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Damsels no longer in distress
Activity 3

Damsels no longer in distress

Group 1: The problem with Disney

Keira Knightley, 2014.

Group 2: Queen Madalena

“Why You Should Be Watching Galavant”, Michelle Villanueva, 2017.

Madalena is ostensibly the evil queen, but unlike the Disney trope, she’s a character who stands on her own. She doesn’t exist just to be the antagonist. [...] Her ambitious nature outshines that of her spouse / kidnapper, King Richard, to the point where she begins to call the shots in the kingdom without any input from her hubby. [...] But she’s still depicted as being capable of love. She’s actually a complex character with complex motivations, and while she’s obviously terrible, she earns sympathy.

“Why You Should Be Watching Galavant”, Michelle Villanueva, 2017.

Group 3: Interview with Mallory Jansen

The wedding scene from the TV series Galavant

Group 4: Princess Isabella

“Why You Should Be Watching Galavant”, Michelle Villanueva, 2017.

Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elisabetta -Isabella for short- is a young woman of color and heir to the kingdom of Valencia. She describes herself as “small and cute and ethnically hard to pin down.” [...] Her life is dictated by her loyalty to her family and her kingdom as she strives to save her parents from the clutches of King Richard. She’s also “all about the deconstruction of the princess trope,” which isn’t just lip service to feminism. She’s shown as a capable fighter. She holds her own in battle. She singlehandedly tries to rouse a volunteer army (armed with pots and pitchforks) to fight in the Season 2 finale.

“Why You Should Be Watching Galavant”, Michelle Villanueva, 2017.

Princess Isabella from the series Galavant, by 
Dan Fogelman, 2015.

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You are in charge of a group of documents.

Workbook p. 104

Look at the picture and the title. What do you expect to hear / read?

Group 1
a. Watch the video. What does she think of the films and the stories she mentions?

Group 2
b. Read the text. Focus on the female character, explain what her role in the TV series is.

Group 3
c. Watch the video. How does Madalena break away from stereotypes?

Group 4
d. Read the text. Focus on the female character, explain what her role in the TV series is.

Choose three adjectives you would use to describe your female character or celebrity and justify: ambitious, shy, brave, fragile, manipulative, independent, weak, strong-willed, determined, bold, courageous, strong.

How are female characters presented? What kind of stereotypes do they convey? Or fight against?

Let's talk this out!

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Share your findings with your classmates and learn about the other documents.

What are the similarities and the differences between them all?

Which one do you prefer? Why?

a. Explain the contrast between the female characters represented and the impact they could have on the audience.

b. Discuss how modern adaptations change the representation of gender roles and why this matters for future generations.

Which classic scene from a traditional fairy tale would you like to see rewritten? Why?

Useful vocabulary: Usually, female characters are depicted as…
What struck me while watching / reading is…
I would like… It would be rather interesting to...


  • chivalrous (adj.)
  • powerful (adj.)
  • rebellious /rɪˈbɛlɪəs/ (adj.)
  • unexpected (adj.)
  • heroine (n.)
  • narrative / story (n.)
  • plot twist (n.)
  • trope /ˈtrəʊp/ (n.)
  • be empowered (v.)
  • complain (v.)
  • expect /ɪkˈspɛkt/ (v.)
  • stand up for oneself (v.)

From French to English


La traduction de « en fait »

Exercices p. 218

  • Pour renforcer quelque chose qui a été dit : in fact.
  • Pour corriger une information, introduire une mauvaise nouvelle : actually. actuellement = currently

  • Ex : Madalena actually chose King Richard.
    She was in fact not interested / in love.
    She is currently the Queen.

    Let's learn!

    Spelling bee contest

  • Select five words from the chapter and get ready to spell them.
  • In groups of four, pick one word in turn and spell the word. 1 correct spelling = 1 point.

  • Over to you!

    Podcast it!

    Let’s use what you have learnt in !

    You prepare a podcast to talk about the story of a female character in a fairy-tale-inspired series or film you have just watched. Explain why you consider her to be strong. Comment on the male characters around her and how they contribute to make her strong.

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