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dirkmcdonald
Registered User
(11/30/06 9:22 am)

Girls enjoying boys as victims in fairy tales
Am I alone in noticing that girls seem to feel empowered by the fact that in most fairy tales, males are victims or potential victims? I can distictly remember the sort of giggling and looks of my female classmates when boys were refered to as the prefered food of giants or monsters or witches. In most retellings of Jack and the Beanstalk, the giant seems intent on catching boys for dinner, why not girls? The witch from Hansel and Gretel locks up Hansel to be fattened while Gretel is fed crabshells. Does this not indicate some sexual preference for males as food by the witch? I can remember when these stories were read as a child in school, the reaction of the girls was somewhat humiliating as it was as if females were higher on the food chain than males(in some cases this is true as in the praying mantis or many spiders). Has anyone experienced this besides me or am I just crazy. For the females, did hearing these stories make you feel somehow less vulnerable than the males? This is a question that I have long wondered about. It is perhaps understandable as I remember that at that young age boys and girls are not yet attracted to one another and seem very much locked in a battle of boys against the girls and perhaps this is somewhat of a victory for the girls. However, I have noticed that even grown women sometimes seem to enjoy the nature shows that have the male become dinner for the female when shes done with him as a mate. Someone tell me whether I am right or just imagining things.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(11/30/06 8:37 pm)

Re: Girls enjoying boys as victims in fairy tales
[[ In most retellings of Jack and the Beanstalk, the giant seems intent on catching boys for dinner, why not girls? ]]

There weren't any girls in the story. :)

As to why there weren't, I think part of the Victorian sexist thing may have been considering real girls so sensitive and fearful that they couldn't stand even hearing stories about girls being in danger.

(Other than the danger of being killed by the Queen's gamekeeper and served to the Queen for dinner ... or chained to a rock for a sea monster to eat ... or eaten by a wolf posing as her grandmother ... or killed by Bluebeard ... or something ladylike like that, of course.)

Seriously -- I see a pattern in the popular Grimm/Lang stories of the funny, active sort of tales featuring boys. And those are the tales where someone is outwitting a giant or witch or ogre etc -- and being eaten sort of goes with that territory.

Some old tales that didn't go through the Grimm filter have girls doing active cunning things in funny stories, some of them vs man, er, human eating villains.




Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(12/1/06 3:12 pm)

Re: Girls enjoying boys as victims in fairy tales
It also depends on how you look at the stories. Here's another way to look at Hansel and Gretel for instance: Hansel gets to lie around all day doing nothing and eating good food during a famine, while Gretel has to slave away at domestic chores and gets fed only crabshells.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(12/1/06 11:55 pm)


Re: Girls enjoying boys as victims in fairy tales
In the Lang version (which Lang credits to Grimm)
www.surlalunefairytales.c...index.html the witch intended to eat both of them. Hm, Hansel's escape was funny (holding out a bone for a finger). I'm not sure how many people would read Gretal's escape as funny (tricking the witch and shoving her into the oven). In a Roadrunner sort of cartoon it would be funny, but Lang talks about the witch's cries and says she perished miserably.


cynthialouwhoo
Registered User
(12/3/06 12:45 pm)


Re: Girls enjoying boys as victims in fairy tales
I wouldn't say that most fairy tales have boys as victims, however I guess most of the more commonly told stories to children have boys as potential victims (if here is one)except for LRRH of course. I actually wrote a story in school when I was little about the class playing out on the playground. Suddenly a giant woman came and caught all the boys and put them in a big sack. She left all the girls to watch as she threw her bag of boys over her shoulder and carried them off to her castle where she fattened them up and ate one every night for dinner. The girls in the class loved it but the boys hated it. I guess they were embarrassed by being seen as weak, especially because the giant was a woman.

dirkmcdonald
Registered User
(11/5/07 9:35 am)


Re: Girls enjoying boys as victims in fairy tales
Sorry to bring this up again after so long, but I was reminded of it the other night when I overheard a discussion between several women at a party. One of them was talking about a show that she had seen on TV about the mating habits of several creatures. They were talking about how many female praying mantids devour the males when they are done mating with them, and in some cases actually lure males who hope to mate and when the male comes close, she grabs them and have dinner. She said that there was a species where 60 to 70% of the female's diet was males. One said that men were lucky that women didn't treat us that way. They seem to really enjoy the idea of women being higher on the food chain than men, which I guess is really true in many cases. In a lot of those animals, the male really has only one purpose. When that is done, he really has no other use than to nourish the female who still has to have deliver her babies. It just reminded me of my original post that in school the girls seemed to be empowered by the idea of boys being viewed as "meat" while the females were not. I think that since so much of society tends to objectify females in our culture, it is a bit of comeupance when the boys are objectified for a change.

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