I'm not sure when it started. I remember reading Ain't She Sweet? by Susan Elizabeth Phillips back around 2004. At first, I didn't think I could enjoy a book about a young woman, Sugar Beth Carey, spoiled and all round bitch (sorry) who returns to her hometown to face all the people she tormented. I wasn't a big fan of Scarlett O'Hara, so this didn't sound like my kind of book. Surprise! Susan made her sympathetic and redeemed her in the end. It is one of my favorite books.
Now, there seems to be a surge of formerly "bad" girls telling their story and explaining how they got a bad rap. For example, Wicked, the Musical. Who knew, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West was mistreated and completely misunderstood.
Maleficent is the iconic "evil witch" but she has her own movie telling the other side of the story. Oh, she started out good, then turned bad, then back to good. Confusing? Yeah, but it is a lot of fun.
So, what's next? Maybe we've become tired of the good girl heroines. Sort of like eating too much chocolate. Sweetness and perfection gets sickening after a while. Harlequin churned out hundreds of books about rich, but flawed bad boys and wide eyed, helpless secretaries. Lately, I've noticed their heroines are finally getting stronger and showing their teeth, too.
I like this trend. It shakes up our beliefs and makes us think. Maybe the ugly step-sisters had good reason for resenting Cinderella. Not everyone is born beautiful.