Traditional children's literature has been characterized by the diffusion of a sexist image of reality.The myth of the house fairy is one of the most predominant, especially in cartoons and traditional tales where the main character is a woman.
In this example, little boys and girls identify with characters who have great emotional strength and value the messages they convey. In some cases, the stories are contemporary to the changes and in others,we found closed, immutable, sexist and discriminatory models.Let's deepen this point.
What does the myth of the house fairy imply?
Tales are a reflection of a mentality.Through fairy tales, we spread the myth of the house fairy that illustrates the ideology of the supremacy of man over women.In this type of story, the roles attributed to each sex influence the notion of gender that is formed among the youngest.
The myth of the house fairy refers to the female character represented by the fairies, who is also related to the character of the witch. These two types of characters share some similarities, such as performing wonders or possessing magical attributes.Fairies are characterized by their beauty and kindness; witches, they are solitary beings and full of defects(They only seduce with their power or their magic).
The secondary role that is adoptedthe woman in fairy tales revolves around the home, the education and the care lavished on others.The main goal is that she dedicate her life to others. His only goal must be marriage.
Representative symbols of the myth of the house fairy
When the characterization and the distinction of the characters depends mainly on the sex (feminine or masculine), the transmitted values cause different functions and sexual roles, which are often totally opposed. A study done by the writerTurín (1995) has analyzed some of the most representative symbols of fairy tales:
- Glasses :the male characters do not wear them. They usually symbolize wisdom in opposition to beauty.
- Household utensils (dishcloth, apron, broom, cloth, etc.)symbolize the perfect housewife and mother who dedicates herself exclusively to her tasks and does not neglect them.
- The Windows :fairies and princesses hide from the world around them. This is a sign of apathy and impassibility.
In comparison,the male characters that appear in the tales always represent a strong, courageous and combative man.If they become butlers or servants, the image they convey is that of submission. But why do they never appear in a house doing housework when they are strong and brave?
Classic tales likeCinderella, Snow White or Sleeping Beautyare examples where all princesses and fairies are beautiful.They dedicate themselves exclusively to household chores and live reclusive or deprived of a social sphere.Ugliness is always associated with cruelty and the majority of conflicts are due to envy, rivalry in the beauty or love of a prince.
The myth of the house fairy is reflected very well in these tales. He attributes to the woman the role of the perfect mistress of the house, as if it were a gift or an ability that only they could develop in an optimal way.These stereotypical values devalue women's work and hinder the development of gender-equitable education.
To conclude, the myth of the house fairy, represented in the traditional literature of children's stories,becomes a tool that perpetuates stereotypical gender roles. Some behaviors are valued and others are punished.
Fortunately,these values and norms that have been passed from generation to generation are currently considered completely out of date and out of date.However, we must continue to work on certain timeless aspects such as good and bad, the value of effort, the value of respect, friendship, etc.