A DISCUSSION held by the Ministry of Equality on the traditional roles of women and men in fairy tales packed out the Garrison Library.
Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento, hosted the fireside chat, which talked about how fairy tales influence how people are seen according to their gender.
As a result of this event a short story competition will be held to create modern fairy tales for our time.
The event began with presentations before the audience were invited to actively participate in an open discussion.
The Ministry of Equality’s Policy Officer, Marlene Dalli, put gender stereotyping into context showing its dangers.
The most common stereotypes come from stories like Cinderella, where a woman always needs to be saved by a man and can rarely think for herself.
Men, meanwhile, suffer from an inability to express their feelings, which in our modern society can lead to depression or even suicide.
Then, the Librarian at Westside and Bayside Schools, Kimberly Pecino, gave a detailed insight into the history of gender roles in storytelling.
Often there is a stereotype in fairytales that a woman cannot decide for herself, illustrated in modern discussions like the abortion debate.
Many men feel they have more rights to decide a woman’s choices than they do themselves, because women are often seen as child-bearers above all as opposed as individuals.
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A mixed audience full of writers, teachers and students then asked questions, which developed into open conversation.
Character development, the possible creation of new stereotypes and how storytelling influences children were all talked about.
“The aim of this event and of the short story competition is to promote diversity and inclusion,” said Sacramento.
“We want to challenge gender stereotypes which can prevent children from reaching their full potential.”
The event was held in the historic setting of Garrison Library, where tradition was discussed within its walls which have house so much history.
“I am delighted by the response to this event which shows that there is an appetite for these discussions locally,” revealed the minister.
“I am particularly encouraged by the diverse nature of attendees which included teenagers, young adults and adults and which also saw a healthy representation of men and women.”
Modern films have started to retell fairy-tales in a non-sexist way, with Disney film Maleficient starring Angelina Jolie being a notable example.
“Not only was the event very well attended but the discussion was both meaningful and substantive,” concluded Sacramento.
“Whilst the starting and central point was the effects of gender stereotypes in fairy tales the discussion was quite varied and explored a number of key issues.”
The deadline for entries to the Modern Fairy Tales short story competition is Monday 3rd February.