Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)

Degree Level





Susan Marren

Committee Member

Danny Sexton

Second Committee Member

M. Keith Booker


Communication and the arts, Social sciences, Fairy tales, Gender, Prrincesses, Shrek


The tradition of fairy tales has evolved drastically over the past five hundred years. At the beginning of the 20th century, fairy tale cartoons became widely popular as an independent medium, as well as introductions to larger films. In 1937, Walt Disney started the tradition of fairy tale cinema with the release of Snow White. Since that time, Disney has released and re-released eleven princess fairy tale films. Critics and parents alike ridicule Disney for its depictions of women as submissive and subservient. Recent films have used fairy tale tropes, without referring to a specific classic tale, in order to ridicule and establish a new image of woman. By simply using the tropes of the tales, the new hybridization fairy tales attempt to rewrite the depiction of femininity as a whole, without the confines of a specific character. Despite the great strides that these films have made , there is still a persistent depiction of women as weak with a lack of agency. DreamWorks' creation of the Shrek quadrilogy provides an example to explore the progress of reworking female fairy tale stereotypes through Princess Fiona, Queen Lillian, Fairy Godmother, and other minor, female characters.