Disney Princess in the Light of Queens—Part 1: Snow White
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There are so many Disney movie reviews and theories out there that we all think we know what our favorite stories are truly about. But looking at it in an empowering perspective, may teach us lessons for our daily lives and how to over come struggles we face. So starts are DISNEY PRINCESSES IN THE LIGHT OF QUEENS series. Let's start off with one of the first ever Disney Princess movies—Snow White.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs depicts a young child born into royalty whose skin is "as white as snow." Being the ideal image of beauty at the time, and the perfect personality; caring, nurturing, talented in home economics, etc; Snow White is depicted as the main character (although her own role in the movie is limited). The Evil Queen is jealous of her beauty (AKA. Disney step mom syndrome) and decides to hire a hunter to kill her. The hunter leads Snow white into the forest and finds himself unable to kill this perfect image of a women and decides to kill an animal to take the heart back to the Queen and let the girl live in the forest in hiding for the rest of her life. She finds herself letting herself into the dwarf's home (breaking and entering seems to be a recurring theme in Disney as well) and for some odd reason (because she is beautiful???) is given a place to stay as long as she does her part by doing the house chores for the dwarfs. The Evil Queen finds out, poison apple, handsome prince, true loves kiss, and happily ever after. But why is this a good story for young girls to be inspired by? Well if you watch any YouTube videos on the topic you will learn that at the time of the making of this movie, this was the ideal image society had of women, and this is what was expected of them and if you see the more recent movies, that image has changed drastically and now represents the women of today—strong, challenging, unwavering, independent, etc. But were the princesses of the past really as one dimensional as people think?
If you remember, the seven dwarfs each had a name of an emotion except for two (Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy) which may as well be due to the writers not thinking other emotions would be appropriate to depict in a children's movie. I believe this is due to the fact that in reality the seven dwarfs represent Snow White herself and the emotions she suppresses within herself as it is not "ladylike" for the world to see those aspects of yourself. This in turn would mean that the "Evil Queen" actually represents the struggles Snow White faced—the problems she chose to run away from. Which would make the hunter the representation of her choice to run from her problems rather than let them destroy her.
In the scene where snow white does the house chores while the dwarfs go mining, you can think of it as her doing what is expected of her in society and the emotions breaking down the walls of suppression in an effort to get out. When the Evil Queen comes and gives her the poison apple it represents the problems she had hidden from coming back in unexpected ways and coming back ten times worse. The death like sleep then representing a slip into depression or helplessness with an inability to get out of a trap within oneself.
When the prince comes to give her the "true loves kiss" to save her, we can only assume that this is the representation of clinging on to the small glimmer of hope—loved ones, passion, dreams, goals, etc—to pull yourself out of the darkness you fell into.
When the movie is viewed in this perspective, Snow White actually has many layers to her and it explains why such a one dimensional character would be the lead of the movie. We then understand that Disney movies aren't meant to be just watched, but be a source of discussion with the young children these movies are directed towards to depict the meanings and life lessons represented.
With Snow White, we learn that running from our problems only makes things worse, it is better to sit and critically think through them and face those problems head on (as the princesses in the newer movies do). We learn that suppressing our emotions doesn't help us but hurts us in the long run, it is better to express our emotions and work through them rather than let them build up 'til we break. Finally, we learn that it is never too late to overcome the problem and that there will always be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, we just have to find it. My own glimmer of light is my writing, it helps me work through my problems, thoughts, fears, etc. Empowering others helps me empower myself.
So what is your Prince Charming in your life? What does your glimmer of hope look like and how will you make sure you will hold on to it?