Telling fairy tales to young ones used to worry me. Should we teach that all a girl needs in life is to find a Prince Charming to make them happy? Should we teach them that the beautiful are rewarded, and the ugly are happy only if transformed? Barbara Walker seems to believe that the only hope is to replace fairy tales with something much less offensive - rewritten "feminist fairy tales".
In the pages of her book we find rewritings called "Ugly and the Beast", "Little White Riding Hood" and "The Frog Princess". Unfortunately, they're all a bit laboured - the women are strong and ugly, but very, very predictable (although I still don't understand why Jill, now of beanstalk fame, travels to the "womb" of the earth and steals some new age crystals".
Walker lectures heavily, leaving no stone unturned - there is no elegant story-spinning here. If you want to read some true feminist fairy tales, leave Walker behind, leave Disney behind and get back to the originals. Read the real Brothers Grimm, read Angela Carter and Marina Warner's collections, read Italo Calvino, and Jacques Perrault. Many of these tales were feminist as originals, and it is only the later versions that have become saccharin-sweet.