Fantasy and Feminism An Intersectional Approach to Modern Children’s Fantasy Fiction

Hirst, Miriam Laufey (2018) Fantasy and Feminism An Intersectional Approach to Modern Children’s Fantasy Fiction. PhD thesis, University of Bolton.

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Abstract

This thesis compares modern children’s fantasy literature with older texts, particularly Grimms’ fairy tales. The focus is on tropes from fairy tales and myths that devalue women and femininity. In looking at these tropes, this thesis examines how they are used in modern fiction; whether they are subverted to show a more empowering vision of femininity or simply replicated in a more modern guise. Whereas other approaches in this area have addressed the representation of gender in an isolated fashion, this study adopts an intersectional approach, examining the way that different axes of oppression work together to maintain the patriarchal hegemony of powerful, white, heterosexual men. As intersectional theory has pointed out, mainstream feminism has tended to focus only on the needs and rights of more privileged women, who are themselves complicit in the oppression of their more marginalised “sisters”. Intersectional feminism, in contrast, seeks to dismantle the entire system of interlinked oppressions, rather than allowing some women to benefit from it to the detriment of others. The intersectional issues around feminism that this thesis addresses include race, disability, class, and sexuality. There is also an emphasis on female solidarity, which is championed as an effective strategy to weaken the hold of patriarchy and subvert it in its aim to “divide and conquer”. It is this intersectional approach to children’s fantasy literature that is seen as the thesis’s main contribution to knowledge. The primary texts under examination are mainly from the United Kingdom, but also include works from the United States, Australia, and Germany. All of them were originally published between 1980 and 2013. The thesis explores heroism, beauty, magic, and gender performance in these works, showing how such themes can be dealt with in ways that are either reactionary and detrimental or progressive and empowering.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: University of Bolton Theses > Arts and Media Technologies
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2018 12:51
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2019 08:47
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1968

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