The Rule-breaker’s Gender

Anne Beall Author Interview

Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules is an analysis of over 200 folktales and fairy tales from around the world showing the inequality of treatment between men and women. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Following the 2020 presidential election, I became curious about who is permitted to break the rules. I turned to traditional fairy tales for insight, wondering if they reveal any gender bias in terms of rule-breaking. Fairy tales and folktales are integral parts of every culture, carrying messages for both children and adults. I thought it was possible they might contain implicit messages about rule-breaking, punishment, and reward for different genders.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Our research has revealed a significant finding: male characters make up two-thirds of all rule-breakers, whereas female characters make up only one-third. Furthermore, although male rule-breakers often go unpunished or are rewarded, female rule-breakers are predominantly punished. These implicit messages in fairy tales and folktales can be harmful, as they reinforce gender stereotypes and encourage one gender to break rules while the other should obey. Interestingly, other research has found a correlation between rule-breaking and career success, with individuals who break rules tending to achieve higher income and greater success than those who adhere to rules. This finding suggests that some level of rule-breaking may be associated with personal and professional growth.

How much research did you undertake for this book and how much time did it take to put it all together?

I conducted extensive research over several months, beginning with the identification of 200 fairy tales and folk tales from different regions of the world. I read through hundreds of stories to identify instances where rules were broken, ensuring a balanced representation from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. After gathering an equal number of stories from each region, I analyzed them thoroughly and cross-checked my findings with another researcher to ensure consistency. Each story was analyzed in terms of the rule-breaker’s gender, whether they were punished, and the severity of the violation and punishment.

What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?

The consistency of our findings across geographic regions comes as a surprise to many who read the book; they expected to see significant differences. In addition, they are particularly surprised by the severity of punishment for female characters who break the rules. Shockingly, almost one-third of the female characters who break the rules in stories are executed!

 Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Explore the fascinating link between gender stereotypes in fairy tales and real-world life with Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules: Gender and Rule Violation in Fairy Tales and Life. This thought-provoking book carefully analyzes 200 folktales and fairy tales from around the world, uncovering a universal disparity in how male and female characters are punished for breaking the rules. Through a blend of thorough research and literary investigation, the book sheds light on how these stereotypes affect our families, politics, and education. A powerful feminist critique of social norms, this academic yet accessible exploration shows how our most cherished tales shape our cultures.

Proceeds from this book will be donated to Empowering Girls for Life (EGFL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating the female leaders of tomorrow by empowering girls today. EGFL is located in Lombard, IL.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on April 12, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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