In the original version of the fairy tale "Cinderella," as collected by the Grimm brothers, when the false sister is trying to fit into the shoe,
"She could not get her big toe into it, for the shoe was too small for her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, "Cut off your toe. When you are queen you will no longer have to go on foot."
The girl cut off her toe, forced her foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the prince.
What gives her away is that there's blood in the shoe.
And read the "happy" ending,
When the wedding with the prince was to be held, the two false sisters came, wanting to gain favor with Cinderella and to share her good fortune. When the bridal couple walked into the church, the older sister walked on their right side and the younger on their left side, and the pigeons pecked out one eye from each of them. Afterwards, as they came out of the church, the older one was on the left side, and the younger one on the right side, and then the pigeons pecked out the other eye from each of them. And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived.
It is hard to say. Yes, I do think we are desentitized by depictions of violence in entertainment, but there has been violence in entertainment for as long as there has been entertainment.
Your question is very interesting in my opinion.
My answer is a loud NO.
I do not THINK that violence in movie and TV programs can be harmful,
I KNOW that it is harmful.
Many psychological studies have been done trying to shed light on this
very, very important matter.
Right now I can't find the reference to one of the pioneering researches (and experiment)
on this subject, please excuse me.
Let me point to a collection of experiments and studies (in the reference section)
in case you are interested:
By the way I also know this by a personal experience, which is too long to describe
(but more or less harmless) and raised many questions in my head.
Here is the reference I was looking for:
Film violence and the cue properties of available targets.
Berkowity, Leonard; Geen, Russell G.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 3(5), May 1966, 525-530. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0023201
By the way, the human species still has many tracts of their monkeys ancestors, and surely the istinct
of imitation, being it by parental behaviour, a tale, a book, a movie.
Is there a good reason by which the strenght of our istinct of imitation of others' behaviour will immediately drop
to zero when exposed to a violent scene in a movie ?
Something magic about the TV screen ? A mysterious energy radiation hitting exactly our neurons
that evolved giving us the capacity to learn by imitation?
I KNOW this energy radiation does not exist, and this is NOT an opinion, it is a fact of reality.
Mr. Alfred Hitchcock said (presenting one of the short movies he produced) that guns and TV sets
are both quite dangerous devices.
I think this mainly depends on the family - if the parents spend enough time with their children and don't just put them in front of the TV so that the children don't disturb them, I don't think seeing some episodes from Tom & Jerry or similar TV programmes would do much harm. But this doesn't mean children should see violence from an early age - although it's hard to avoid, since many tales and cartoons contain violence. Even Tom & Jerry and Grimm tales, although no one I know has suffered personality disorders by watching/reading them.