Fairy Tales in Popular Culture Film Advertising Term Paper
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popular culture is relatively young and new in modern society. Sociologists and psychologists began to pay attention to it only at the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth. Popular culture is a set of values, customs and system of beliefs which are common for people of different financial, class and gender background, so that it forms a wide group of people which goes over the limits of one country who share common cultural beliefs and norms. Person begins to perceive popular culture since early childhood through education and fairy tales read by his parents, which are used to form a system of believes and values on the hand with stereotypes on unconscious level and even later most of popular culture attributes are perceived as fairy tales on unconscious level and are taken for granted like social myths that form sets of beliefs nearly of the whole human civilization.
Now lets have a closer look on basics of popular culture, its influence on people and its bonds with what was called "collective unconscious" by Jung., as it gives the answer to the nature of stereotypes and human behavior in society.
The main processes which led to appearance of popular culture were different changes in society's life, interaction of different cultures, and development of communication, globalization and simple democratization of society. Popular culture appeared mostly in countries where societies had relatively similar financial and cultural backgrounds, where there existed little distinctions between rich and poor in cultural and ethical aspect and where lots of material and social values were not inherited from generation to generation. The brightest examples of popular culture is American culture, in past unique popular culture exited in such countries as Communist China, North Korea, USSR, but now these societies are experiencing a shift towards universal culture and universal human values. Popular culture may exist in the society which lives according to democratic values, where equality and human rights are the main values.
Modern popular culture is based on the influence of media and global communication on the life style, ethics and relations of different people. Popular culture is for the most cases the culture of stereotypes: in clothes, fashion, way of life, ways of behavior, appearance, education, etc. Ire was resulted by the introduction of the most effective, universal, widely accepted means material and immaterial values that penetrated to the life of people.
Lots of popular culture believes are based on individual, group moral and material values, which have become universal in recent centuries. These are the values of humanism and human-centered ideology and life concept, where an individual has a central value and central role, where every person is perceived as a unique member of society who enjoys full rights.
Popular culture is meanly formed by modern means of communication, press and media. As means of mass media execute the role of systematic informing of wide audience about different events, their role in public relations is essential as they form public opinion, are responsible for setting stereotypes only providing information from this or that angle or putting stresses and accents on the events they show in the way it's needed. It doesn't even mean to lie or misinform. In many ways mass media can be used for manipulation of public opinion and for forming some kinds of moods in society.
These popular culture values are perceived by a person since his birth starting from very simple examples that are directed on the development of his imagination and his character, his mind and consciousness. Popular culture values which are primary perceived by child have a direct relationship to the development of human universal values and forming a system of values and beliefs. For these very purposes fairy tales are mostly used in educational purposes. On simple, understandable examples that have moral lessons they develop abilities to compare, analyze and comprehend information, essential for future harmonic coexistence in human society and prepare a child for becoming its equal member.
Fairy tales teach kids to differentiate virtues and evils, moral and immoral, give them the idea about wanted relations between people, give idea about social ethics and about social values as well. Fairy tells contain a lot of information about desired and ideal society's structure and its values, even though these concepts are hidden under simple
tale's plot and relations between fairy tales heroes. For example tales of a famous French writer Charles Perroult contain a lot of hidden moral and social symbols which have began to be studied nowadays. The role of Perroult in culture and history is great as generations of people where brought up on his tales and such tales as "Sleeping beauty" and Cinderella had penetrated into our consciousness and have been accepted to be educational. Perroult wrote these tails referring to the prism of his society, of his contemporaries, despising the evils that existed in 16th century France.
Still their impact on popular culture and forming consciousness of children expands over the limits of explaining basic moral concepts of virtues, evil and justice. To the most part such evils have survived in human's consciousness and are practiced nowadays as well. But what was a real contribution of these tales is that they had a social values propaganda, which had nothing to do with propaganda of moral values. Perroult had included the vision of ideal society and its relations in his plays. It mostly referred to the vales that have social and moral character and their value is not limited to regulating relations within one family, as they refer to the whole country's system.
It refers to the vision of woman in popular culture which is changing but still her position seems to be dependant from man. This was a stereotype which started to change only in the last century and still has not been changed greatly in a majority even of democratic societies of Europe and the U.S.A. Literary critics refer to this tale as following:
For example Dubino marks "Western society requires that women be small, like Cinderella," that they receive their rescue due to their smallness and inconspicuousness . Cinderella's service at the hearth and her servant's quarters attracted her little attention, but her small foot fit perfectly into the slipper, thus rescuing her from servitude." (from Dubino, J. The Cinderella Complex: Romance Fiction, Patriarchy and Capitalism p.115)
Other critics as Paul make a more detailed evaluation stating about propaganda of gender inequality in a play: [Cinderella] is considered to be one of those politically incorrect fairytale heroines disdained for being passive, for willingly spending her life on her knees, for losing herself to her bossy stepsisters, and for being dependent on a fairy godmother to take care of her until the man of her dreams accepts the role on a more permanent basis; i.e., marries her. (from Paul, L. The Politics of Dirt: Or Mucking About with Piggybook, Harry the Dirty Dog, and Cinderella p.534-542)
In general most of writers mark that Cinderella is a passive character, who doesn't fight and struggle for better life, who doesn't struggle for love she deserves. She simply waits for a miracle and for better life, suffering fro humiliation. From this point she can viewed as an example of a person who follows Christian moral rules through her obedience and patience. She waits for her better time following the word's Jesus said to Thomas "Blessed one who believes." In general Perroult succeed in combining interesting plot for children which has a lot of morality, also he succeed in propaganda of Christian moral and values and also touched the question about the role of woman in the family and in society.
"Cinderella has a vestal quality that relieves her of any obligation to struggle and strive to better her world" displays why Cinderella waits passively for her prince: her virtue deserves it . It is seldom to be enjoyed for its own sake, but only to be endured for some greater end. Cinderella suffers through her servitude in hope of her eventual rescue ... Cinderella is passive waiting to be rescued" follows from her previous comments . (from Kolbenschlag, M. Kiss Sleeping Beauty Good-Bye: Breaking the Spell of Feminine Myths and Models p. 64-66)
Another tale "Beauty and Beast" has a very deep moral and ethical idea: evaluation of a person according to his traits, personality, but not just according to his appearance.. Everyone knows that appearance may often lie, and the person will appear to be not one we want him to be or seem him to be. This tale teaches to look to the heart of the person, to his soul and appreciate delicate human relations as they are the most precious gift we've got: "Beauty ... come and see the reward of your judicious choice; you have preferred virtue before either wit or beauty, and deserve to have a person in whom these qualifications are united: you are going to be a great queen. Beauty's sisters,…
Sources Used in Documents:
1. Ionia and Peter Opie, eds., The Classic Fairy Tales Oxford University Press, (1980). pp. 182-83.
2. Dubino, Jeanne. The Cinderella Complex: Romance Fiction, Patriarchy and Capitalism, Journal of Popular Culture 27 (1993): 103-18. Proquest Direct. 19 May 1999 <http://www.umi.com/proquest>.
3. Paul, Lissa. The Politics of Dirt: Or Mucking About with Piggybook, Harry the Dirty Dog, and 'Cinderella The Horn Book Magazine Sep.-Oct. 1997: 534-42. Proquest Direct. 19 May 1999 .
4. Kolbenschlag, Madonna. Kiss Sleeping Beauty Good-Bye: Breaking the Spell of Feminine Myths and Models. 1979. Toronto: Bantam, 1981.
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