Vigilante Feminism: Revising Trauma, Abduction, and Assault in American Fairy-Tale Revisions

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Published in: Marvels & Tales, vol. 31, no.2, 2017


I read “vigilante feminism” in three recent American fairy-tale revisions: the films Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) and the young adult novel Sisters Red (2010). Vigilante feminism, as I use the term, applies specifically to the performance of vigilantism by girls and women who have undertaken their own protection, and the protection of others, against violence (such as sexual assault, abduction, abuse, and trauma), because they have been otherwise failed in that manner. Vigilante feminist characters are represented in contemporary American fairy-tale revisions across television, film, literature, and comics. It is, in fact, the ubiquity of the character type across genres that makes it especially relevant to feminism and popular culture.