Little Girl Lost (or Found): Examining Gender Stereotypes in Fairytales
LESSON: Little Girl Lost (or Found): Examining Gender Stereotypes in Fairytales
Content Area(s): Language Arts
Questions to Consider:
- In what ways is the protagonist portrayed in the traditional tale and the retellings?
- How does this portrayal impact the story?
- How does this portrayal support or oppose gender stereotypes?
Engage students in a discussion about gender stereotypes. You may start with a think-pair-share before sharing out as a whole class.
Read the following articles about gender stereotypes in fairytales:
- Young children already buy into gender stereotypes to explain behaviour in fairy tales: study
- Fractured fairy tales-How children's classics can reinforce harmful stereotypes
- "Happily Ever After" (or What Fairytales Teach Girls About Being Women)
- No Damsels in Distress!
Next, have students read the traditional version of the tale and a few other versions that depict the female protagonist in a variety of other ways.
Adaptations and Extensions:
Because discussions around stereotypes can be lively, use a chalk talk to allow for equitable participation among students.
For older students, discuss the early portrayals of LRRH in Perrault's tale. Have students research Perrault and his approach to LRRH.
Elementary: Yummy by Lucy Cousins; Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst; Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr
Middle: Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman; Little Red by Beth Woollvin; Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst; Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr
Secondary: Red Riding Hood by Christopher Coady; Little Red by Beth Woollvin; Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr
Challenging stereotypes through fairy tales from University of Brighton UK