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Update: Once Upon a Time creators Edward Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis confirmed on February 6, 2018 that the show will end with season 7.
With details coming out left and right about the upcoming seventh season of Once Upon a Time — which has pretty much officially been deemed a reboot — I feel this innate need to pay homage to a show that’s not only one of my absolute favorites, but one that I dare to say is one of the most feminist shows created to date.
Once Upon a Time took our most beloved, albeit incredibly sexist and outdated fairy tales and replaced the Disney princesses we know with strong, fierce heroines. The frail Snow White we’ve seen singing to birds since 1937 was suddenly hitting Prince Charming over the head with a rock and correcting him for calling her a “girl.” The Evil Queen we feared as children suddenly became everyone’s favorite character, whose journey involved learning that her happy ending included loving herself instead of seeking revenge on another woman.
And then there’s Emma Swan, my true reason for writing this. Emma Swan is not only a “feminist” character; she is the most beautifully complex feminist character I’ve ever witnessed in fictional history. When she first appeared on our screens in 2011, we see her — like her mother — correcting a man when he calls her a “bail bondsman” (it’s bail bondsperson, in case you can’t remember) and chasing him down to arrest him — in a dress and heels. From the very first episode, the creators of Once Upon a Time have made their feminist statement: You can’t, and shouldn’t, put women in a box.