Abstracts Panel 5 Identity through Time

MA Conference 2016

Maria Demetriou

Valiant Hero or Oppressive Villain: Representations of Masculinity within Traditional Fairy Tales

The concept of masculinity and gender as a whole is widely debated within gender studies; questions of what it means to be masculine, whether masculinity belongs to men alone, and if it is a condition of nature or nurture, are repeatedly returned to. According to theorists like Judith Butler and Raewyn Connell, gender is a social construction; gender is not innate but an identity deemed socially acceptable that one performs based on their sex, for example men are masculine and women are feminine. Therefore, due to what Hélène Cixous argues is ‘hierarchized’ system of binary oppositions and ‘couples’[1] that function within society, gender belongs to a system of control; in Joseph Bristow’s words, ‘power was brutally gendered’ and men ‘were the bearers of it.’[2] Furthermore, this system is reflected within fairy tales as they become the…

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