Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Modern Feminist Fables

I just woke up and was thinking about this, so if this is incoherent, blame the general lack of coffee.

I've been reading through Bill Willingham's Fables in preparation for writing my thesis (which I'll start working on, really, once I finish the lit. review. One day.) Marking places that I want to go back to, to discuss, or just noting important characters whose fairy tales I don't know. But one page threw me off. In the 4th trade book, "March of the Wooden Soldiers," Snow White is pregnant. She goes in to talk to Dr. Swineheart (anyone know what he's from? Grimm's "Three Surgeons," maybe?) to make sure the pregnancy is progressing smoothly and whatnot. It is.

Fine. But here's what threw me off. She has made extremely clear to both the doctor and everyone else she's talked to that she is unhappy about it. She doesn't like the father (at least, not consistently). She is insanely busy running a town. The pregnancy is arguably a product of rape: both her and the father were drugged, unwillingly had sex, and he later lied to her about the sex until she found out she was pregnant. Dr. Swineheart's response is something along the lines of "We live in the 21st century now. There are things that you can do if you don't want this pregnancy."

They're in New York City. They've been there through major political and social movements. In almost every other way they've kept up with what's been going on in the world around them--using computers, changing laws about slavery and child-selling, etc. So why is Snow White's response to Swineheart's comment threatening to fire him? She hates that she's pregnant. She watched the women's movements, if not participated in them (not specifically indicated in the books, but they were at least aware of what was happening around them.) But won't even hear the suggestion of abortion.

Now, for a fairly progressive comic book series, this seems like a weird choice by other author. Because that's what's at issue. Her choice. She doesn't think about it, she doesn't choose not to have an abortion. She spouts off something about "duty and responsibilities" and more-or-less willfully buys into the female roles she's otherwise wholly shirked. I mean, she divorced Prince Charming many many centuries before No-Fault Divorce existed. She works in the most powerful position in Fabletown (which, at the point this page occurs, it's been twice implied that she won't for long, in part due to the pregnancy.) These are not religious Fables. Is her reaction to the suggestion indicative that she hasn't really changed, at least in this one way, or that the author has some personal message he's spouting through Snow White's mouth? Something to figure out before I start writing.

No comments:

Post a Comment