Introduction to the Analysis of Gender in the ATU 514 Fairy Tale Type on Examples from the Balkans
Uvod v analizo spola junakinje pravljičnega tipa ATU 514 na primerih iz Balkana

Maja Pan



Not surprisingly, from the aspect of feminist and queer critique, the fairy tale turns out to be a non-moralising yet strongly standardised embodiment of the social and cultural morals themselves. This type of fairy tale acts in favour of the ideological conception that the marriage of man and woman is rightful only because of their sex, but not because they have won each other, i.e. the prize, in the course of the fairy tale’s events. Even more so, the heroine becomes deprived of any agency over her sex and sexuality. We are led to believe that the fairy tale acts restitutively as it resolves the relationship between the protagonist and the princess on two levels: first by sacrificing the protagonist’s sex in favour of “promotion” to the male sex, by which it morally justifies the next move: the re-establishment of the structural male-female couple, thus – another “blessing in disguise” – eliminating the lesbian relationship that was produced this way, to finally remake it into a normative fairy tale as well as a social ideal. Rather than looking for an interpretative key to change the sex fairy-tale type, we approach it genealogically to explain and analyse gender construction from essentialisation, naturalisation and gender performativness.


fairy tale type ATU 514; gender change; post-structural analysis; queer; feminism; philosophy of gender

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