Sex + Gender

This admittedly is one of my favorite topics as of late to read about and study within myths. As with all, this is one that changes depending on where you read it from. For instance, with my topic of beauty, I’ve researched three of the more famous fairy tales that relate to this topic including Sleeping Beauty. What I found was a surprising different contrast in the titular character and her personality. In possibly the most notorious one published in 1528 entitled Perceforest where the Princess is impregnated while comatose and gives birth still sleeping until the Prince removes the flax from her finger. This was during a time when women were wanted and expected to be docile, childbearing women and not much else. In the Ninth Captain’s Tale has the beautiful Sittukhan put into sleep from a prince in love so he can wake her. In turn, she makes him pretend to be dead so in this way they can see each other in their most vulnerable state and they are now equals. Both of these can still be seen in different places around the world and in our politics. It influences whether or not feminist is a bad word and how we write women roles.

For example, take a look at the movies 13 Going on 30, The Princess Diaries, and The Breakfast Club. In the first movie where a newly thirteen year old girl magically wakes up as Jennifer Garner seventeen years later, she’s got the perfect life and a good looking boyfriend, but she’s miserable and eventually falls in love with the best friend. In the second, Anne Hathway eventually becomes pretty enough for the popular guy at school, but ends up not happy and falling in love with the best friend. In the last one, the pretty and popular girl falls in love with the criminal who doesn’t aesthetically change while the basketcase gets pretty enough for the good looking jock. And that was in a movie that’s plot based around high schoolers opening up and learning that what was on the surface doesn’t matter. While Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, and Molly Ringwald do go through a journey of self discovery, it’s cemented at the end when they fall in love and share a kiss with the right guy. Even in more recent years with Easy A, based off the Scarlet Letter, Emma Stone’s character is subjected to a double standard of attractive. Everyone wants to say they have sex with her, but they shame her the next day influencing the age old story that women can be sexually attractive, but not sexually active.