Good Example Of Snow White Beyond The Fairy Tale Essay
For many centuries, Snow White was inculcated in the minds of children. It is a fairy tale that almost all parents have read during bedtime to their children. It is a story of a princess who was poisoned by her step mother by making her eat a poisoned apple. It was a witchcraft that can only be broke by a kiss of a prince who loves her genuinely. The prince came to the lair of the seven dwarves and kisses the princess. She woke up and they lived happily ever after.
The story become more popular when Walt Disney put turned it into motion picture. It was played in the early 1930s in animation, and it was meant for children. Today however, there are a lot of versions. There are already countless movies inspired by the short story and some are not only meant for kids but even adults. It has become a common knowledge to people of all ages across the globe.
In the more recent decades, critiques have started to be floated especially from the feminist groups. The story has reinforced how women are viewed by the society. Like the character of Snow White, women had to be pretty, frail, and submissive. Moreover, it shaped people’s standard of what a perfect family should be. This is in the portrayal of the Snow White’s step mother who was evil. It set a mind-set among children that step mothers are not good. In short, the story reinforced a patriarchal system and disempowerment of women.
Feminist literary criticism according to Linda Napikosky, a women’s history expert, feminist literary criticism sees literatures in the perspective of feminist theories. One of which is debunking the feminine representation of women which are mainly for the consumption of men. Feminist literary critiques denounce the portrayal of women as properties of men. Feminist theories mainly aim for equality in terms of gender, politics and economy.
Snow White according to Feminist Fiction is presented as an epitome of passivity. She portrays the patriarchal character of a woman who sings, sweeps and does other domestic works while waiting for her prince charming to alleviate her from her sufferings. In the short story and in the movie, Snow White always screams when she fears something. She spins and dances gracefully and was illustrated in a way that captures the physique of a perfect woman according to the society. She is slim, with porcelain white complexion, and has a small face with pointy nose and pouty lips.
The descriptions of the main character indeed reinforced until today how young women view their selves and how society perpetually considers women as passive and submissive. A woman who does not look and act like Snow White are considered ugly. Moreover, her most coveted skin complexion in the story reinforced the society’s standard that everything white is beautiful. Today in Asia and other parts of the world that has a dark skinned population women dream of whitening their skins. They now turned to medicines, cosmetics and even surgeries just to achieve the perfect beauty that Snow White portrays.
Snow White’s passive character bred women disempowerment leading to violence against women. For example, the standard women are meek and dependent to men especially in terms of economic issues. The traditional women marry and stay at home to care for her husband and her children. She does the domestic chores and patiently waits for her husband. Because the husband has the economic power, most of the time, he monopolizes the decision making inside the family. The wife is just there to support what her husband dictates and meekly submit. In a situation where the husband possesses the decision making and economic power, it usually results to wife battery when the husband deems that his wife is errant. Because women are taught to submit to their husbands, they keep their silence and it becomes a cycle.
In the middle of the 20th century, those who deviate from the roles of women face criticism and even stigma from the society. Working women especially in the United States was a rare case as women are compelled to stay at home. The elite women spend their time socializing with their co-elites and spend their money through endless shopping.
On the other hand, the story instilled to the minds of the youth that a perfect family consist of a mother, father and children. Having a step mother for that matter is something that is not accepted especially by the children. The character of Snow White’s step mother is a powerful image that portrays all step mothers as evil. This character is even replicated in other successive stories and movies.
Over all, Snow White is not a good story to be told and retold to children as it directs them of a patriarchal mind-set that the modern and progressive groups are trying to break. It is a disempowering story that sets a standard that women are a commodity for the consumption of men. Empowering stories that are denouncing patriarchy should be told to children to build an empowering future for women and girls.
Grimm, Jacob & Grimm, Wilhelm. “Little Snow-White.” University of Pittsburgh: Folklore and Mythology Electronic Text, 1857. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.
Napikoski, Linda. “Feminist Literary Criticism.” About Education: Women’s History. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.
O’Connor, Kate. “Feminist Approaches to Literature.” University of Oxford. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.