Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

This author really evaluated the Disney portrayed version of Snow White. She describes the film as a “chock-a-block full of every negative Disney Princess stereotype you can imagine”. However this movie was made in 1937 and was intended for an adult audience only. And because of the era in which this movie was created, the author refers to Snow White as the epitome of goodness, which also seems to mean passivity as well. The author also points out the characteristics of Snow White that is clearly manipulated by the patriarchy of that time; Snow White can not do anything without being told. The only things that she can do without being told is to cook and clean.

I also find it interesting that the author was able to identify that Snow White has no real emotions of her own. I would never have been able to see that. But it is obvious that she is ashamed of her fear, partly because she expresses this feeling to her forest friends. The author also seems to describe her as an over delighted person, she responds to everything with delightful laughing.  She even points out how Snow White knew that her stepmother tried to kill her, but just brushes it off and gets on with her patriarchal domestication.

The author also points out two kinds of femininity and the two kinds of motherhood. One type being an older, jealous, selfish type. While the other being the young, and sweet purity that is Snow White.  Also, the author points out that even though she was such a young girl, Snow White became a mother to seven dwarfs. She took care of them and the house in which they all lived, giving the perfect picture of passive domesticity.

Ultimately the author, who is a feminist writer, was able to point out some if not all of the aspects that do not make this a feminist film. And as a result we are able to compare this version with the more recent versions. And this article can also help those who want to create newer versions to improve upon the patriarchal influenced details of Snow White.

By Shelbie Cornelius

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How Disney’s princesses reflect the evolution of modern-day women

This article explains how the animated Disney movies have evolved as time has gone by. The author indicates that the role of the female characters in Disney movies have evolved in a way that gives the female character more substance, and allows them to take charge. This type of change was mainly seen in films made in the 21st century, unlike the films made in the early 20th century (i.e. Snow White).

The author also explains how the newer disney versions of fairy tales are no longer about happy endings, and they are not love stories anymore. Instead these stories are more about the characters standing up for their independence and to not do as they are told. But it is because of these fairy tales and the time that they were made that they all send a unique message to the viewers. It also tells us about the culture in the time period of which these films were created.

By Shelbie Cornelius

A 21st Century ‘Snow White’ Amps Up a Fairy Tale

 

This article explains the way in which one of the newer live action versions of Snow White is different from that of Disney. This newer live action version is called Snow White and the Huntsman. A film that was produced in 2012, a very different time period from that of when Disney created their version. The author of this article explains how this film was made. And from reading it I was able to identify the evolution of production processes from the 1930s to present day.

This article includes excerpts from interviews the author had with the cast and the director and producers associated with the film. Rupert Sanders the films director said that “Fairy tales are a parable,… they teach us something about how to behave, about the human condition.” This helps us to realize the reason as to why the director wanted to take on this film. This director is also very different from Disney because Sanders took the time to talk with his team and the actors to see what he could do to improve the film. Unlike Disney when he just did what he wanted and everyone followed him.

The author also mentions how this film follows the Brother’s Grimm version as opposed to the disney version. And when watching this movie you can definitely see that this version is not like the Disney version at all. This version shows Snow White in a more feministic way. She takes control, she is brave, and she can do everything that men can do. Ultimately making this version a feminist one.

By Shelbie Cornelius

“THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN WALT DISNEY’S PRODUCTIONS IN THE STUDIO ERA” BY EMMA BÁLINT

This article helps us to realize that Snow White was portrayed as the women she was due to the era in which Disney created his version. The author notes that during the Disney Studio era even strong women characters were turned into stereotyped characters that accepted their passive and submissive roles that were nested in the male-dominated, heteronormative part of the era. In this era film reflected the social changes and cultural attitudes of the patriarchy. Therefore fairy tales ended up reflecting the “patriarchal symbolical order”. This order was based on the rigid notions of sexuality and gender of the early 20th century.

The author points out that Disney’s primary goal, like all other production companies, was to sell products associated with the production. Therefore he needed to appeal to both children and their parents, so he chose to incorporate the societal rules of the time into his films. Another aspect contributing to the passive roles of females in Disney films was The Production Code Administration (PCA). This administration had a strict list of things not to do and things to be careful of when filming a movie and determining its content. In 1930 the code represented moral principles and the highest ideals and morals of the time.

It seems that in order for Disney to be compliant with the code, Disney thrust his female characters into the unchangeable patriarchal realm. This realm contained notions of meritocracy and fate (men and women). The author claims that Snow White was the most significant heroine of the studio era claiming that she is helpless and in need of protection, but when it comes to the action portions of the film she is nowhere to be seen. This causes me to ask, how exactly does that make her a heroin?

Throughout this article the author also refers to some other authors to validate her points. Some of these other authors claim that on screen women do not actually represent women, but they are figures of the patriarchal unconscious. They validate this by giving evidence that Disney films were created by only men. This explains why disney female characters barely had any distinctive characteristics. Especially for Snow White, she is said to have a good moral sense and is a helpful and sympathetic character, but she has no will or aims of her own.

Then the author goes into discussing the dwarfs and how they are portrayed by Disney, and what the represent according to the patriarchy views. The author goes to explain how the dwarfs, even though they are men, are in fact children who are looking for a nurturing mother to take care of them. Which is how Snow White came to live with them. The author explains how they adored Snow White, but as soon as the prince came into the picture, all seven of them sank back into their “infantile roles”.

The author then starts to talk about the prince and how he is the real center of the movie. The author mentions how Disney associated himself with the prince mainly because he is the only one who can save Snow White. The author mentions how it is the privileged central male character whom the audience sees the film through. The author also mentions how Snow White is only in the center because she is the spectacle, and that she waits passively until she can fulfill her role at the end of the prince’s journey.

The author describes the many roles of Snow White as a masquerade, which is covering her lack of a strong personality. One of the authors sources claims that one of the main focuses of this film is the “domestication of women”, a role that allows Snow White to show her most distinctive qualities. One of these qualities is her ability to take charge. This quality is only applied to giving orders to her forest friends and to the dwarfs when they are not being cooperative. Another way in which the audience can see a change in Snow White is the way in which she matures throughout the film. The author claims that Snow White matured only because she lived with the dwarfs, and it was because of their guidance that she was able to reach the stage of maturity and understanding.

Ultimately, we need to remember that it was because of the time period in which the film was created that guided the character development of Snow White. The 1930s was a time of male domination and patriarchy. It was men who controlled everything while women just stood by and said nothing. Men had the final say, so that is why Snow White is portrayed as such a passive character, and as to why the Disney version is not feminist at all.

By Shelbie Cornelius

Exploring the True Origins of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

This article is interesting in part that it provides the history of Snow White and where the story may have originated. Many would assume, like i do, that fairy tales are just stories made up by the imagination of the creator, but it may have been proven that the story of Snow White may not be so fictional after all. In this article the author discusses how the story of Snow White may be based on the lives of real women. The author talks about how the story may have been based on the life of Margarete von Waldeck or the life of Maria Sophia von Erthal. Both women were born in two different centuries, but had very similar life events.

The first women that the author talks about is Margarete von Waldeck, who was a German countess who was born to Philip IV in 1533. It is reported that when Margarete was 16 years-old, she was forced by her stepmother, Katharina of Hatzfeld, to move away to Brussels. There she married Prince Philip II of Spain. With both her father and stepmother disapproving of the marriage, calling it a “political inconvenience”, Margarete unexpectedly and mysteriously died at the age of 21 by poison. It is said that her father orchestrated the killing, not the stepmother. Margarete never miraculously came back to life, and the dwarfs in Margaretes’ life are not mentioned. The author only notes that they did exist only because King Philip IV owned several mines in which children were employed. The working conditions were so bad that they either died at a young age or suffered from dwarfism and were referred to as “poor dwarfs”.

The story of Maria Sophia von Erthal, is also said to be the origin of the Snow White fairy tale. Maria was born in 1729, and was the daughter of a landowner, Prince Philipp Christoph von Erthal and his wife Baroness von Bettendorff. After Maria’s mother had died her father married Claudia Elisabeth Maria von Venningen, Countess of Reichenstein. She is rumored to have disliked her stepchildren. The author points out that the mirror was constructed in 1720 by the Mirror Manufacture of the Electorate of Mainz in Lohr, and is said to have been in the house during the time that Claudia had lived there, (I have included a picture of the Mirror below).

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There were dwarves in Maria’s life as well. These dwarfs were also miners that were located among the seven mountains. Maria lived in the town of Lohr, and it is said that the Glass coffin in the fairy tale is associated with the famous glassworks in the region, and the poisoned apple is associated with the nightshade poison that grows in abundance in Lohr.

The author also includes how the Grimm versions of their fairytales may actually have been based on true events. With this claim it would make sense that the Snow White fairy tale could have been derived from one or both of these stories. It is very interesting to read that a fairy tale that practically we all grew up with could possibly be based off of someone’s life. Also after reading this, i no longer think that the Brother’s Grimm version of snow white is the origin, i now think that the life story of either Margarete or Maria is the true origin of Snow White.

By: Shelbie Cornelius

The Sexism and Sexualization of Disney Characters

With each new generation, girls are becoming sexually active at a younger age, have more emotional and psychological conditions than the previous generation. Girls feel that what they offer is strictly based off of their looks and sexuality, and this is due to social media.  The culture that makes women think their worth is solely seen through men and their sexuality, and this could be due to the famous Disney princess films that many of us grew up with.

The Queen who is in the highest power position, which is quite rare, does not even have a name, not to mention she is engrossed with her beauty. Rather than perform to her duties as queen, she is focused solely on being the fairest. When the mirror told her that she was no longer the fairest, she sent someone to kill Snow. This teaches young girls that you can only be as good as your looks, for being in a powerful position means nothing is you aren’t beautiful. This could be seen as what men during the time period this was produced thought it would be like if a women was given a powerful position; she wouldn’t get anything done for she would be so absorbed with herself and her physical appearance. This is further illustrated through Snow; she has no talent, she only has her beauty, which is what she needs to save her. Furthermore, when “Snow White” first came out, the role that women had been very domestic, which is the role that Snow took on.

By: Lianna Gerardi

Traditional Female Gender Roles in “Snow White”

The most prominent stereotypical role in “Snow White” is that fact that she stays in the kitchen cooking and cleaning while wearing a formal outfit. The ideas of gender roles have remained the same for years, even though “Snow White” is focused around the 50s. In Grimm’s version, Snow is a princess and a child, and is taught that she must obey the male patriarchy in order to be good, which includes cooking and cleaning for the dwarfs. In addition, Snow looks presentable at all time, which is why the Queen is so obsessed with both the mirror and beauty. “Snow White” relays contradicting messages that include not obsessing over beauty, and insinuating that disobeying the patriarchy and women’s roles can instigate consequences.

The dwarfs allowed Snow White to stay with them, as well as keep her safe, if she cooked and cleaned, which places her in a role as a servant, or maid. In society, the woman is responsible for housework, while the man, the dwarfs, are meant to protect and provide. The dwarfs warned Snow not to open the door for anyone, but she did. One argument is that by opening the door she disobeyed men as a whole, and because of this she faced consequences such as bring poisoned. This sends a message to women that men are the only ones who know what they are talking about, and that women should take men’s advice on all subjects. During the time period in which this was written, the message was to show women what their roles are and what they are supposed to do.

The Queen’s character revolves around beauty and it consequences. She is preoccupied by it, which can contradict the expectations from women. Women are expected to look good all the time; however, it they are consumed too much by it, such can be seen as crazy, or even ugly. The Queen wants to kill Snow because of her beauty, but it is can be argued that it is society’s fault that she wants to be the fairest of them all. The idea of beauty is the main theme throughout the movie, for the most beautiful wins.

Beside the entertainment purpose, the story illustrates the stereotypical roles of women as created by society, rather than make believe. Women are expected to be obedient, and if they aren’t they will have to face consequences, as well as beautiful. Beauty corrupts the Queen to the extent that she kills her own stepdaughter. The messages about traditional gender roles influence women in a negative way, and teach them bad habits about how to be an independent individual.

By: Lianna Gerardi