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understanding feminism - November 19th 2014, 11:47 PM

Hi all,
I really need help for my women and gender studies class. My professor assigned a "mini" research paper of 7 pages long on a topic of our choice within the discipline. However he said we have an alternative to rewrite a fairy tale of choice but making it feminist. It also has to be 7 pages long. Obviously this is under creative writing I guess so it doesn't seem so bad right?wrong.

I dont really know what this means. And i have a feeling going this route means it has to be excellent becsuse he will most likely pick on details. I know there are 3 waves of feminism and arguably a 4th wave. So I don't know if I should just go with one or combine them. Sometimes they kinda contradict or don't correspond as well. Also, Disney movies are much much more sexist than oral and written fairy tales like those collected by Grimm brothers. So I'm not sure how much rewriting I can actually do. Interestingly enough I am taking another course called German fairy tales so I have tons of tales to choose from. I can even choose a shorter tale and expand it to 7 pages.

Any advice? I can't help but think the creative project alternative is a trap but I'm sick of research papers and will do research for this project anyway.
   
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Re: understanding feminism - November 20th 2014, 05:33 AM

Have you had a chance to read up some feminist analysis of classic fairy tales? Example here. (I just randomly googled this, I'm sure you can find a lot more.)

Start by asking the question, "what assumptions about women / gender roles are being made and / or perpetuated in this tale? How is it portraying women and gender diverse individuals? What kind of image would a young child gain about women and gender roles through being exposed to this tale?"

That's probably a good starting point. As intersectionality is an important part of feminist discourse these days, it would be worthwhile to address issues like race, sexuality, class, etc / whichever ones are applicable in your analysis. But if that's too much to chew through for now, just start with the basics.

I think it's amazing that you were offered an alternative to writing a traditional research paper. Yes, you'd have to do the same amount of work when it comes to research and analysis, but not everyone expresses their ideas best through an essay format and it's great that your prof has made an attempt to recognize diverse learning styles.


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Re: understanding feminism - November 20th 2014, 08:01 AM

I'd go the fairytale route. I don't know if the earlier Disney movies were less sexist than their stories. Look at Red Riding Hood and the symbolic nature along with the little girl getting lead astray and requiring a man to save her or she dies depending on which version you go with. Why doesn't Red Riding Hood save herself? Why doesn't she recognize the wolf's temptations to try and lure her astray?
   
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Re: understanding feminism - November 20th 2014, 08:26 PM

Both of these responses are great. Thank you so much. I especially like the idea of trying to find the underneath assumptions because this is something my professor talks about a lot. The red riding Hood is a good example. When I said Disney movies are much more sexist than Grimm tales I was thinking of tales like blubeard in which the female character is not totally passive and obedient. In addition some versions of Cinderella and the frog prince and all fur show female characters having agency in their life (to an extent but I guess better than how Disney princesses are portrayed which is why it is harder to rewrite) Also, some feminists believe heterosexual relationships perpetuate patriarchy, and that being lesbian is a femenist act (and a choice) so would rewriting a tale to have a female character have a lesbian relationship make sense? I read part of a book that talks about how femenists believe lesbianism is a choice whereas lgbtq+ rights movement assert that this not chosen and that they were born like this and it is has to do with falling in love. Any thoughts?
   
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Re: understanding feminism - November 22nd 2014, 09:08 PM

I think you could re-write a tale with lesbian relationships makes sense. I didn’t study much feminism, but I have definitely read that homosexual relationships go against patriarchy. One of the books I studied (The Fox….can’t remember the author!) had a lesbian couple who deliberately chose to live without men in their lives, and did everything themselves, rather than relying on men.


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Re: understanding feminism - November 23rd 2014, 10:50 PM

That makes sense Holly...So I got that down for at least a relationship change or even living single. Then there is the aspect of making the female character more active and involved in saving herself, and independence and thinking for herself. There are so many versions of little red riding hood that are out there so I'm afraid of thinking of the same idea that already exists. But just for an example- little red riding hood could be carrying something in her pocket to help her if she is attacked. Or alternatively, she can be trained in self defense? I'm also thinking of adding to the background of her family setting at the beginning...Idk. IF I'm doing little red. I still haven't chosen what tale I will do. Whether I'll do a classical tale or not. Having trouble making the decision because I have a few ideas for each tale but with one tale I don't have enough ideas.
   
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Re: understanding feminism - November 24th 2014, 03:01 PM

Self-defence sounds really good!

I was like that too, when I had to write essays, as we could pick from several. I think it’s best to review all your choices, and make a mini-plan for all of them, just to see all of your ideas down on paper, and then pick the one you feel most comfortable doing.


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