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Feminist theory is the philosophical understanding of gender inequality in the society and what contributes to the inequality. It examines the woman's role in the society in the social, political and economic spheres and provides a critique of such roles that do not contribute to the woman empowerment. It also focuses on promotion of women rights, interests and issues.
1. Application of Feminist theory in a fairy tale example of a fairy tale is Cinderella by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
A fairy tale is a story for children that involves magic and enchantment. In fairy tales we meet witches, talking animals, magic etc
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The fairy tale reinforces the traditional roles and expectation that the society has for women e.g. women should be submissive like Cinderella was submissive to her abusive family, beautiful, selfless among other expectations.
The story portrays a patriarchal society where men have power over women, this is clear in the story when in the festival when dancing with the prince, "...The prince danced only with her, and whenever anyone else asked her to dance, he would say, "She is my dance partner."..."
In the Cinderella fairly tale there is a mention of the prince and Cinderella's father, the name of the prince is Prince Charming and we are told that he is very handsome and wants a young girl to marry. Much is not said about the father. The bad people or the villains in this fairy tale are all women i.e. the step mother and the step sisters.
The story portrays men in a good way while portraying the women as villains. In the story Cinderella goes through a lot of things that are not pleasing e.g. cruel stepmother and step sister but all this things do not stop her from dreaming and hoping for a better tomorrow. This shows the empowerment of women that they must continually press on to ensure equality for all irrespective of the hardships they endure today like for the women in Africa and some other societies and they should not let their dreams and hopes die because of the hardships they are experiencing today.
2. Application of Feminist theory in a Myth example of a myth is The Story of Narcissus by Bob Blaisdell
Encyclopedia Britannica defines a myth as "a story about how the world was created and why certain things happen." Myths tell of gods, heroes, and events that a group believes, or at one time believed, to be real. In this story Echo a woman, falls in love with Narcissus but Echo could not be able to speak of anything original but always repeated the final words so she could not be able to express her love for narcissus thus finally losing Narcissus and she is eventually lonely and heartbroken and all that remained was a quiet voice unless spoken to.
In this story Echo who is a woman lives a miserable life since she cannot be able to express herself and ends up lonely and heartbroken and finally she is what the echo is. Narcissus has a good life and is able to express himself and even when he dies good flowers grow from where he died.
3. Application of Feminist theory in a Fable example of a fable is The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson
Fables are stories that have animal character that talk like humans and have moral lessons.
The story of the little mermaid is about a young girl who is ready to sacrifice her life at sea and identity in exchange of becoming human and also the love of the prince. The mermaid saves the prince when he drowns, changes herself and she exchanges her voice so as to get legs, and eventually the prince does not marry her.
This story teaches the young girls that if they become subservient to a man they lose their voices which is very important since one cannot express themselves. A woman's beauty is not from her physical attributes but from what she says, mind, behavior and her personality.
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Mem Fox, 1993 stated that, everything we read constructs us, makes us who we are, by presenting our image of ourselves as girls and women, as boys and men. Children literature books besides being a good source of developing language skills; they play a big part in developing a Childs culture. How gender roles are portrayed in the books they read is how they perceive their own roles and those of others. Gender may exist in a book as may be seen in the extent to which the main character is represented in the book.
Most children literature have most main characters as male and even the ones that have female as the main character the female character revolve around a male character as the story of Cinderella. Girls are represented as sweet, naive, conforming, and dependent, while boys are typically described as strong, adventurous, independent, and capable (Ernst, 1995; Jett-Simpson & Masland, 1993). Boys tend to have roles as adventurers and rescuers, while girls in their passive role tend to be caretakers, mothers, and girls in need of rescuing, and characters that support the male figure. Often, girl characters achieve their goals because others help them, whereas boys do so because they demonstrate ingenuity and/or perseverance. If females are initially represented as active and assertive, they are often portrayed in a passive light toward the end of the story.