A bit tired of those beauty-as-goodness and marriage-as-happiness themes? Feminist Fairytales is a web series that retells some classic fairytales with a feminist twist. While a lot of these Disney stories have valuable lessons, it’s hard not to watch them now with some sarcastic commentary, which Sarah Ann Masse happily provides in her readings of Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. Directed by Man Powered Films (Mark Philip Lichtenstein), written by Nick Afka Thomas and Sarah Ann Masse (We Are Thomasse) Feminist Fairytales pokes some fun at the ways they prioritize romantic relationships and the creepiness that pervades them.
Masse gestures towards the explicitly creepy like the princely habits of kissing unconscious women and some of the more subtle themes. (Actually though, why does a baby have to physically beautiful? It’s. An. Infant.) Of course, we can see a lot of female heroines who’ve come out in animation and Disney stories but these stories have longer histories and aren’t too easy to escape.
What did you think about Feminist Fairytales? More broadly, how do you approach talking about these themes critically when they’re stories usually told to children? I remember babysitting a girl who loved everything Disney-princess and while lots of these stories have great lessons that I think everyone can get behind, it can be difficult to try and bring up some of the more subtle things embedded in the romance plots.
(via email tip)
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