We are delighted to report the latest publication from PhD student Hannah Helm (formerly Hannah Bury) — a book chapter in the collection Gender and Female Villains in 21st Century Fairy Tale Narratives (Emerald Insight) entitled ‘Maimed Wings and Broken Hearts: Physical Disability, Social Exclusion and Maternal Love in Disney’s Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’.
You can find out more about the collection here.
You can find out more about Hannah’s chapter here.
Here is the abstract of the chapter:
This chapter argues that Maleficent’s physical difference and social exclusion can be analysed as disabling rather than villainous trajectories in Maleficent (2014) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019). I explore how Maleficent is (re)represented in the twenty-first century as a more sympathetic figure who contends with disability and social prejudice in her attempt to form meaningful connections with others. I analyse Maleficent’s ‘villainous’ traits using Feminist Disability Studies (Garland-Thomson, 1997, 2017; Wendell, 1989) to argue that her physical and cultural differences invite hostility from the human kingdom, especially in relation to her maternal connection with Aurora. While critics have examined themes of disability and motherhood in Maleficent (Donnelly, 2016; Wehler, 2019), I argue that these narratives are continued and subverted further in the sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019). In re-visioning Maleficent in this way, it becomes possible to challenge narratives of female villainy by paying attention to physical disability, social exclusion and maternal love.