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Thread: New Study: Fairy Tales and Violent Relationships

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    New Study: Fairy Tales and Violent Relationships

    Fairy tales linked to violent relationships

    Susan Darker-Smith, a graduate student who wrote the academic paper, said she found many abuse victims identified with characters in famous children's literature and claimed the stories provide "templates" of dominated women.
    I don't know. Part of me feels like saying "Well, Duh! They have to have a formal study to conclude that society brainwashes women from birth with this crap?" All the fairy tales they refer to (Cinderella, Rapunzel, et al) revolve around a woman finding love and "living happily ever after" as her big accomplishment in life. I can't think of a single comparable tale revolving around a woman having personal achievements. (Though we have "Mulan" these days. ) The stories boys get told are much more likely to address male personal achievements.

    I grew up identifying with characters like Red Sonja and Rifkind.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    This is interesting and probably points to the heart of the nature vs nurture debate. I suspect there is something hardwired into the Y chromosome that fills many males with the will to dominate and something in an X chromosome that tells its female owner to submit. I am even more convinced that environment in general plays a significant role in forming our gender related behaviors. Certainly, little boys and girls are told fairy tales and must at some level register at least subconsciously that these are models of 'normal' behavior or expectations, but I doubt seriously that these same fairy tales represent much more than another brick in the wall, as opposed to being some primary cause.
    I wonder what would be the most sexist fairy tale out there?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Member Jeff_Rosenberg's avatar
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    This stuff is everywhere, and not just related to gender, either.

    One of my favorite lines is from the movie Anastasia. Vlad tells Anya that she has exibited grace and quick thinking "equal to any royal."

    Are royalty really that physically and mentally superior? Because scientific studies on inbreeding would say otherwise. This sort of stuff works into people's subconscious over decades.

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    This is interesting and probably points to the heart of the nature vs nurture debate. I suspect there is something hardwired into the Y chromosome that fills many males with the will to dominate and something in an X chromosome that tells its female owner to submit. I am even more convinced that environment in general plays a significant role in forming our gender related behaviors. Certainly, little boys and girls are told fairy tales and must at some level register at least subconsciously that these are models of 'normal' behavior or expectations, but I doubt seriously that these same fairy tales represent much more than another brick in the wall, as opposed to being some primary cause.
    I wonder what would be the most sexist fairy tale out there?
    I don't think they are viewed as models of 'normal' behavior. I think they are viewed as models of Ideal behavior and that is part of the problem. Girls are generally encouraged to put up with a lot of crap as proof of how virtuous they are. I think that is part of why women will sometimes cite how much their relationship has cost them as "proof" that "it must be True Love". Listening to speaches like that by otherwise intelligent, accomplished women is one of the things that helped form my values and is undoubtedly a factor in my divorce: my creeped out gut reaction made me pause and go "Do I really want to be saying this myself somewhere down the road: that the proof of the quality of my relationship is how much pain and suffering I have endured???" I concluded that wasn't going to cut it. To me, it is a Given that a relationship "costs" something but if you can't also say what the pay-off is, then it is merely some masochistic fantasy.

    I think that, yes, they are "another brick in the wall" but they are also an indicator of a prevalent mindset and it is presented over and over and over in Western literature: Helen of Troy inspired a war but I can't recall anything about her other than her great beauty. Beauty and The Beast -- again, her looks are so important that her "name" in the title is simply "Beauty". Sleeping Beauty -- same thing. Her only roll is to be beautiful and a princess. She is not loved for WHO she is, merely WHAT she is. Women are raised to be beautiful and to NOT insert their own personality into things. If they do express their personalities, they are "shrews", etc. Their personalities are rarely mentioned in any great detail in such stories, how beautiful they are matters a great deal and their willingness to accept another person completely and love them anyway, nevermind that their own personality is completely subsumed.

    I don't know that the X chromosome encourages one to be submissive. I think the possibility of having a baby and needing the man's cooperation to help raise the child makes women more deferential. I have discussed this with women who have worked and have taken some time to be home with the kid. Women become more deferential when they are financially dependent upon a man even if that isn't how they normally act. Given that in most relationships, he makes more money than her and society kind of recognizes that pattern by expressing certain expectations for men and women, it is hard for any woman to escape that pattern: since it is the norm, a woman who defies it too much risks being completely rejected by men. It can also simply be hard to SEE the pattern. Since it is so "normal", it can seem taboo to even question it. It can be something which doesn't even occur to most people to question. Since men typically make more money, it is difficult to separate what part of this is "maleness" and what part of it is financial power over her.

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Considering that Royals had superior education than most people and were groomed for the political environment, yeah I'd say they probably were far more quick-witted than the average person. The same is true of any experienced American politician. They have the debate and public speaking skills to run mental circles around the average person.

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Considering that Royals had superior education than most people and were groomed for the political environment, yeah I'd say they probably were far more quick-witted than the average person. The same is true of any experienced American politician. They have the debate and public speaking skills to run mental circles around the average person.
    They were also better fed and had better housing, etc.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    I don't know that the X chromosome encourages one to be submissive. I think the possibility of having a baby and needing the man's cooperation to help raise the child makes women more deferential. I have discussed this with women who have worked and have taken some time to be home with the kid. Women become more deferential when they are financially dependent upon a man even if that isn't how they normally act. Given that in most relationships, he makes more money than her and society kind of recognizes that pattern by expressing certain expectations for men and women, it is hard for any woman to escape that pattern: since it is the norm, a woman who defies it too much risks being completely rejected by men. It can also simply be hard to SEE the pattern. Since it is so "normal", it can seem taboo to even question it. It can be something which doesn't even occur to most people to question. Since men typically make more money, it is difficult to separate what part of this is "maleness" and what part of it is financial power over her.
    Well, I didn't mean literally that the X chromosome passed on the traits associated with submission, I just meant there was a biological (and therefore a genetic) basis for gender associated behavior. All that testosterone makes us guys act the way we do. Likewise, there is a biological basis for classic 'female' behavior.
    But otherwise, yeah, what you said.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    I don't really buy into this idea: A study of both parents of primary school children and women who have been involved in domestic abuse claims than those who grew up reading fairy tales are likely to be more submissive as adults.

    What about men? I'm sure that most of them also grew up reading fairy tales.

    My favorite fairy tale was the Princess and the Pea. This has in no way affected me as an adult -- if I start waking up with bruises, then we'll talk!

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Well, I didn't mean literally that the X chromosome passed on the traits associated with submission, I just meant there was a biological (and therefore a genetic) basis for gender associated behavior. All that testosterone makes us guys act the way we do. Likewise, there is a biological basis for classic 'female' behavior.
    But otherwise, yeah, what you said.
    Yes, especially in youth, the male-female traits are more exagerated. I think it is hard to say if it is rampant hormones or if it is because those are prime child bearing years or a combination of the two or just what. But I have read stuff that suggests men and women are both more "well rounded" -- the men more understanding, etc. and the women more vocal, etc -- after a certain age. And generally make each other less nuts.

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Read your kid "Horton Hatches The Egg." Teaches the kid gentleness and responsibility, and the postive results that result from practicing both. Teaches the parent what being a good parent is about.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    ......I suspect there is something hardwired into the Y chromosome that fills many males with the will to dominate and something in an X chromosome that tells its female owner to submit. ......
    I would disagree whole heartedly with that statement. Women in relationships more often innitiate violence and lash out than men do (repeated studies often ignored by feminists from the womens studies department at UW Madison). Women often control relationships and are the ones who choose thier mates.

    Risking a firestorm of debate, your statement does coincide with the accepted..... dominant .... belief structure ..... of the majority in the western world (picking words carefully ).

    Humans in general have a will to dominate, but sex plays no role in it. There are just to many holes in the belief that men are more driven to power.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia
    I would disagree whole heartedly with that statement. Women in relationships more often innitiate violence and lash out than men do (repeated studies often ignored by feminists from the womens studies department at UW Madison). Women often control relationships and are the ones who choose thier mates.

    Risking a firestorm of debate, your statement does coincide with the accepted..... dominant .... belief structure ..... of the majority in the western world (picking words carefully ).

    Humans in general have a will to dominate, but sex plays no role in it. There are just to many holes in the belief that men are more driven to power.
    Well, I try to keep an open mind about such things. Seeing as the argument has been made that the dominant prevailing opinion is in error, it would seem the ball is in your court to support (i.e. cite the studies).
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Well, I try to keep an open mind about such things. Seeing as the argument has been made that the dominant prevailing opinion is in error, it would seem the ball is in your court to support (i.e. cite the studies).
    As opposed to just reelig of the idea that an X chromosome is "Hindered" with submissive behavior while the Y spurred by male androgenes conveys the wll to power?

    Your argument is based purely on the speculation that the present model is obviously and apparently obvious because the culture can't be wrong.

    As I cited above, women are more often violent in relationships than men. The fact that their attacks ocur from a distince does not represent submission, it represents the application of sound tactics. This behavior does suggest that women are not more submissive.

    Have you ever been divorced? You will find that a majority of divorced men will not agree that thier ex-wives were passive and submissive about how that scenario played out.

    Additionally, while women in general do not have the muscle body mass to directly engage a male in a up close and personal nose breaking fight, it would be thugish and short cited to suggest this is then applicable to your argument of female submissiveness. It suggests opposition through other means, often quite a bit more successful than pure physical domination.

    If women were really so subservient, the instances of women being in positions of power would occur even more infreaquently than they have or currently do.

    As far as our cultural belief that women are naturally more submissive than men, that same culture has acted with extreme prejudice to enforce that ideology and build upon that idealogy to maintain women in secondary roles. Again, the fact that there is active and sustained resistence to this ideology by females themselves represents an effective challange to overcoming the ideology of female submissiveness.

    As for specific studies, where would one go to find the studies about female submissiveness? Would they be on the shelf next to the books that show criminal behavior by skull shape? We could talk about it from the stand point of evolutionary biology, that would show that women are actually much better generalists and no less submissive than men are based on survival rates. We could also inject how our cultural religious beliefs have gotten caught up in common social knowledge and bad science pointing to female submissiveness, but I trying to stay away from that.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia
    I would disagree whole heartedly with that statement. Women in relationships more often innitiate violence and lash out than men do (repeated studies often ignored by feminists from the womens studies department at UW Madison). Women often control relationships and are the ones who choose thier mates.
    Studies I've seen suggest that it is about equal but you have to carefully classify what you are talking about. Women are much more likely to be verbally agressive and to do things like slap a man. The violence they inflict isn't as likely to land one in the hospital. Perhaps part of the reason the studies and perceptions are skewed has to do with how serious the outcomes are when a much bigger, stronger male begins hitting the typical female.

    I have a little trouble with your last line but maybe I am not understanding what you meant?

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Yeah women generally have less ability to inflict harm. I also think social mores are different. I think for a man to bring any sort of abuse suit up against a woman would make him seem like less of a man. That’s why man against woman suits are so rare, not that women don’t routinely partake in behavior against men that could be considered abuse were it reported.

    It's like sexual harassment. A woman could slap a man's butt or grab his genitals or something (and such behavior is hardly rare among some times of women), and although he'd have a right sue, because the laws prohibiting men from doing such things to women were written in a gender-neutral way, the mores against a woman acting like that aren't as strong as vice-versa (probably because of Victorian notions that only men could be sexual aggressors) and in fact, the mores are the opposite: they strongly discourage men from pressing charges. So you end up with a situation where women can partake with impunity in behaviors that would carry very serious consequences for a man.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia
    As opposed to just reelig of the idea that an X chromosome is "Hindered" with submissive behavior while the Y spurred by male androgenes conveys the wll to power?

    Your argument is based purely on the speculation that the present model is obviously and apparently obvious because the culture can't be wrong.

    As I cited above, women are more often violent in relationships than men. The fact that their attacks ocur from a distince does not represent submission, it represents the application of sound tactics. This behavior does suggest that women are not more submissive.

    Have you ever been divorced? You will find that a majority of divorced men will not agree that thier ex-wives were passive and submissive about how that scenario played out.

    Additionally, while women in general do not have the muscle body mass to directly engage a male in a up close and personal nose breaking fight, it would be thugish and short cited to suggest this is then applicable to your argument of female submissiveness. It suggests opposition through other means, often quite a bit more successful than pure physical domination.

    If women were really so subservient, the instances of women being in positions of power would occur even more infreaquently than they have or currently do.

    As far as our cultural belief that women are naturally more submissive than men, that same culture has acted with extreme prejudice to enforce that ideology and build upon that idealogy to maintain women in secondary roles. Again, the fact that there is active and sustained resistence to this ideology by females themselves represents an effective challange to overcoming the ideology of female submissiveness.

    As for specific studies, where would one go to find the studies about female submissiveness? Would they be on the shelf next to the books that show criminal behavior by skull shape? We could talk about it from the stand point of evolutionary biology, that would show that women are actually much better generalists and no less submissive than men are based on survival rates. We could also inject how our cultural religious beliefs have gotten caught up in common social knowledge and bad science pointing to female submissiveness, but I trying to stay away from that.
    Usually the affirmative position (the side arguing against the prevailing opinion) has the burden of proof. Sad but true the Copernicus' of the world usually end up having to present their evidence first to sway opinion. I'll break with tradition, though, and cite Department of Justice statistics.
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/femvied.htm
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Studies I've seen suggest that it is about equal but you have to carefully classify what you are talking about. Women are much more likely to be verbally agressive and to do things like slap a man. The violence they inflict isn't as likely to land one in the hospital. Perhaps part of the reason the studies and perceptions are skewed has to do with how serious the outcomes are when a much bigger, stronger male begins hitting the typical female.

    I have a little trouble with your last line but maybe I am not understanding what you meant?

    Undoubtedly, and I agree.

    This is where pure training comes into play. As males, we are trained to endure pain and get in and get personal. We are trained to be disposable. With that kind of training, why would a female stand in there and throw a punch. Tactically, she is going to throw something from a distance to get her point across. That way, she more than likely has space to trade for time in the event that fleeing is necessary. Basic tactics at work.

    The important thing to note, is that women are the slight majority of initiators. This does not argue for submissive behavior. Submissive behavior does not challenge dominance when it will be crushed. If males are so dominant, there would be no reason to put up with a challenge that would be easily dealt with, and that is where the resistence through other means comes in.

    On a personal note, throwing something at someone is a violent act and it should be viewed as such. I am not advocating violence toward women, I am just arguing that women are not passive and submissive.

    They are mean, vicious, and nasty just like men!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia
    The important thing to note, is that women are the slight majority of initiators. This does not argue for submissive behavior. Submissive behavior does not challenge dominance when it will be crushed. If males are so dominant, there would be no reason to put up with a challenge that would be easily dealt with, and that is where the resistence through other means comes in.
    I think I would tend to agree and said something similar earlier. If women appear "submissive" it has a lot to do with a) gee, he is much bigger/stronger and I don't stand a chance in a physical confrontation without "an equalizer" (which is why women do more time for defending themselves than men do for finally beating her to death: self defense laws assume two individuals of roughly equal size, strength, etc and put women at a distinct disadvantage legally in proving "self defense") b) Often, he has financial power over her, especially if there are kids involved and c) for those reasons (and perhaps others) women are usually defiant in less direct ways.

    On a related note, I once saw some article or study that suggested that all those "submissive" Asian women marrying American men as their ticket to the Land of Opportunity are lots more sneaky their American counterparts. Anecdotally, a friend of mine was shocked that her jerk brother's Asian wife's child turned out to not be his. Imagine that: someone from a culture that is even more male dominated (or whatever -- I don't feel that is quite the right term) just being better at the whole Appearances end of things.

    NONETHELESS: Can we try to get back on topic now that we have been all politically correct etc?

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