Gender and Fairy Tales

Detailed Table of Contents

Baiqing Zheng: From Courtly Love to Snow White
Abstract: In chivalric romances, courtly love often entails the love between a single knight and a married woman. This love cannot be consummated in a physical sense and, if it is, disaster and death ensue. Courtly love therefore involves the agonies of unfulfilled love. What Lacan finds of interest in these chivalric romances is its symbolic aspect. The poetic exercise of courtly love raised by Lacan has various manifestations in Robert Coover’s “The Dead Queen”, Anne Sexton’s “Snow White” and Angela Carter’s “The Snow Child”, three contemporary revisions of the classical fairy tale “Snow White”, where the conventional utopia ending of “Prince and Princess live happily ever after” is rarely seen. Instead, twists, suspension, revelation, confusion and subversion often accompany the plots, and complicate the relations between heroes and heroines, which can find equivalents of idealizing themes in courtly love. These three revisions of “Snow White” draw a parallel between women in love and women in language, and are committed to disenchant the constructed feminine myth.
Author's Bio: Baiqing Zheng is a lecturer at School of International Studies, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China (100029), specializing in English and American Literature. She got Ph.D. from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2009. From 2007 to 2008, she was a visiting scholar at Department of English, Yale University.
Nancy Taber: Detectives and bail bonds "persons" as fairy tale hero/ines: A feminist antimilitarist analysis of Grimm and Once Upon a Time
Abstract: In this article, I explore the re/writing of gendered scripts in the television programs Grimm and Once Upon a Time. Using a framework of feminist antimilitarism, I examine how these programs, as modern retellings of fairy tales, interconnect with each other and with societal performances of masculinities and femininities. I argue that gender, violence, and militarism are represented in complex ways that variously position ideas of good and evil, protected and protector, masculinity and femininity through the programs' characterizations of heroic hunters and saviours who are also estranged mothers and sons.
Author's Bio: Nancy Taber is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University. Her research interests include: the ways in which war, militarism, and gender are learned in daily life; women's experiences in western militaries; interconnections between military and academic gendered norms; and, sociocultural issues in fiction and popular culture.
Annette Schimmelpfennig: Chaos Reigns: Women as Witches in Contemporary Film and the Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
Abstract: The image of the witch is etched on the memory from childhood on, characterised by her portrayal in fairy tales and shaped by popular culture, especially contemporary film. Although of pre-Christian origin, and exploited during the peak of the witch-hunts from the late 15th to the middle of the 18th century, the belief in witches has barely forfeited its sometimes dubious popularity. While the commercialisation of other magical and monstrous creatures such as vampires, elves and werewolves follows the trend of Hollywood marketing experts and the development of youth culture, the witch appears to be a constant fictive companion in bed-, child’s and living rooms. Be it as animalistic grandmother-gone-bad in the Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel or as narcissistic queen in the form of Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman, the depiction of female witches is versatile.
Author's Bio: Annette Schimmelpfennig holds a Master's Degree from the University of Cologne in English, Spanish and German philology. She is currently doing her research on her dissertation on the American author Bret Easton Ellis.
Caleb Sivyer: A Scopophiliac Fairy Tale: Deconstructing Normative Gender in Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber”
Abstract: Angela Carter’s short story collection The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is a reworking of traditional fairy tales, or as she suggested “stories about fairy stories.” Carter takes up the flexible structure of the fairy story in order to communicate the experiences of being a woman in a patriarchal society, subjected to certain ways of seeing and being seen. In this article, I explore the economy of vision in the title story of Carter’s collection, arguing that she deconstructs the violent structure of seeing embodied in the two main characters in the story. I conclude by looking at two alternatives that appear in the story, both of which move beyond the violence and seductiveness of ways of seeing within a patriarchal society.
Author's Bio: Caleb Sivyer is an AHRC-funded third year PhD student working on the intersection of the visual and gender in Angela Carter and Virginia Woolf at Cardiff University.
Shu-Ju Ada Cheng (Review): "Tacit Subjects: Belonging and Same-Sex Desire Among Dominican Immigrant Men"