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Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space

"Unlearning ableism requires hard reflections on childhood stories that contribute to everyday harm toward disabled people. I hadn't initially considered fairy tales a part of this, but thinking about it made it clear — fast — how they use their "lessons" to implicitly teach dangerous ableist morals at an impressionable age. What Disfigured does so well is unpack the fairy tale narratives we grew up with, examining how these moralistic stories shape the ableist systems and mindsets pitted against disabled people's very existence. What makes the book even more necessary is how it analyzes personal narrative as its own form of childhood tale, considering how an ableist society's words toward disabled people at a young age linger with them just as much as the fairy tales they were raised on."

Nat M.

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Author Amanda Leduc
Publisher Exploded Views
Publication Date 2020-03-03
Section Sociology / All Staff Suggestions / Non-Fiction Suggestions / Nat M.
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9781552453957

Challenges the ableism of fairy tales and offers new ways to celebrate the magic of all bodies.In fairy tales, happy endings are the norm - as long as you're beautiful and walk on two legs. After all, the ogre never gets the princess. And since fairy tales are the foundational myths of our culture, how can a girl with a disability ever think she'll have a happy ending? By examining the ways that fairy tales have shaped our expectations of disability, Disfigured will point the way toward a new world where disability is no longer a punishment or impediment but operates, instead, as a way of centering a protagonist and helping them to cement their own place in a story, and from there, the world. Through the book, Leduc ruminates on the connections we make between fairy tale archetypes - the beautiful princess, the glass slipper, the maiden with long hair lost in the tower - and tries to make sense of them through a twenty-first-century disablist lens. From examinations of disability in tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen through to modern interpretations ranging from Disney to Angela Carter, and the fight for disabled representation in today's media, Leduc connects the fight for disability justice to the growth of modern, magical stories, and argues for increased awareness and acceptance of that which is other - helping us to see and celebrate the magic inherent in different bodies.  

Fairy tales shape how we see the world, so what happens when you identify more with the Beast than Beauty?

If every disabled character is mocked and mistreated, how does the Beast ever imagine a happily-ever-after? Amanda Leduc looks at fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm to Disney, showing us how they influence our expectations and behaviour and linking the quest for disability rights to new kinds of stories that celebrate difference. 

"Leduc persuasively illustrates the power of stories to affect reality in this painstakingly researched and provocative study that invites us to consider our favorite folktales from another angle." —Sara Shreve, Library Journal  

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