Fairy Tales

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Fairy tales are mystical stories with fantasy elements. Cinderella is a commonly known fairy tale. (photo courtesy of public domain)

A fairytale is a story with magical and imaginary elements and a happy ending. Fairy tales show the reality of those who keep pushing through adversity are presented with a positive end result. Throughout different fairy tales, the obstacles each character faces varies, as well as the outcome.

Fairy tales are popular among all audience ages throughout the world. They began as oral stories passed down in different European cultures. Currently, there are two options to engage with Fairy tales: read or watch. Disney takes original stories, dating 1000s of years back, and turns them into popular movies, such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. 

Although fairytales are centuries old, they still apply to modern day life. While society has changed, humans have not — the themes and morals of each story apply to today.  

Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s famous version of Beauty and the Beast is based on La Belle et la Bete which was first written in France in 1740. Disney originally made their take on the story in a 1991 film. In 2017, a live action film of Beauty and the Beast was released.

Beauty and the Beast is a tale where a beautiful young princess falls in love with a hideous beast. The Beast, once a prince, was put under a spell until he was able to be in a loving relationship. Beast and Belle fall in love and break the spell, turning Beast back into a charming prince. 

Others judge the beast through his appearance and mannerism. Belle is also one who judges and thinks about Beast with disgust. As the story progresses, she begins to form a soft spot for him, as he continues to show his undying affection and love.

The theme of this fairy tale is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Belle judged Beast by his looks in the beginning, but later she fell in love with him for his personality and generosity.

Today, this theme can relate to the stereotypes that individuals have formed and accepted. Whether that stereotype relates to gender, race or style of clothing it all makes an assumption about someone which is not accurate.

Belle teaches us that assumption and judging those by their appearance is not fair. Instead, learn the true personality and background of someone before looking down on them. 

The Little Mermaid

Hans Christian Andersen, Dutch, wrote The Little Mermaid in 1837.. Disney, once again, took the fairy tale and created a famous film, released in 1989. A new production of The Little Mermaid will be in theaters May 26, 2023.

Ariel, the little mermaid, is a free-spirited mermaid who goes on an adventure with her friends, Flounder and Sebastian. Ariel is curious about life on land but was forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton. Against her father’s will, she goes to land and is determined to be with her new love, a human prince. Ariel trades her voice, to Ursula, for a pair of legs. 

Ariel’s unknown world was above the sea, but the Prince’s unknown was below the sea. Just like the fairy tale, society is always searching for what they don’t have rather than valuing what they have in the present. 

Humanity tends to forget that everybody’s lives are different and everyone always wishes for what others have. Instead of this mindset, there should be value and appreciation for what life has to offer you, not others. 

Cinderella 

In 1697, Charles Perrault wrote Cinderella, originally known as Histoires ou contes du temps passe. Disney first made their remediation of the story in 1950 and refilmed a live action movie in 2015.

Cinderella is a tale about a young future princess who is abused by her step mother and step sisters. Cinderella encounters her Godmother who turns her into a beautiful young woman but only until midnight. Cinderella attends the ball, and the prince falls in love with her at first sight. Before midnight, Cinderella has to leave the ball in order to not be seen in her original outfit. While running away, she loses a glass slipper, which later the prince finds that it fits her foot perfectly, and they live happily ever after. 

In this fairy tale, Cinderella’s family expects her to do all the dirty house work. Cinderella is dressed in her everyday clothes when she encounters her Fairy Godmother. Her Godmother then transforms her into a beautiful young woman which reinforces a beauty standard. 

As Cinderella approaches the ball, the Prince first notices her because of her elegant appearance, allowing him to immediately fall in love with her. 

The story of Cinderella enhances the idea of the beauty standard of women. In modern day, many women struggle to discover their self image and confidence within themselves. 

Young girls find themselves comparing their appearances to models and social media posts which causes them to lose confidence. Some girls may only find beauty within themselves with makeup on or in certain clothes. 

Cinderella is a fairy tale with a happy ending but only because her fairy godmother is able to give her the ability to see her true beauty. In turn, Cinderella is able to overcome the negativity and degradation of the beauty standard.

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