“How Lucky You Are Never to Know What It Is to Grow Old”—Witch as Fourth-Wave Feminist Monster in Contemporary Fantasy Film

Emneord (Nøkkelord): heks, eventyrfilm, fantasyfilm, monster, kjønn, den fjerde bølgen, ageism, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Maleficent (2014)

Sammendrag

This article focuses on the figure of an aging and powerful witch pitted against younger women in three contemporary fairy-tale movie adaptations: Snow White and the Huntsman (dir. Rupert Sanders, 2012), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (dir. Tommy Wirkola, 2013), and Maleficent (dir. Robert Stromberg, 2014). Each film transforms the aging witch from stock villain to a more nuanced character. This revision is intriguing for its concern with power and gender and for a reflection of contemporary debates about age and power within so-called wave feminism. The article uses two frames. The first is feminism and ageism, focusing on wave feminism and aging, and the second is the trope of the witch, drawing from fairy-tale studies, social history, and social anthropology. The article reads conflict between an aging witch and a young woman as a clash of feminist waves, and the witch’s ‘monstrosity’ as her refusal to be sidelined in a world obsessed with youth.

Forfatterbiografi

Rikke Schubart, Syddansk Universitet

lectures at the University of Southern Denmark. Her research is on emotions, gender, and the fantastic. Recent publications are Mastering Fear: Women, Emotions, and Contemporary Horror (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Women of Ice and Fire: Gender, Game of Thrones, and Multiple Gender Engagements (Bloomsbury, 2016; with Anne Gjelsvik). She recently published an article on Gal Gadot and Wonder Woman in Continuum and co-edited the special issue 33:2 on women in the transmedia fantastic. She is director of the network ‘Imagining the Impossible—The Fantastic as Media Entertainment and Play’.

Takksigelse: The author wants to thank the anonymous peer reviewers for their helpful comments to an earlier draft of this article. Thanks to the San Cataldo Society for the grant to stay two weeks at the San Cataldo monastery, where I wrote the first draft of this article.

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Schubart’s contribution is part of MaMo—Section 2.
Publisert
2019-11-11
Hvordan referere
Schubart, Rikke. 2019. «“How Lucky You Are Never to Know What It Is to Grow Old”—Witch As Fourth-Wave Feminist Monster in Contemporary Fantasy Film». Nordlit, nr. 42 (november), 191–206. https://doi.org/10.7557/13.5012.