JoAnn Conrad


The sediments of classic fairy tales continue to be imbricated in contemporary discourses of gender, power, and consumption, reflecting and shaping deeper ideological tendencies. Nowhere is this more emphatically presented than in women’s magazines and tabloids. This article analyzes the news and tabloid presentation of the stories of JonBenet Ramsey and Princess Diana in the larger context of narratives about fairy-tale princesses, arguing that in order to understand the pervasiveness of the images of JonBenet and Diana, we must locate them within the nexus of traditional fairy-tale princess narratives, the social construction of gender, and the historical trajectory of women’s magazines in their visual ordering of femininity and female desire.