Fairy Tales 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sexuality in the Modern Fairy Tale

Both the Fables series and the Into the Woods production have modernized the fairy tales we have been learning about. The creators of both adaptations have chosen to make the allusions to fairy tales obvious while still inserting their own artistic voice into the final product. There are certain obvious modernizations in each version: Snow White talking about her divorce in Fables and the narrator making side comments to the audience about the improbability of certain plot lines in Into the Woods. However, while I was looking at these two modern fairy tales, it was the sexuality that struck me most fiercely. As we have discussed, many of these tales were devoid of obvious sexuality. While it may have been insinuated, it was never outright stated. The modern adapters are not so prude. In fables there are multiple comic sex scenes, complete with the woman's feet thrown up in the air and wrapped in sheets whilst in bed. The approach to sex may have been most shocking in Into the Woods. The wolf, who is admittedly the most threatening sexual character in the Grimms' stories, is taken to a new level. In Into the Woods, the wolf took the time to put on his socks and jacket, but unfortunately forgot the undies. During his entire scene with LRR he was bouncing around with his "junk" flopping to the rhythm. I don't know that Soderheim could have made this threat anymore obvious without tearing across the line of obscenity. Also of note, the wolf's phallus is not a wolf phallus. It is a human appendage, just slightly grayer and hairier. The modern audience is more tolerant of, and expects more sexuality in their entertainment. The creators push the boundaries because that is what the consumers want; something shocking and memorable.


  1. I definitely noticed the sexuality in Fables, I mean how can you not? My favorite moments are Pinnochio's "I wana get laid!" cry and Rose Red's sex scene. Turn to the page that you described with her feet in the air and look at the left of the door. There are two young girls at the door listening!!!

  2. I would tend to agree. Its not even so much a case of "sex sells" as that society as a whole has just become so sexualized that we almost expect some level of "blatant" sexuality in media. Hell most comedy these days, at least that not driven solely by racial stereotypes, is sexualized. Some view this change as bad, some view it as progress, but the simple fact is that society HAS changed. Old fairy tales had to insinuate sexuality. Today it is straight-up blatant, sometimes even bordering on over-done.