Beauty is an attribute that is emphasized in female and male characters within the fairy tale genre of children's literature. This value placed on imaginary characters is no longer only seen in fairy tales; it has crossed the gap and is apparent in the society of today. Women are now trying to embody this beauty and essentially become the girls they see on television or read about, at a small age, in fairy tales. Not only is this affecting the women that read the fairytales, but it is also impacting the men, as they form an ideal picture of woman through these stories, and begin to expect women to fit this genre. From a feminist point of view, fairy tales will be examined and analyzed to determine how women are portrayed within fairy tales, and how the image of women affects both men and women in society. This will be done through the use of Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper written by Perrault, Snow White collected by the Grimm Brothers, Beauty and The Beast by Mme Le Prince De Beaumont, the use of Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth, and Susan Sellars" Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Literature. Upon completion of examination of the above, a greater understanding of women's roles in fairy tales and how it affects everyday social views.
A clear example of the emphasis put on beauty can be seen in Mme Le Prince De Beaument's Beauty and The Beast. Beauty is seen in the first paragraph of the story when Beaument introduces "Little Beauty" into the story, Beaument refers to "Little Beauty" as "So very Beautiful, that in her childhood everyone called he the Little Beauty." Wolf would say that this, like women's magazines, causes women to "respond to the beauty myth" "Because adornment is an enormous-and often pleasing-part of female culture." (Wolf, pg. 75, The Beauty Myth, 1992) This is essentially saying that things like fairy tales have been entrenched in our culture so deep that women have begun to consume the fairy tale ideal of beauty.