Damsel in Distress or Princess in Power? Traditional Masculinity and Femininity in Young Adult Novelizations of Cinderella and the Effects on Agency
Retellings of classic fairy tales have become increasingly popular in the past decade, but little research has been done on the novelizations written for a young adult (YA) audience. Critical multicultural analysis determining the effect of race, gender, disability, and more has been completed for both original fairy tale retellings and fairy tale retellings for children, but scholars have neglected popular YA novelizations. This study aims to determine how traditional masculinity and femininity affect agency in both male and female characters in YA novelizations of Cinderella. To examine the role of traditional masculinity and femininity in young adult novelizations of Cinderella, a qualitative study was designed to look at the five main archetypal characters of Cinderella, the prince, the stepmother and stepsisters, and the fairy godmother. The study used critical multicultural analysis as defined by Botelho & Rudman (2009) to examine uses of agency and other utilization of power from the characters, and the Bem Sex Role Inventory (1974) was employed to determine traditionally masculine and feminine traits exhibited by characters. Each novel was analyzed on an individual level to determine how traditional masculinity and femininity affected the agency of the characters, after the books were examined on a broader level to establish themes found across the selection. The general trend seemed to indicate that traditionally feminine traits hinder the agency of female characters while affecting male characters less or not at all. The analysis is followed by a discussion about the implications for both educators and readers of young adult literature.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Carling, Rylee, "Damsel in Distress or Princess in Power? Traditional Masculinity and Femininity in Young Adult Novelizations of Cinderella and the Effects on Agency" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8758.
critical multiculturalism, critical multicultural analysis, fairy tales, young adult literature