stories such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are based on gender stereotypes. They show children that women spend their time looking pretty, cooking and cleaning and that women need a man to look after them. These ideals are old-fashioned and outdated.  I personally would feel uncomfortable teaching these values to children – boys or girls. 

Luckily, Disney has clearly seen that their female characters were weak and helpless and their new films feature strong female characters. Tangled, which tells Disney’s story of Rapunzel, was released in 2010. Rapunzel is an intelligent and creative 18 year old who asks a man to help her to visit the kingdom. Although he is helping her, she also helps and saves him. She uses her intelligence and people skills to save him from a group of criminals, and she uses her magic (perhaps a symbol for special talents) to heal him when he is hurt.

Disney’s award winning film Frozen was released in 2013. Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s story The Snow Queen, it tells of a young girl, Elsa. Elsa can make it snow and turn water to ice. When she starts an eternal winter, it is her sister, Anna, who decides to save the kingdom.  When Anna’s heart is frozen, an act of true love is needed to save her. We immediately think of true love’s kiss. In the end, the act of true love which saves Anna is her decision to give up her life for Elsa. 

The females in these stories are intelligent, brave and adventurous. They are better role models for young girls and show children that girls can be heroes too. Disney’s choice to show strong, independent females working together with men shows the progress which has been made in gender equality. Hopefully, through efforts such as this, the idea that a man always rescues the woman will not be passed on to future generations. 

Discussion

Who are your favourite strong, independent female leads from film or fiction? Why? 

Comments

catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 2 May, 2017 - 17:00

My first pick is Hermione! She is so brave in all the movies she acted, not just Harry Potter. And from Disney I would pick Judy from Zootopia, because her determination to solve a case which wasn't solved in two weeks to solve it in just two days... it's just amazing. And of course, who can beat Mulan when it comes to bravery?

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18 users have voted.
Aliceinthewonderland's picture
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Aliceinthewonderland 25 January, 2017 - 14:03

Definitely Ariel,rapunzel and Alice. They were brave, confident,good-looking and intelligent ♡

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25 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 24 July, 2016 - 10:56

Cinderella!
She actually has courage and is kind.
The story tells us:
1 Be kind
2 Be brave and take chances
3 Don't let setbacks stop you
4 Never stop dreaming
5 Believe in yourself
I want some of them :)

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39 users have voted.
poppymoore's picture
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poppymoore 14 March, 2015 - 09:07

My favourite female lead is Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.She is truly strong, independent and witty.I like Lalita even more in the Indian film adaption of the same book,called 'Bride & Prejudice'. It is a great film which has the same plot but with a cross country setting.A must watch for every one!

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37 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 20 April, 2015 - 02:43

Hi poppymore, "Bride & Prejudice" sounds interesting! By the way, I sometimes think I wish I were a girl who waited for her Prince Charming like you!! You do look that kind of a girl, don't you.....? I'm wondering to write a book by mimicking Jane Austen: "Lazy & Easy".....!! ;-)

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39 users have voted.
justcricketforme's picture
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justcricketforme 21 February, 2015 - 11:46

Beatrice "Tris" Prior from Divergent. she's an example for me of how to show people what you can do no matter from where you belong or what you look or seem like.

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38 users have voted.
Little Dragon's picture
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Little Dragon 10 December, 2014 - 12:17

Hermione and Ginny from Harry Potter are my pick. As they are selected as Gryffindors, they must be somehow brave, strong and adventurous.

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36 users have voted.
IloveallinConan's picture
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IloveallinConan 30 November, 2014 - 08:16

My favourite strong, independent female leads from film or fiction is Mulan, Elsa, Tangled,...Because they are is strong, beautiful women and I also love Ran-tale heroine of Conan. But there are many other female characters that I do not tell the full from the fiction film. I love you more! Good bye! Hihi

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34 users have voted.
BethanyS's picture
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BethanyS 4 December, 2014 - 10:18

Mulan is a great example! She is brave and stong-willled (determined), and she shows herself to be just as capable as any man.  I like that through her the men in the film learn to look at women differently and see her as a leader.  Although this is a film, it shows the difference one woman can make when she uses her full potential.  

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36 users have voted.
Silvermist's picture
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Silvermist 29 November, 2014 - 16:24

I like Elsa from Frozen.<Since she has a strong will-power in the end.>
I like Annabeth from Percy Jackson Series( + Thalia and Zoe)<Since Annabeth is the daughter of Athena bad is really smart , plus she calls Percy Sea-weed brain> <Since both girls are brave hunters>
I like Sadie Kane from the Kane chronicles< Since She's powerful enough to use the divine words-M'aat>
I like Mary Jane Watson from Spider man. < Since she's tremendously beautiful and I like her words>
I like Hermione from Harry Potter< I guess I like since most of the fans like her.>

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34 users have voted.
BethanyS's picture
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BethanyS 4 December, 2014 - 10:12

Hi Sivermist, 

These are some gret examples! Hermione is one of my favourite too - I think that without her intelligence, Harry would have had a lot more problems.  She's also a great role model as she shows the importance of learning instead of focusing on being popular. 

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33 users have voted.
Silvermist's picture
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Silvermist 7 December, 2014 - 12:35

Yes, I totally accept the fact. Hmm, I really wish Hermione existed for real.Just as you said, it was Hermione's brains that helped Harry figure out most of the stuff, (I mean everything) specially the deathly hallows.

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32 users have voted.