RE-TALE: Anna Dorrington with her works in the grim Fairy Tales exhibition at the Serpentine Community Gallery in Lismore.
RE-TALE: Anna Dorrington with her works in the grim Fairy Tales exhibition at the Serpentine Community Gallery in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

Grimm fairy tales are grimmer for women

JIGGI artist Anna Dorrington hopes her upcoming exhibition, "grim Fairy Tales", will encourage attendees to challenge the role of women in society.

Ms Dorrington's exhibition at the Serpentine Community Gallery in Lismore will delve into the history of fairy tales and especially those of the Brothers Grimm, including Rapunzel, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood.

A recurring theme of the Brothers' work is women's subservience to men, their need to be rescued and their traditional role as nurturing housewives.

Ms Dorrington believes these themes are old-fashioned, restrictive and, frankly, damaging to the development of women.

"As I got older, I realised how I was shaped early on and I'm really regretting certain traits that were drummed into me - like 'keep a clean house and you'll get a husband'," she said.

"When I was only 12 years old, I was terrified of being 'left on the shelf', that sort of thing.

"It's about how fairy tales affected my life as a teenager in the '60s.

"Men generally don't want to fit into these moulds either - it's a fight for both sexes."

Ms Dorrington said males and females still conform to traditional gender roles in many ways today, but she had noticed some shift towards equilibrium.

"You still get the little girls dressed in pink with the little bow on their head, though," she said.

The Southern Cross Uni-versity graduate's work, which is not initially confronting but strongly symbolic, is aimed at inspiring thought and discussion of gender equality.

Ms Dorrington believes hope lies in reclaiming and reframing popular fairy tales, as she has done.



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