Fairy tales give children a false sense of reality?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Adira, Nov 23, 2014.


Do you agree with the statement above?

  1. Yes! Absolutely!

    1 vote(s)
  2. No, Not at all

    10 vote(s)
  3. I don't know maybe?

    1 vote(s)
  4. I think certain points in fairy tales have bad messages

    6 vote(s)
  5. I don't have an opinion

    1 vote(s)
  1. I'm writing a research paper in for my english class about Fairy tales giving children a "false sense of reality". It is my general curiosity that has led me to ask this question. So, what do you think? Would you or do you read your children fairy tales? Do you think it promotes stereo-typical gender roles? Do the disney princesses represent "Weak and submissive character roles"? Give me your opinions! I want to know your thoughts!

    P.S. Your input helps my research paper. Help a girl out?
  2. Disney rewrites fairytells. Old fairytales are not nice. The Little Mermaid did not get the prince, she turned to sea foam. Cinderella's step sisters cut off their heel and big toe respectively to fit into the glass shoe.

    So is your paper on Disney and it's contemperariecs, or is it about fairytales?
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  3. More on fairy tales in general but since Disney basically dominates the story telling world I added Disney aspects to it.
  4. There's also the issue of who wrote the fairy tales.

    For example, the Grimm brothers copied down the oral tradition—at least, mostly. Those tales were generally far more true to the ideals of the people. Literary tales like those of Perrault are far more manipulative—notably, Perrault was against women.
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  5. If we're talking fairy tales, someone's bound to mention Frozen.
    And if someone's gonna mention Frozen, I gotta post this video:

    Note: As much as I liked Frozen for being a twist on the classic fairy tale, I really don't understand the obsession with it.
  6. Children's cognitive ability is still developing. So depending on their age, yes, they have some difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality. However, this only goes for very young kids. A healthy young mind will be able to differentiate between the two soon enough. Understanding this, I feel there's no harm in reading children fairy tales.

    I don't feel like mixing too much into the whole gender role discussion, because I'll probably feel like strangling someone if I do, but as for as far as Disney princesses go, take look at more recent examples like Brave and Tangled. Media are products of their time.
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  7. Fairy Tales aren't meant to be realistic, and I know with my own children they've never really believed anything that they heard in the stories that I have told them. However, I do believe that fairy tales do not morph a child's sense of reality. No kid that I've ever known, and I've known quite a few, ever believed that mice would suddenly start singing and cleaning their rooms, or that prince charming was going to come sweep them off their feet. The way that things are today though, I think kids do need a warped sense of reality, at least for a time. They're too wrapped up in electronics and TV, and their imaginations are being hindered. I'd much rather have my children trying to get a bird to sew them a dress then see them screaming at the computer.
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  8. Fairy tales definitely promote traditional gender roles, mostly because they reflect the times they were written in. However, I think children are a LOT less impressionable than most adults give them credit for; watching Beauty and the Beast didn't make me think it was a decent idea to enter strange houses or try to befriend dangerous-looking animals. Reading Hansel and Gretel didn't make me distrustful of old women or cause me to gorge myself on candy to the point of obesity

    If violent videogames make violent players, then a lot of facebook users should be farmers by now.

    I think it's important for children to be introduced to stories that are not realistic and do not adhere to the rules of the world, it fosters imagination and gets them to think outside the box. They know that animals don't actually talk and that mice are unlikely to help them clean their rooms, as much as they might want these things to be true. People worry too much about what kids take away from the media they're shown, when in reality they read a lot less deeply into these things than adults do, and thus don't even see half of these 'bad messages' we're all so worried about.
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  9. I'm going to save this for future use.
  10. Depends on the age of the child you're talking about, but I assumed you meant young children so I voted the "yes, absolutely" option. This is largely because, as Kestrel already said, their minds are still developing and they often have issues distinguishing fiction from reality.

    For older children, especially when you're getting up there to the double digit ages, it's a much smaller issue. It's entirely possible for kids to read a lot into fairy tales and to take examples and life lessons from them, but it's by no means a sure thing. One little girl might hear the stories of Cinderella and Rapunzel and think that women are meant to be subservient and their only chance for happiness is for some man to come and marry them. Another little girl might hear the same stories and get mad at the women being treated like crap and think it's ridiculous for their salvation to come only at the hands of men.

    There are tons and tons of variables that affect a child's mind. Fairy tales are only a relatively small piece of the puzzle. Things like genetics, familial examples, and examples set by various non-family authority figures and even friends have a larger impact. I would wager that at most fairy tales could reinforce whatever notions are growing in their heads already, not plant new ones and convince them of their truth all in one go.
  11. I have to STRONGLY agree with Nydanna and Minibit...and STRONGLY disagree with anyone who says that children's realities will be warped.

    Assuming the average child with the average mental capability, then no, I feel there is no "false sense of reality" into which children will immerse themselves. As adults we have a tendency to belittle the ability of a child's understanding. We assume that children are incredibly naive to the point they are gullible.

    These kids are just that: naive, but not gullible. They have yet to experience the world in capacity that we have and are still understanding the way the world works. (Hell, I'm 21, I still don't know how the world works and I'm still probably more "naive, gullible, and impressionable" then most children.) Through fairy tales, I feel they are INTRODUCED to various cultural morals and concepts. I don't necessarily believe that they consider these morals as fact because children realize these are just some more "make-believe" stories, just in movie form.

    The morals in these fairy tales will not be ingrained (indelibly rooted), but instilled (introduction through persistent efforts) into children's minds. Throughout this instilling process, children will DEFINITELY ask questions. Kids ALWAYS ask questions and wonder and think and imagine and conjure up other possibilities in their hard-working brains. Then they'll discover things and form their own opinions, even at such an early age. These opinions might even go against the norm.

    I used to know a liiiiittleeee kid who hated watching Cinderella because "she wasn't able to stand up to mean people by herself." That same little kid doesn't like Sleeping Beauty because "why do the boys always save the girls? Why can't the girls save the boys?"

    For me, I feel like fairy tales act almost like accelerants to kindle curiosity. Children, like any normal human being, are different. Some will take the fairy tale at face value and accept the facts laid before them. Some will ask questions and not like certain stories.

    But, however, if you limit and simplify any person's way of thinking, then they will not form their own opinions. If you tell a girl that "boys always save the girls because the girls are weak," then she may take it as fact. If you tell a boy that "boys never cry 'cause they need to be tough," then he may take it as fact. It is not the fairy tale that gives a false sense of reality, it's the opinions of others that give that false reality.
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  12. I would read my children fairy tales. I do subscribe to the message of Secondhand Lions, that sometimes we believe in things that may not be real, but are worth believing in.

    That we should not judge others based on their outside appearance. That people can be redeemed. That people are good. That wrath, envy, greed, and wickedness will fail. That true love will overcome.

    Although on the gender roles thing, I'm not sure that it's going to be good for your children if you instill in them that everything that their friends (or the kids who could be their friends) like is bad because it sends the wrong message. That they're not supposed to like Disney princesses and should look down on their friends if they do like them. And also telling them that a woman can't simply exist, that everything you wear and say and do has to be meticulously thought through to make sure that you're sending the right message to the world.
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  13. I love this movie.

    If fairy tales teach me to die with my boots on, I'm for it.
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  14. Fairy tales and stories do not warp children or give them a false sense of reality, the parents do!

    Kids are going to watch these things, and then they are going to take cues from the people that supervise them. Even if you don't have a conversation about the movie they watch, they're still paying attention to how you respond to it. If you live in a household where you're constantly reinforcing gender roles or the idea that people need to think the same, then that is probably going to be the message they get from the movies. If you're in a household that promotes different kinds of values, then that's what they're going to perceive from their media.

    My mom and grandmother spent a lot of time teaching me that women are strong and powerful. That we shouldn't be subservient to men or wait for a man to take guy of us. But they ALSO taught me how to be a proper lady, how to be feminine and girly. Reinforced romantic love stories, etc. So when I watched these fairy tales, I knew they weren't reality but I also enjoyed the stories for what they were. I love the classic romance and imagination in the classic princess movies. I loved the 80s and 90s where the princesses started taking more active and kickass roles!

    So, it wasn't the stories themselves that influenced my perception on the world, but my family. >>
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  15. I'd also like to point out to @Adira that she's asking a very biased member base; this site is all about fairy tales and creating new realities! Try asking places with other themes/purposes, too!
  16. Fairy tales can be used to teach Aesops, but they're also perfect for teaching what the boundary between reality and fiction is. A trademark of many fairy tales is that they're specifically over the top in one way or another. (ex: Little Red Riding Hood has a talking wolf in it. If you go with older versions, the wolf is heavily implied to be a rather avaricious older male instead.) Children, either by themselves due to their natural tendency to insatiable curiosity, or by the good graces of their fellow children spreading what they've learned via social interaction, learn that a lot of fairy tales are... Bullshit! There's no talking wolves, there's no faeries, there's no mermaids, and so on. When children learn how to do that on their own, you're successfully teaching them how to discern reality from fiction. Just like Santa Claus: We tell children about him because he's a nice figure and a pleasant holiday in youth, but when kids grow older they realize (usually on their own) that Santa Claus is bullshit.

    The idea that we could somehow pollute children into thinking non-real things exist is silly. That would take indoctrination, like with a Bible, church, and priests constantly telling you not to use critical thinking skills to come to your own conclusions about the universe, like with the spiral eyes and stuff. Everybody knows indoctrination isn't real. Except with religious families that intentionally take their children and seclude them from the real world to constantly hammer it into their skulls to never question the existence/validity of a deity, angels, hell, heathens, objective morality, and so on.

    No really though, if it's acceptable to constantly tell children to never question the existence of a deity for the entirety of their formative years, it's acceptable to tell them about Ditzy the Dancing Pink Unicorn. They'll at least figure out that Ditzy is bullshit on their own.
  17. @Minibit I guess I am. I just like knowing others opinions. This wasn't the side I originally wanted to defend but my teacher sucks sooo..