Roles of Women Throughout Time

Most of the classic Disney princess films were created around the 1900s. Snow White was created into a film in 1937 and Cinderella was first aired in 1950. The Grimm’s brothers version of Rapunzel came our in 1857. Attitudes towards women were they were the weaker gender. They are weak emotionally and physically. They did not have as much rights as the men do. They can’t own property, instead they were property of men. As time passed, during the 20th and 21st century, women began to reform to change how they were viewed. The movies such as Ella Enchanted, Tangled and Snow White and the Huntsman promotes reversed roles of women. The female characters were portrayed as ambitious, brave, intelligent and did not follow the traditional stereotypes of women. These movies promote strong female figures that brings a positive light to the roles of women in society.


This website has more information of the history of the rights of women and their struggle:


Role of Men

While writing my paper, I realized that the roles of men changed throughout the adaptations of fairy tales as well. I’m not sure if I should include it in my paper because I am mainly focusing on writing about women gender roles. In the movie Tangled, an adaptation of Rapunzel, I realized that the main character Flynn wasn’t a typical prince. He’s actually not a prince at all but he has romance with Rapunzel. Flynn is a thief that climbed into Rapunzel’s tower to hide from men chasing after him. His intentions weren’t to rescue Rapunzel from the tower. He wanted benefits from her thinking that he could get money since he thought that she was the daughter of the King. Flynn has no type of social status compared to Rapunzel’s true identity. While they were running away from the witch, Rapunzel was more of a hero because when Flynn got hurt, she cured him with her magical locks. Flynn was close to dying and Rapunzel saves him with her tear drop.

Here is a link to the healing scene:

Gender Role Changes

I’ve noticed that in most of the original fairy tales and recent adaptations, the gender role of men and women changed. In the original tales, the princesses and women were portrayed as weak and fragile. Completely unable to protect themselves from danger. The men obviously were the strong ones that rescues them from their misery. In new adaptations, i’ve noticed that all these princesses are now warriors or fighting back to the evil character in the book. An example of this is Snow White and the Huntsman. Snow White fights back with her prince and kills the evil queen. Also, in the original film of Snow White, all she did was sing and do house chores for the seven dwarfs. In the Snow White and the Huntsman, she did none of that and fought in a battle. Fighting in a battle is not something that women does back then but now the roles has changed. Women can do as much as men.

Snow White

The first Snow White film came out in 1937. The plot is basically about a young lady, who was considered the most beautiful women of all and a wicked witch was jealous. The witch wanted to be the fairest of them all so she sets a plot to kill Snow White with a poison apple. In the original film, snow white was gullible and ate the apple and dies. She is then alive by a prince kissing her. In the adaptation, Snow White is awaken by a kiss as well, but she fights back. She is dressed in armor just like the men fighting. She is holding swords and weapons and is not the typical feminine character. These two characters contrast in terms of personality and bravery.

Here is the website to Snow White and the Huntsman.


An adaptation of Cinderella that I really enjoyed reading was a novel called Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. The novel follows the same story line as Cinderella but with a little twist. The main character Ella is cursed with a spell of being obedient so she has to do whatever her stepmother and stepsisters tell her to do. She tries her hardest to disobey but she has no self-control of it. The character Ella and Cinderella have different personalities. Cinderella was known as very fragile, gullible, weak and naive which lead to her downfall of eating the red apple. Ella on the other hand is very ambitious, brave, bold and aware of the things that goes around her. These two characters have contrasting personalities. Walt Disney’s Cinderella came out in 1950, a time period where women had little rights and controlled by men. Women were known as weak, inferior, and only knew how to take care of the household. The character Cinderella portray these traits of being fragile and weak because she needed a prince charming to rescue her and live happily ever after. Ella on the other hand, escaped her own misery with her stepmother and stepsisters. She was ambitious and went out to seek how to break the curse that she was in. The novel was published 1997 and the movie adaptation came out in 2004. It is a completely different time period which promotes more women empowerment.

Here is a link to the plot summary of the book


For my proposal, I’m stuck between writing about adaptations or roles of women in fairy tales. I was trying to come up with fairy tales that have both adaptations and inferiority of women. Rapunzel is a perfect example. There are many adaptations of Rapunzel such as the Disney movie Tangled. In the original version of Rapunzel, she was locked in a tower and rescued by a prince and lived happily ever after. In the new adaptation Tangled, the roles were changed where Rapunzel made her own decisions of escaping the towers for her future. She then helped the guy that was trying to save her by healing his wounds with her long beautiful locks. She decided to cut off her own hair to stop the evil witch from being youthful. Roles have changed from the original and newer version of Rapunzel.