Mediating Bodies: Representing Femininity in Contemporary Young People’s Fairy-Tale Adaptations

Emma Whatman Lecture Poster

CRYTC is pleased to host “Mediating Bodies: Representing Femininity in Contemporary Young People’s Fairy-Tale Adaptations” a public lecture by Emma Whatman on November 18 from 12:30PM to 1:20PM in Room 3C30.

This talk examines fairy-tale adaptations for young people and investigates how medium, and medium-specific conventions impact on how female identities, bodies, and sexualities are represented in adaptations of “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Cinderella” across a variety of media. For the purpose of this talk, Emma Whatman will speak to new media applications and comic books. She argues that new media applications that adapt fairy-tale princess narratives promote problematic gender and beauty ideologies for implied young female users. In contrast, the second part of this talk will address how the same fairy-tale narratives are adapted to the comic-book medium in DC Vertigo’s series Fairest. In particular, she investigates how females are represented and characterised in relation to toughness, sexualisation and postfeminist subjectivities. This presentation questions if through the comics medium these characters are able to have control and agency, or if they revert to being fetishized objects of the male gaze under the guise of postfeminism.

Emma Whatman is a PhD candidate and sessional tutor at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on representations of female embodiment and subjectivity in contemporary fairy tale adaptations for young people across multiple media. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures at the University of Winnipeg where she is teaching a course around her research. She completed her BA (Hons) in 2012 and was awarded First Class Honours.