The Myth Of The Snow White Beyond The Fairy Tale Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Women, Family, White, Snow, Fairy, Tale, Men, Children

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/11

For centuries the Snow White has been a favourite bed-time fairy tale for the children. The Snow White portrays a beautiful and innocent princess poisoned by her step mother by luring her to eat the magical apple, inducing deep sleep. The Snow White lies in a vegetative state and can only be restored back to consciousness, breaking the deep spell by the kiss of a prince who genuinely loves her. In keeping with the traditional happy ending fairy tales by pure coincidence or chance a prince steps into the cave of the seven dwarves and kisses the princess. His kiss breaks the dark spell and they live happily ever after (Grimm & Grimm, 484-489).
In the 1930s Walt Disney’s animated version of the fairy tale made Snow White one of the most popular children movies of all times. To date there are countless versions of the fairy tale and not all of them are meant for the children alone but for the adult audiences, as well, transforming the Snow White into a household icon all over the globe. During the recent times, however, feminist critics have relentlessly criticised the fairy tale the Snow White for perpetuating the negative stereotypical portrayal of women in popular literature that is chiefly for the consumption of men in a traditional male dominated patriarchal society. According to the feminists’ view the fairy tale presents women as unrealistically pretty, docile, submissive and in essence nothing more than mere objects of desire of men. The fairy tale of the Snow White reinforces prejudicial and stereotypical notions about the women and the womanhood in the western patriarchal civilization. Moreover, by identifying the step mother as evil, the male dominated popular literature shapes universal opinion about certain standards equating them with the happy, serene, and the perfect family life. In short, the fairy tale of the Snow White reiterates the customs and the behavioural norms associated with the essential patriarchal system with the disempowerment of women being an important ingredient. The revered feminist historian Linda Napikosky debunks the representation of women in popular literature which she believes is mainly for the consumption of men. Other feminist critics also denounce the portrayal of women as mere chattel and properties of men. The majority of feminist theories aim for equality of genders in the social, the political, and the economic contexts. According to the feminists the Snow White is the epitome of the proverbial, submissive damsel in distress passively waiting for her prince charming to save her. Both in the fairy tale and in the movies Snow White is presented as the perfect woman both physically and emotionally. In perfect accord with the patriarchal standards and the traditional norms and customs where the ideal woman is happy and content spending her time singing, dancing and performing other domestic chores while waiting for her husband. Times have changed but the patriarchal mind-set has not and even today those women who are docile and submissive are preferred and give precedence over women with non-traditional appearance, views and opinions. Furthermore, after enduring oppression and subjugation by the men, the majority of women obediently conform to the ideals and standards set for them. The women, who do not conform to the male standards of beauty and of conduct, in short the male perceptions and the female gender rules, are not considered desirable. In order to increase their appeal women have resorted to such extreme steps as having cosmetic surgeries and surgical transplants in order to appease the men and conform to the unrealistic and in some instances unethical standards (Napikosky, para.1-2).
It is a universal fact that men all over the globe prefer women who stay at home, give birth to and nurture children. Women who do not conform to these standards are considered headstrong and unfit life partners. In addition, women in most of the societies are the victims of domestic violence and abuse if they dare venture out of their homes to seek employment or dare to be economically independent. Women who deviate from the standard roles set for them by the men are ostracised by the male dominated societies they live in. The working women, especially in the United States and Europe are exceptions to the universal norm, as they are challenging the traditional views. Another important negative aspect of the fairy tale the Snow White is that a perfect family is supposed to be composed of a father, a mother, and the child or children. A step mother, as in the fairy tale, is evil and never a welcome entity in a perfect home. As a consequence of the influence of the stories like the Snow White step mothers are not easily accepted by the children. In conclusion, the Snow White is not at all a good story, especially if a new progressive generation without the typical patriarchal mind-set is to be groomed in the best interest of humanity. The male children must be taught to respect women and never to treat them as mere objects of desire. While the female children, of today, must be educated to make them economically independent and to help them throw-off the undesirable yoke of male hegemony. The stories like the Snow White set unrealistic standards for women must be replaced by tales that encourage women empowerment, on the one hand and denounce male domination, on the other (O’Connor, para.1-17).

Works Cited

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.

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