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Dragons with Eyelashes: Gender Representation in Shrek

Discuss the role of the female dragon character from the film Shrek (2001) and its sequels. Do the character’s unexpected gender and romantic relationship with Donkey effectively subvert the fairy tale genre’s tropes of monstrous (presumably male) dragons, or does her animated femininity – long eyelashes, red lips, mating instinct, etc – perpetuate patriarchal gender ideologies? How might this be related to other ways in which the film attempts to recast female archetypes, most prominently through the character of Fiona? Do these non-normative portrayals of female characters send better messages to young viewers than the standard fairy tale (or "Disney princess") representations?

  • Perhaps comparing it to another other female dragon might help this analysis, I am thinking of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty (1959.) Who also has the role of keeping the prince away from the princes. But unlike the Shrek dragon she looks complete masculine. – odettedesiena 8 years ago