Poetics of the Fairy Tale Princess: Products, Problems, & Possibilities

Main Article Content

Courtney Lee Weida
Carlee Bradbury
Jaime Chris Weida


In the following paper, the authors analyze the prevalence of princess culture in the literature, film, and visual culture of young people. An art educator, art historian, and professor of English literature, the authors propose creative interventions through alternative resources and readings. Focusing on foundations of media studies and literature of Fairy-Tale Studies and girlhood studies, this interdisciplinary collaboration investigates complex creative predicaments of girlhood and princess media. Utilizing Princess Aurora and Sleeping Beauty as a case study and focal point, the authors discuss their collaborative arts research intended to explore problems and possibilities of princess culture. 

Keywords: Art Education; Arts Research; Fairy Tales; Media Studies, Princesses.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Author Biography

Courtney Lee Weida, Adelphi University

Associate Professor of Art Education


Adamson, A., Jenson, V., Warner, A., Williams, J. H., Katzenberg, J., Elliott, T., Rossio, T., Stillman, J., Schulman, R., Myers, M., Murphy, E., Lithgow, J., Diaz, C., Cassel, V., & Steig, W. DreamWorks Home Entertainment (Firm). (2006). Shrek. Redford City, CA: Pacific Data Images

Andrews, M., Chapman, B., Sarafian, K., Thompson, E., Connolly, B., MacDonald, K., & Walters, J. Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Firm.) (2012). Brave. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

Bradley-Birt, F. B., & Tagore, A. (1920). Bengal fairy tales. London, England: John Lane, The Bodley Head.

Buck, C., Lee, J., Morris, S., Del, V. P., Lasseter, J., Bell, K., & Menzel, I., Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Firm.) (2014). Frozen. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

Burnett, F. H., Gill, M., & Curtis, S. (2019). A little princess. New York, NY Charles Scribner's Sons.

Burton, T., Abbate, A., August, J., Thompson, C., Pettler, P., Johnson, M., Depp, J. Warner Home Video (Firm). (2012). Tim Burton's corpse bride. Burbank, CA: Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

Carter, A., & Foreman, M. (1992). Sleeping Beauty & other favourite fairy tales. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Classic Media, Inc., & Vivendi Entertainment (Firm). (2010). She-Ra: Princess of power. New York, NY: Classic Media.

Condon, B., Chbosky, S., Spiliotopoulos, E., Hoberman, D., Lieberman, T., Ashman, H., & Menken, A., Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Firm). (2017). Beauty and the beast. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

Condis, M. (2015). Applying for the position of princess: race, labor, and privilege in the Disney princess line. In B. Foreman & R. Haines (Eds.), Princess cultures: Mediating girls' imaginations and identities (pp. 25-44). London, UK: Peter Lang.

Craft, M., & Craft, K. (2002). Sleeping Beauty. San Francisco, CA: SeaStar Books/Chronicle Books.

Crepsi, F. (2016). Sleeping Beauty. London, UK: Frances Lincoln Children's Books.

Docampo, V. (2017). The Sleeping Beauty. London, UK: Little Simon.

Disney, W., Banta, M., Penner, E., Costa, M., Shirley, B., Audley, E., & Felton, V., Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Firm). (2003). Sleeping Beauty. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

Disney, W. (2017). Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Video.

Dwyer, M. (2014). Alaska’s Sleeping Beauty. Seattle, WA: Littlebigfoot.

Early, M. (1993). Sleeping Beauty. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams.

Faden, E. (2007, March 1). A Fair(y) Use Tale. Retrieved June 29, 2019 from http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2007/03/fairy-use-tale.

Forman-Brunell, M., & Eaton, J. (2009). The Graceful and gritty princess: Managing notions of girlhood from the new millennium. The American Journal of Play, 1(3) 338-364.

Forman-Brunell, M., & Hains, R. (2015). Princess cultures: Mediating girls’ imaginations and identities. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Gale, K. (2000). African Sleeping Beauty/La Bella Durmiente Africana. Los Angeles, CA: Red Hen Press.

Geres, A., & Clark, E. (2001). The Magic of the ballet: Sleeping Beauty. London, UK: Gullane Children's Books.

Gibb, S. (2015). Sleeping Beauty. Park Ridge, IL: Albert Whitman & Company.

Gilani, F. (2018). Sleeping Beauty: An Islamic tale. Leicestershire, UK: Islamic Foundation

Grimm, B. (2013). Sleeping Beauty. Classics illustrated. Retrieved June 23, 2018 from: http://www.myilibrary.com?id=629542.

Grimm, B., & Dusikovaa, M. (2012). Sleeping Beauty. New York, NY: NorthSouth Books.

Haase, D. (2004). Fairy Tale Scholarship. in Haase, D. (Ed). Fairy tales and feminism: New approaches. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Hains, R. (2014). The princess problem: Guiding our girls through the princess-obsessed years. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Inc.

Handy, B. (2017). Wild things: Reading children’s literature as an adult. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Hanson, J. (2018, August 22). It's Okay to be smart | Why do Disney princesses all look like babies? GPB Media. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from http://www.gpb.org/television/shows/its-okay-to-be-smart/episode/2e695053-80b7-4da0-aa0d-ef0d565292de

Harries, E. W. (2004) The Mirror broken: Women’s autobiography and fairy tales. In Haase, D. (Ed). Fairy tales and feminism: New approaches (pp 99-112.) Detroit, MI: Wayne State University.

Heyer, C. (1996). The Sleeping Beauty in the wood. Nashville, TN: Ideals Children’s Books.

Hurley, D. (2005). Seeing white: Children of color and the Disney fairy tale princess. The Journal of Negro Education, 74(3), 221-232.

Hyman, T. (1977). The Sleeping Beauty. New York, NY: Little, Brown & Co.

Johansson, L. (2015). Super strong princesses. Retrieved June 24, 2018, from http://limpan.org/superstrong/

Jones, C. (2016). Teaching Charles Pearault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé in the Literary and Historical Contexts of the Sun King’s Reign. In C. Jones & C. Schwabe (Eds.), New approaches to teaching folk and fairy tales (pp 99-112). Colorado, CO: University of Colorado Press.

Khoo, I. (2017, August 21). Racist backlash won't stop Asian-American actress from playing

Ariel. Hufftington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/08/21/asian-ariel-little-mermaid_a_23156090/

Kingston, M. H. (1989). The woman warrior: Memoir of a girlhood among ghosts. Visalia, CA:


Kukkonnen, K. (2013). Contemporary comics storytelling. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Lamb, S., & Brown, M. L. (2007). Packaging girlhood: Rescuing our daughters from marketers' schemes. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press.

Latifah, Q. (2006). Queen of the scene. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Melton, G. D. (2016). Love warrior. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Menken, A., Ashman, H., Rice, T., & Walt Disney Pictures. (1992). Walt Disney Pictures presents Aladdin. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

Moix, M. (1997). Dangerous virtues. Nebraska, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Orenstein, P. (2011). Cinderella ate my daughter. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Perrault, C. (1969). Perrault’s fairy tales. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Picker, M., Sun, C.-F., Giroux, H. A., Poussaint, A. F., Lewis, J., Dines, G., & Levin, D. E., Kanopy (Firm.) (2014). Mickey Mouse monopoly: Disney, childhood & corporate power: Media Education Foundation Collection. Northhampton, MA, United States: Media Education Foundation.

Ragan, K. (2009). What happened to the heroines of folktales: An Analysis by gender of a multicultural sample of published folktales collected by storytellers. Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, 23(2), pp. 227-247.

Rowling, J. K. (2010). Harry Potter. London, UK: Bloomsbury.

Rylant, C. (2017). Sleeping Beauty. New York, NY: Disney-Hyperion.

Sale, L., & Hill, L. (1995). Sleeping Beauty: The Story of the ballet. Kansas City, MO: Andrews Mcmeel Publishing.

San Jose, C. (2016). Sleeping Beauty. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.

Sarah. (2015, January 06). Spindles aren't sharp. Breadcrumb trails: A Fairy tale blog. Retrieved November 22, 2018, Retrieved June 13, 2019 from https://followingthebreadcrumbtrails.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/spindles-arent-sharp/

Seifert, L. (2015). Queer time in Charles Perrault's "Sleeping Beauty." Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy Tale Studies, 29(1), 21-41.

Shaw, B., & Shakespeare, W. (1937). Cymbeline refinished: A variation. Ayot St. Lawrence, QC: Privately printed.

Siciliano, J. (2011). Author Profile: Alice Hoffman. Retrieved October 25, 2018, from http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-hoffman-alice.asp

Solino, M. (2002). Women and children first: Spanish women writers and the fairy tale tradition. Potomac, MD: Scripta Humanistica.

Southgate, V. (1965). Sleeping Beauty. London, UK: Ladybird Books Ltd.

Stone, K. (2008). Someday my witch will come. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.

Sun, C.-F., Picker, M., Fordham, M., & Media Education Foundation. (2002). Mickey Mouse monopoly: Disney childhood & corporate power. Northampton, Mass: Media Education Foundation.

Tatar, M. (2014). Show and tell: Sleeping Beauty as verbal icon and seductive story. Marvels &

Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, 28(1), 142–158.

Trites, R. (1997). Waking Sleeping Beauty: Feminist voices in children’s novels. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press.

Wilkinson, S. (2019, July 5). As a ginger, I’m calling out the racist backlash against The Little Mermaid. The Guardian. Retrieved July 5, 2019 from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/05/ginger-redhead-racist-backlash-little-mermaid

Yolen, J. (1986). The Sleeping Beauty. New York, NY: Knopf.

Yoon, N. (2017, August 19). 'We don't make princesses in those colours': Words I didn't expect to hear in 2017. The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/19/america-loves-the-theory-that-all-men-are-created-equal-but-doesnt-love-the-practice

Zipes, J. (1979). Breaking the magic spell: Radical theories of folk and fairy tales. Houston, TX: University of Texas.