Of Boys and Fear: Masculinity in “The Youth Who Wanted to Learn What Fear Is” (ATU 326)

Ainjel Stephens (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

While femininity in fairy tales has been a fruitful avenue for folklore scholarship, there has been minimal scholarly interest in the role of masculinity in magic tales. ATU 326, The Youth Who Wanted to Learn What Fear Is, is a largely non-canonical tale, yet this tale has been of importance to young queer men through its ambiguous ending that makes strange its hero’s masculine performance. Through a queer theory lens, ATU 326 expresses the vulnerabilities and anxieties that hegemonic masculinity enforces upon men and offers transgressive possibility that counters and complicates “straight” readings of fairy tale masculinity.

Part of 01-01 Revisiting the Fairy Tale, Thursday, November 02, 8:30 am–10:00 am