This is a Disney film without a single person of color.
First and foremost, this film perpetuates the belief that womenare out to get each other in terms of competing attractiveness and youth from the get go. A jealous, older, widowed step mother plots to murder her “beautiful” step daughter on the basis of a perceived threat. Not to mention the fact that a freaking mirror relayed the message to the queen that she is no longer the “fairest in the land.” This is a control tactic patriarchy uses against women. Oppression 101, make sure the oppressed groups do it to themselves.
Snow White is another princess that embodies the so called cult of womanhood. She is forgiving, kind, thin, attractive to men, gentle, nurturing, etc. (At the very least she is not blonde). This is truly an unfair standard for our young girls to ascribe to. Women are people and not 1 dimensional things. We have thoughts, feelings, passions, tempers, etc, and that’s what make us human. We’re quite complicated, but all humans are. So why are women constantly depicted as this one standard?
This film dabbles in the idea of “true love’s kiss” and finding a man. Which begs the question, is this story about women really about women, or is it about the men that save the women from each other? Also, if Snow White is really dead (or in a death like slumber), the prince, like, kisses a corpse? Gross…?
This is a cute video created by YouTube user AVByte that criticizes Disney’s princess stereotype. The princesses featured in the video (Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle) are lectured by Queen Elsa on their refusal to critically think about their story lines. Princesses such as Pocahontas, Mulan, and Merida are omitted, perhaps because their story line does not revolve around finding love but on other factors and AVByte’s criticism might not have held up.
This video exposes many of the problems that are prevalent within the older princess films. While progress has been made with films such as Frozen and Brave, old princess tropes are still prevalent and surround our young girls. Even though Snow White and Cinderella are older films, I grew up watching them and even though I am now in my twenties I still see young girls enjoying them. The presence of criticism such as this cutesy YouTube clip is uplifting, however, because videos such as this can spur discussion among mothers and their daughters about what being a girl and a woman means. And even newer Disney princess films such Tangled fall under this trope, with Rapunzel being saved from Mother Gothel by Flynn Rider and never given the chance to grow outside of someone else.
Girls need to recognize that they need to develop as themselves first, then worry about falling in love. Love is an incredible human emotion and should be experienced by everyone one way or another, either between siblings such as in Frozen, family such as in Brave, between friends, or between those in a consensual relationship. Dialogue such as this video needs to exist to bring light to the fact that men are not the be all and end all. While these older stories may center around the woman character, the real story is about finding and keeping a man. So are the stereotypical Disney princess movies really about women? ‘Cause it really seems to revolve around men.