Understanding ‘the Body’ in Fairy Tales

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Computational analysis and feminist theory generally aren’t the first things that come to mind in association with fairy tales. This unlikely pairing, however, can lead to important insights regarding how cultures understand and represent themselves. For example, by looking at how characters are described in European fairy tales, we’ve been able to show how Western culture tends to bias the younger generation, especially the men. While that result probably won’t shock anyone more than passingly familiar with the Western world, the method of reaching these results allows us to look at cultural biases in a new light. Our study and many others like it are part of a growing trend in applying the power of computing and quantitative analysis toward understanding ourselves.


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