Glass slippers, a fairy godmother, a ball, a prince, an evil stepfamily, and a poor girl known for sitting amongst the ashes: incarnations of the "Cinderella" fairy tale have resonated throughout the ages. Hidden between the lines of this fairy tale exists a history of fantasy about agency, power, and empowerment. This book examines twenty-first-century “Cinderella” adaptations that envision the classic tale in the twenty-first century through the lens of wokenesss by shifting rhetorical implications and self-reflexively granting different possibilities for protagonists. The contributors argue that the "Cinderella" archetype expands past traditional takes on the passive princess. From Sex and the City to Game of Thrones, from cyborg "Cinderellas" to Inglorious Basterds, contributors explore gender-bending and feminist adaptations, explorations of race and the body, and post-human and post-truth rewritings. The collection posits that contemporary “Cinderella” adaptations create a substantive cultural product that both inform and reflect a contemporary social zeitgeist.
Suzy Woltmann received her PhD in Literature from the University of California, San Diego, where she teaches literature and writing courses.
Preface: Cinderella and Wokeness by Suzy Woltmann
Part I: Girl Power: Feminist and Queer Readings
Chapter 1: Gen Z Cinder(f)ellas: Girl Powered Gender Adaptations in the A Cinderella Story Films by Sarah E. Maier and Jessica Raven
Chapter 2: "With this Shoe I Thee Wed”: Cinderella as Agent of the Backlash in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and Sex and the City (2008) by Aoileann Ni 'Eigeartaigh
Chapter 3: “Have Courage and be Kind”: The Emancipatory Potential of 21st Century Fairy Tale Adaptations of “Cinderella” by Svea Hundertmark
Chapter 4: Two Centuries of Queer Horizon: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella by Christine Case
Part II: (Re)Production: A Classic Tale Told Anew
Chapter 5: Queen of the Ashes: Daenerys Targaryen, Cinderella of the Apocalypse, and Her Mirror Prince, in Game of Thrones by Loraine Haywood
Chapter 6: Forgive me Mother for I have Sinned: Cinderella’s Stepmother meets Derrida’s Forgiveness by Brittany Eldridge
Chapter 7: Tiana Just Isn’t Woke: Reassessing the “Cinderella” Narrative in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog by Camille S. Alexander
Chapter 8: Predestination or the Rediscovery of Agency by Christian Jiminez
Chapter 9: Deaf Cinderella: The Construction of a Woke Cultural Identity by Carolina Alves Magaldi and Lucas Alves Mendes
Part III: Post-Human and Post-Truth Cinderellas
Chapter 10: Dragons, Magical Objects, and Posthuman Social Criticism: Rethinking the Cinderella Trope in Tui T. Sutherland’s The Lost Heir by Rachel L. Carazo
Chapter 11: Cyborg-erella: Marissa Meyer’s Cinder as a New Type of Other by Alexandra Lykissas
Chapter 12: Once Upon a Time in Occupied France: Inglourious Basterds, Cinderella and Post-Truth Politics by Ryan Habermeyer
Conclusion: A Postmodern Princess:Rhetorical Strategies of Contemporary “Cinderella” Adaptations by Suzy Woltmann
Woltmann has assembled an intriguing collection of essays that explore contemporary progressive and/or problematic adaptations of the Cinderella narrative. Using the perspective of “wokeness,” contributors describe how the characters and story lines of modern Cinderella-like tales (e.g., films such as The Devil Wears Prada, Sex and the City, The Princess and the Frog, Deaf Cinderella, The Lost Heir, Inglourious Basterds; television series such as Once upon a Time, Grimm, Game of Thrones) attempt to promote an awareness of female empowerment and social injustice and challenge canonical gendered scripts and expectations. Throughout, contributors also demonstrate how these tales offer novel portrayals of agency and forgiveness; reframe narratives about (step)families; reinforce problematic, regressive, and "un-woke" messages; espouse pro-, post-, and anti-feminist values; and make reference to past Cinderella-like texts (e.g., Chance the Rapper’s track “Zanies and Fools” makes reference to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1957 production of Cinderella—a production that, with its themes of longing, possibility, and fantasy, espouses queer orientations to time). A well-written and well-researched book for those interested in literature and popular culture, mythology and folklore, and how stories can inspire, or inhibit, cultural change. Highly recommended.
If you think you know the true Cinderella tale, forget it! Suzy Woltmann's collection of provocative and insightful essays, Woke Cinderella: Twenty-First-Century Adaptations, demonstrates that numerous writers and filmmakers have rewritten the classic Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm versions in unusual ways, revealing that Cinderella had many sides to her and was not really the wimp she seemed to be, wishing only to marry a prince. The essays in this volume have brought a 21st-century acumen to a story that deserves to be adapted over and over again.
Fans of the fairy tale surprised to discover woke Cinderella will enjoy delving into her feminist, queer, deaf, non-human animal, cyborg, and other postmodern manifestations in mainly American novels, films, and television. Unpromising characters from Disney and from mainstream Hollywood display their politically and culturally savvy wokeness, while apparently promising characters may fall short. Fairy-tale scholars will appreciate the diversity of examples and points of view, and their students will welcome the 21st-century subject matter.