The Ugly Truth About Depictions of Cinderella’s Stepfamily

Cinderella is quite possibly the most popular story about a blended family in Western culture. Her ugly relationship with her stepfamily can provide an outlet for young viewers in messy or abusive step relationships. But stepmothers and their children have feelings just as real and complicated as the “Cinderellas” of the world and suffer from one-sided portrayals. Read more... “The Ugly Truth About Depictions of Cinderella’s Stepfamily”

Cinderella: the Modern Woman, 1922-1944

Classic. Old-fashioned. Anti-feminist. Cinderella seems to belong to a bygone world of ball gowns, but for the past century, she has been modernized at least once a decade by the magic of television.
Our oldest database entry, not just for Cinderella but any tale type, is a silent, black-and-white cartoon produced by Disney in 1922. Read more... “Cinderella: the Modern Woman, 1922-1944”

Can Black Fairies and Mermaids Save the Remake Machine?

It’s no great secret that audiences are weary of live action remakes and reboots. If we measure the live action Disney age as starting in 2010 with the release of Alice in Wonderland, they’ve now been at it for ten years and show no signs of stopping. Read more... “Can Black Fairies and Mermaids Save the Remake Machine?”

Why You Miss Mushu So Much in the New Mulan

The new 2020 live action Mulan featured many departures from the 1998 animated version, but one stands out. Her trusty dragon friend, Mushu, has been axed, to the dismay of many fans. Mushu added a dash of comic relief to this children’s war film and filmmakers wanted a more serious tone for the live action reboot. Read more... “Why You Miss Mushu So Much in the New Mulan”

Four Secrets Allusions to The Ballad of Mulan in the Live Action Remake

Both the 1998 animated Mulan and the recent live-action remake draw from an ancient Chinese poem entitled The Ballad of Mulan. This poem is not as well-known to audiences as the European texts that serve as fairy tale fodder for other movies. Read more... “Four Secrets Allusions to The Ballad of Mulan in the Live Action Remake”

Drizella’s Revenge: Cinderella’s Stepsisters Step Out of the Shadows in Once Upon A Time

Ella Enchanted author Gail Carson Levine said of Cinderella’s Stepsisters, “If I had been around when “Cinderella” was first concocted, I would have argued against two stepsisters. We don’t need two! In the fairy tale they’re indistinguishable.”

Indeed they are. Groupings of three are common in fairy tales. Read more... “Drizella’s Revenge: Cinderella’s Stepsisters Step Out of the Shadows in Once Upon A Time”

Fairy Tale Feminism: Bring Back the Knights in Shining Armor

“Are there any men in this show?” my dad asked. He’d walked in on me watching a scene in season two of Once Upon A Time, where Emma, Snow White, Mulan, and Sleeping Beauty team up for adventures in the Enchanted Forest without a man in sight. Read more... “Fairy Tale Feminism: Bring Back the Knights in Shining Armor”

A Farewell to Charms: Looking Back from Once Upon A Time’s Final Season


After stretching on for seven years, 155 episodes, and roughly 9% of our database entries, Once Upon A Time finally bade viewers farewell this year. Jennifer Morrison, who plays Emma Swan, jumped ship at the end of season six,though not before marrying longtime-lover Captain Hook and giving CaptainSwan fans some closure. Read more... “A Farewell to Charms: Looking Back from Once Upon A Time’s Final Season”