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Saturday, April 28, 2012

No Boys Allowed? ~ Men in Fairy Tales & Gender Marketing

So...the title up there sort of sounds like a dissertation.  It's not, I promise this is fun.  Fun-ish, at least.

Anywho, let me know what you think in the comments!
Thanks for watching!!

(You can find Tim @ Bumblesby here: http://www.youtube.com/user/bumblesby)

Princess of the Midnight Ball: http://amzn.to/f4etDx
The Book of Lost Things: http://amzn.to/Jt6MGK
Calamity Jack: http://amzn.to/JBwoiv
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom: http://amzn.to/xJNSjM
The Sweetest Spell: http://amzn.to/GZvewX

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  1. You are the only person I've known who knows about Dick Whittington and his Cat. My father used to read that to me. This is a great list of books and great discussion post. Puss in Boots too is about a boy, correct?

    I love how you point out that Faery Tales are for boys too. I agree with you about the marketing. I think even the word Faery Tale conjures up a feminine idea. I heard at a conference once that Nicholas Sparks doesn't write "Romance" he writes "Love Stories." So I guess that label is a bit more masculine.

  2. I blame Disney for making boys think that fairy tales are only for girls. They have their whole giant Disney PRINCESS line, and Prince Charming is just a little accessory for them. I think if a boy actually peeked inside a fairy tale book, they'd be surprised to see how many fairy tales revolve around boys, and how gruesome they can be.

    One fairy tale that I always bring up when people talk about girly fairy tales is The Riddle. It doesn't have a female main character. It does have a princess and a witch, but the main characters are the prince and his servant. It's great for boys because their are quests, dead horses, thugs, magic, and riddles!

    As for marketing, I completely agree. Because Disney taught these children that fairy tales are for girls, now that they're grown up, the only ones left to read fairy tale books are girls. I've offered several books to my 8 year old brother that have strong male leads, but he turns them down because he assumes that since I've read them, they must be girly.

    A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz is a great fairy tale retelling for boys. It's a retelling of Hansel and Gretel and several other stories. Hansel, as well as the narrator who frequently interjects his thoughts on how messed up fairy tales are, are both important male roles.

  3. Excellent list and booktalking! I agree--there are certainly as many tales for boys out there as for girls, it's just a matter of perception and how the stories are pitched.

    I agree that Disney has played a huge part in this, though I WILL give them credit for the fact that they tried to alleviate some of this in the 90s. For example, if you look at their older fairy tales like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, they use the ambiguous 'Prince Charming' name. But then when they did The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, these guys had actual names and took a much bigger role. In fact, Aladdin is much more about the guy than the girl!

    They've pretty much destroyed this again with the massive Princess pushing, but there was at least some effort there.


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