Volume 19, Issue 1
The Rainbow Issue
Fairy tales have always struck me as an inherently queer art form—though I guess that depends on one’s definition of queerness. I think of the writer and activist bell hooks who, in a conversation at Eugene Lang College in 2014, defined queerness as “the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.” What I love most about hooks’s definition is that the emphasis is not on a self
that needs to be invented, created, or found, but rather a place
in which the queer self can be accommodated. Fairy tales, with their intuitive logic and normalized magic, have always been at odds with a certain school of literary realism, and yet I would argue they remain humanity’s longest-standing storytelling tradition precisely because of their ability to render lived human experience despite their apparent detachment from reality. They are both themselves queer and
a place where queerness can speak and thrive and live.