Kendra Reynolds


Ann Beattie asserts that “As a culture, we are fairly preoccupied with sleep” (Beattie 2002: 38), yet, this essay contests that, instead of being ‘preoccupied with sleep’, we as a culture are asleep. When Beattie states that “there is a period in one’s life when fortunate children, who do not yet understand the extent of their good fortune, really do sleep in this way” (Beattie 2002: 38), she unconsciously forms the basis of this essay’s contention that women of today certainly do not ‘understand the extent of their good fortune’ (good fortune being the feminist successes hitherto achieved). Thus, I illustrate how Sleeping Beauty provides the perfect metaphor for the sleep-like state of women’s liberation in the slumber of post-feminism. This essay uses post-feminist texts, such as Faludi’s Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women (1992) and Angela Mc Robbie’s The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change (2009), in conjunction with the main object of study in the form of Julia Leigh’s recent art-house adaptation Sleeping Beauty (2012), whilst making references to other relevant anti-tales where appropriate. It is questioned whether the work of humanizing the heroines and females in society has been in vain or, as a descendant of the fairy-tale genre, the anti-tale (as a subversive retelling) harbours an emancipating potential to disrupt comfortable illusions by confronting us with the problems inherent in our existing reality. In short, it questions the state of female identity in the twenty-first century and investigates whether anti-tales are an adequate weapon to prod a sleeping nation into action.

Author Biography

Kendra Reynolds is a first year Ph.D. student at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland researching modern and postmodern fairy tales/anti-tales in conjunction with gender theory. She explores the genre’s development in order to assess its role in, impact on, and what it tells us about, feminism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She also has an interest in the philosophical aspects of space, time, and bodies, with the two areas of interest often combining in her research.