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Old 04-24-2005, 05:12 AM   #1
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Fairy Tales Linked To Violent Relationships

LONDON (AFP) - Young girls who enjoy classic romantic fairy tales like "Cinderella" and "Beauty and the Beast" are at greater risk of becoming victims of violent relationships in later life, a British researcher says.

A study of both parents of primary school children and women who have been involved in domestic abuse claims than those who grew up reading fairy tales are likely to be more submissive as adults.

Susan Darker-Smith, a graduate student who wrote the academic paper, said she found many abuse victims identified with characters in famous children's literature and claimed the stories provide "templates" of dominated women.

A more senior academic at the University of Derby said the topic was sure to spark debate but merited further research.

"They believe if their love is strong enough they can change their partner's behaviour," Darker-Smith said. "Girls who have listened to such stories as children tend to become more submissive in their future relationships."

The research, conducted in Leicester in the east of England, is to be presented to the International Congress of Cognitive Therapy in Gothenburg, Sweden, next month.

Her study, entitled "The Tales We Tell Our Children: Overconditioning of Girls to Expect Partners to Change", will be discussed by many of the world's most influential therapists.

Darker-Smith said she believed younger generations exposed to television and other entertainment media may react differently and be less submissive than those weaned solely on literature.

Her work found the most popular bedtime stories for girls were "Cinderella" and "Rapunzel", while boys were more likely to hanker for "Paddington Bear" or "Thomas the Tank Engine".

Darker-Smith, a masters student in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy at the University of Derby, will also submit other abstracts to the conference, examining ideas about anorexia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Michael Townend, senior lecturer in psychotherapy at the university said: "We know that storytelling is an important way that children form beliefs about themselves and relationships."

"Susan's work is an interesting study which is sure to spark debate, but further research is required in this area."
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Old 04-24-2005, 05:17 AM   #2
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Old 04-24-2005, 05:18 AM   #3
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Interesting. There is a passivity inherent in those stories--that all girls need is to be saved by a prince.

Me, I favor the Brothers Grimm
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Old 04-24-2005, 05:19 AM   #4
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I like the mentions of Thomas the Tank Engine and Paddington Bear ~ they were both my favourites as a kid, in addition to Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
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Old 04-24-2005, 06:56 AM   #5
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What a fascinating thread. I am absolutely OBSESSED with fairy tales and how they influence the modern psyche. And they do, you know. Maybe that could be another thread?

Concerning this one, I'm not surprised. Its common sense that a woman will probably hang around a no-good wife-beater if she believed that a) her prince in shining armour will eventually come along to rescue her or b) that this deadbeat IS her knight in shining armour.

I too have always adored Brothers Grimm fairy tales... I adore how wonderfully sinister and grotesque they are, and yet, we have this insane notion that they're all 'nice' tales.

Fascinating subject.

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Old 04-24-2005, 07:42 AM   #6
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I don't know that it has a LOT to do with being submissive -- with the exception of Beauty and the Beast, but probably more with being a dreamer. They might be led to believe that they either have the perfect man, or that there are few if any good men, most of them all taken.
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Old 04-24-2005, 09:25 AM   #7
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this is something i've thought for a long time. the message in these stories sets out societal ideals of how a woman should be--the helpless innocent maiden who needs a big strapping man to rescue her. they fall madly in love and live happily ever after.



sure, they're fantasies, meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but that underlying premise that women should be a certain way and need a knights in shining armour to rescue them and make them happy and complete seeps into the minds of little readers, planting pre-conceived notions of unrealistic and even dangerous gender roles.
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Old 04-24-2005, 11:14 AM   #8
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Oh God, now we're attacking FAIRY TALES. Will this PC Bullshit ever end?
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Old 04-24-2005, 11:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Abomb-baby
Oh God, now we're attacking FAIRY TALES. Will this PC Bullshit ever end?
I ask the same question over small-mindedness and intolerance in America.

Of course, "fairy tales" are merely scraping the bottom of the barrel. You'll find this same kind of expected behavior in TV and film, which are mimicking "fairy tales" in themselves.

I mean, really. Guys are told that "no" means "playing hard to get" and female heroines are expected to break down and cry, waiting for a man to give her that "boost" to save the day.

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Old 04-24-2005, 11:42 AM   #10
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of all the female characters that i was introduced to as a kid princess leia was always my favorite

she was a good strong woman
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Old 04-24-2005, 04:33 PM   #11
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This is really a very interesting topic, and I could rant on about it for days - but I don't have time at the moment. In my defence though, I'm not 'attacking' fairy tales at all really, its more nuanced than that. And I wouldn't call myself or my approach to life PC either.

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Old 04-24-2005, 04:36 PM   #12
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Funny...I read fairy tales all the time as a kid, and I was in a non-abusive relationship, and hang out with guys who would never dream of hurting women. How'd I manage that?

Yeah...I don't agree with that statement at all. They're fairy tales. Nobody ever said you had to live that kind of life. There's many reasons why women get into abusive relationships...but I wouldn't say that fairy tales are one of them.

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Old 04-25-2005, 05:01 AM   #13
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I don't know, maybe the fairy tales are part of a larger way certain parents raise their girls-to be more submissive, to be deferential to men, etc..or to think they can change the "bad boy" like it says in the article. After all, how do you explain all the women who are writing to and asking to visit Scott Peterson?
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
of all the female characters that i was introduced to as a kid princess leia was always my favorite

she was a good strong woman
And looked great in a slave costume
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
of all the female characters that i was introduced to as a kid princess leia was always my favorite

she was a good strong woman
Princess Leia versus Marion Ravenwood, hmmm Marion every time.
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