Fairy Godmothers!
September 27, 2013 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Which people, figures, deities, beings, etc personify the concept of the fairy godmother - a caring compassionate motherly figure who grants wishes? There's the fairytale stock character, but there's also Oprah (and to some extent Ellen).

Less fitting: Santa or genies - there's some sort of feminine energy I'm trying to tap into here.
posted by divabat to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:23 AM on September 27, 2013

The Virgin Mary
posted by drlith at 9:45 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The Virgin Mary grants wishes?
posted by divabat at 9:56 AM on September 27, 2013

Nanny McFee (sort of ish.)

Does Mary Poppins fit?
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:10 AM on September 27, 2013

No, the Blessed Virgin does not grant wishes.

To Catholics (and many others), however, she is staggeringly important and venerated for the maternal, caring and compassionate characteristics you mention above. Asking her, in prayer, to intercede on one's behalf before God is fairly standard Catholic piety. The understanding is, though, that although all prayers are answered, the answer may be "no."
posted by jquinby at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2013

Does it need to be a supernatural being, or is a slightly detached, wonderfully generous older relative allowable? Because favourite gay uncle has totally been a thing for my family, and for others I've observed - with various degrees of closeting within the family, depending on era.

Also, the Virgin May kinda grants wishes in that you can pray to her for things. Intercession, I believe is the technical Roman Catholic term.

On preview, no the Virgin doesn't officially 'grant wishes' as such, but popular understanding will go where it feels like.
posted by glasseyes at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2013

Not sure about the wish granting, but Kuan Yin for compassion?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:20 AM on September 27, 2013

Best answer: Does it have to be that specific wishes as wished for and granted, or can it be a caring compassionate woman who improves someone's life by giving them what they needed, whether or not they knew they needed it? In the case of Mary Poppins and Nanny McFee there weren't explicit "I wish" statements made, rather the people were in unhappy lives. Mary Poppins/Nanny McFee show up in their hour of need and their (magical) intervention makes their lives better.

Also, the owner of the record store where Molly Ringwald's character Andie works in the movie Pretty In Pink. She is caring, compassionate, a mother figure for her, and her gift of her old prom dress helps Andie make her dream prom dress (possibly the ugliest piece of clothing I have ever seen).
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:27 AM on September 27, 2013

Response by poster: She doesn't have to be supernatural (hence Oprah/Ellen) and I'm really looking for magical-gifting people, so while Kuan Yin is awesome she doesn't really fit the criteria. Mary Poppins and the record store owner sound good!

"Favourite gay uncle" is interesting - are there any concrete examples?
posted by divabat at 11:54 AM on September 27, 2013

Maybe Auntie Mame?
posted by Julnyes at 12:05 PM on September 27, 2013

Best answer: So, this might be counterintuitive, but when I read this question, Richard Simmons came almost immediately to mind.

I couldn't quite think why at first, at least not for the magical gifting part, but then when I checked his Wikipedia page, I see that he had a short-lived reality show in 1999 called "Dream Maker" where he did the whole making dreams come true thing. He would have been on Letterman talking it up a bunch at the time, so I think the association probably has soaked into the cultural consciousness to some extent.

And yeah, although I'm not sure he's actually known to be anybody's favorite gay uncle, I think he would work as an example of that archetype.
posted by KatlaDragon at 12:41 PM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Isis? Any of the Earth Mothers from different futures.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:00 PM on September 27, 2013

futures CULTURES!

damn autocorrect
posted by BlueHorse at 5:31 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hot damn! Here's a real fairy godmother! Carmen de la Rosa
and another Pam Phillip
and another Annette John-Hall
one more Joyce Jesko
Jenny, Robyn, and Baker: The women of the Lower East Side Girls Club

These qualify with more than a pretty dress:
Adoral Maxwell-Hazel
Jackie Viener
Andie McConnell
posted by BlueHorse at 6:04 PM on September 27, 2013

She's not motherly at all, but the goddess Athena in the Odyssey came to mind, given how she provides advice and supernatural help to Odysseus and Telemachus.
posted by bibliowench at 6:30 PM on September 27, 2013

Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett's Discworld - gives people what they need, not what they want.

(Can you tell I'm really skeptical of the whole idea? It just seems anyone near "real-life fairy godmother" comes with a catch, or only selects certain (types of) people, or whatever - they're always biased to flimsy white-girl wishes of material goods and celebrity and whatnot (and yes, I'm a white girl).)

I do love the theoretical idea of the doting, caring, giver-of-good-wishes-and-advice grandmother figure, though :)
posted by aletheianink at 10:25 PM on September 27, 2013

Sorry, didn't see your 'uncle' query till now - in kid's fiction there are lots of single uncles - and maiden aunts for that matter - who tend to be generous and fun and subtextually gay, I think - but what I was thinking of apart from my own uncle was a christmas advert for some department store here featuring featuring Simon Callow as the fairy god.....uncle. Can't find it on Youtube tho!
posted by glasseyes at 4:43 AM on September 30, 2013

The Grandmother character in The Princess and the Goblin, first published in 1872.
posted by alms at 7:18 AM on October 2, 2013

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