Alleghany College of Maryland
In the many years that fairy tales and stories have been told in history, it has helped us form traditions as well as morals and values. It has brought us history, as well as pure entertainment. Yet, as we look into society more and more, especially in America, it becomes more obvious as the years get closer to the present that fairy tales have been the basis for a few too many things, such as what we view beauty as, as well as standards and how we go about the business realm as well. You will find in this paper all the facts that I have found in order to showcase how fairy tales has shaped American society. Without these tales, we would not have some of the great attributes of the well known American dream, but we would not have some of the various negative stereotypes that are found in our everyday lives.
In our early years of growing up in America, our parents usually read us fairy tale stories before we fall asleep. We often ask our mom or dad to read them over and over again throughout the week. Most people find that reading these fairy tales are just sheer enjoyment and amusement for us and our kids. The impact of childhood fairy tales carries on in our adult lives, and even fabricate into our morals and values in today’s society. Yet, as we grow older, why does is seem so obvious that the basic fundamentals of fairy tales, like Cinderella and Snow White, appear in our everyday life as adults? Fairy tales have more of an effect, both positive and negative, on society than we tend to believe. One of the most prominent affects that childhood fairy tales has on society, is the appeal to women and beauty. It is more noticeable now more than ever, when society in America tells young women and women alike that they should be making their mark; being individuals, putting their best foot forward in the business world. Even though society is saying this, young girls are still being told, through these fairy tales, such as the Little Mermaid and Cinderella, that having beauty will get you far. Liz Grauerholz (2003) says:
"Fairy tales, which are still read by millions of American children, say it pays to be pretty. It's important to understand the messages our children receive about traditional gender roles, especially during a time when women are encouraged to be independent and rely on their brains rather than beauty. Women today – despite increasing independence for many – still tend to value beauty and appearance. Why is it that attractive women and men are socially rewarded more than unattractive people? From early childhood, girls are read fairy tales about princesses who achieve vast riches simply because their beauty makes them special. That's a powerful message that can inhibit young women who feel they do not meet society's expectation of what it means to be attractive.
Despite the fact that recent society is trying to pull away from this image where only the “good looking” people succeed, or even ending up farther ahead in life, this social image is still taking a toll on the business world and society as a whole. Grauerholz (2003) also says that these powerful messages that say women need to be beautiful may compel some women to seek beauty at the expense of other pursuits, such as careers or education. Fairy tales do not just take a toll on the business and working aspect of society as we grow older. These stories also take a toll on our home lives as adults. When living out the “All American dream” with a house, a job, and a family, fairy tales takes its next toll on us, weather we realize it or not. Most fairy tales have a deeper meaning to them, which as children, are unable to understand. Yet as we grow older, possibly looking after a younger brother or sister, or to even go as far as our own children, we finally see the hidden messages in the stories. In the short childhood story of Hansel and Gretel (Grimm