Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Wickedly Wicked Life of Women: From Classic Lit to Chick Lit

     While I’ve been working on a novel for NaNoWriMO, I’ve found myself doing research on evil mothers and evil women, in general in literature. What is it about fairy tales, fiction and chick lit that readers love a good female villain? Some people call them strong, diabolical or jealous and probably, most recently, “bitch” captures all these words into one modern meaning of the femme fatale. Just for fun, I thought I’d compile a liset of all the Evil Women who we love to hate (and some we’ve even grown to love) from Grimm’s Fairy Tales to contemporary Chick Lit:

Wicked Witch of the West - The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum

The Stepmother – Hansel & Gretel; Cinderella; Snow White all by Brothers Grimm

Maleficient – Sleeping Beauty by Phillip Margolin

Lady MacBeth – MacBeth by William Shakespeare

Goneril & Regan – King Lear by William Shakespeare

Nurse Ratched – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Corinne Dollanganger – Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Cruella de Vil ¬– 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Queen of Hearts – Alice in Wonderland ¬by Lewis Carroll

Miss Trunchbull – Matilda by Roald Dahl

Miranda Priestley – The Devil Wears of Prada by Lauren Weisberger*

Vivian Grant – Because She Can by Bridie Clark*

Mrs. X –The Nanny Diaries & The Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus*

Sidra DeSimon – How to Sleep with a Movie Star by Kristin Harmel*

*Chick Lit “Evil at Work” characters adapted from the Chick Lit Club, Retrieved at on November 19, 2010

     Fascinated by the concept of the evil female villain, myself, I am working on adding my own femme fatale to the growing list of chick lit antagonists. Taking key components from many varieties of the story of Cinderella and modern elements of chick lit and contemporary fiction, I hope one day Ms. Marguerite of The Cinderella Complex will one day make it on one of the lists. She is an evil woman, not unlike the evil stepmothers of preceding literature who antagonizes my leading heroine at every step of her journey to independence.

Who did I forget? Let me know. I’d love to hear it! Post your favorite evil women from chick lit or anywhere in the media.

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