I figured I’d start with the earliest princess. Snow White was the first Disney feature-length princess film. Now, people generally bash Snow White because she is a ditzy homemaker whose most important quality is her beauty. She’s charming, simple and domesticated. She falls in love upon first glance and the evil woman is defeated. Disgustingly cliche, right?
Enter a new look:
Snow White, the threat to the Evil Queen’s power. The Queen’s control comes from her beauty because people never suspect the pretty people, but if there’s someone more beautiful and nicer, she’ll be overthrown. So she kicks out Snow White. Snow White is alone in the forest and knows she can’t possibly take care of herself out there, she simply doesn’t have the skill set required. When the huntsman catches her she bats her eyes and he lets her go. When the dwarfs find her in their home, they let her stay. Why to both? Because Snow White did have one skill set: feminine charm. If Snow White had been anything but a sweet, innocent doll, the Huntsman might’ve killed her. If she hadn’t offered her service in exchange for room and board, she might’ve been eaten by something less friendly than a squirrel.
Yes, Snow White is the perfect little housewife but it was 1937, the Depression. Imagine the childish hope she represented. This evilness has chased you out of your home and attempted to kill you but in the end you come out with even better circumstances than before! Not to mention- it was the 1930s! Women were spinsters at 25, a husband was a goal. She embodied the ideal woman of the time. You want to make her work for a modern girl? Do what my mother did! “Don’t ever be Snow White,” she’d say, “don’t be that domestic 1950s woman. Do use what God gave you to your advantage.” Basically, she encouraged me to see Snow White as the ultimate manipulator. She got a free pass from the huntsman, free living from the Dwarfs and a sweet palace from a dude who thought she was the most gorgeous thing on the planet. You can be all “high and mighty” about using feminine whiles all you want, but it works.
- Love, Selene