On The Daily Post, Daryl L. L. Houston suggested rerunning an old post. Here is one of my favorite rerun.
Snow White as a Strong Female Character
Snow White is no longer a sweet, innocent maiden; she’s a warrior. As a strong woman fictional character, Snow White has come along way.
If you have not watched the TV series Once Upon a time, or the movies Mirror Mirror, and Snow White and the Huntsman, and plan too, you might want to watch them before you read this.
Snow White is one of many fairytales told throughout the ages from around the world. Each telling reflects the time of her culture. In 1812, Grim was the first to put her in print. Disney was the first to put her on film, in 1937.
I’m starting this post with Disney’s version.
When Disney produced the cartoon, women were expected to get married, stay home, clean, cook, and have babies. Today women are truly warriors. They are in the military, police and fire department; they are mechanics and in construction; they are in all levels of management and are CEO’s of their own company.
(I should say here that I have no problem with women who chose to be a-stay-at-home mom. They made a chose to stay home. I admire them for it. What they are doing is different from having no chose and being expected to stay home.)
For the writing of this post, I just recently watched Disney’s cartoon Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. I’m sure as a four-year-old, I loved it, but as an adult, not so much.
I didn’t like Snow White. She didn’t seem to have much of a personality. Her only life skills were cooking, cleaning and singing.
When she finds the dwarf’s home, she cleans. She convinces them to keep her with the promise that she will cook and clean for them.
She’s more naïve than smart. The dwarfs tell her not to talk to any strangers or let them in the house. And what does she do?
She lets a stranger, the queen, disguised as an old hag, into the house. The old one convinces her that the dwarfs’ favorite pie is apple pie. But when she and the dwarfs discussed the matter earlier, apple pie was never mentioned.
She accepts the queen’s apple and bits into it.
As a child, her father cared for her. The queen tolerated her, until Snow became too beautiful. The queen tried to have her killed. The huntsman protected her by releasing her into the forest. The dwarfs gave her a home and promised to provide for her. After Prince Charming wakes her with First Loves Kiss, he carries her away to his castle where she will want for nothing, and will live happily ever after. For her whole life, Snow White did nothing for herself. There was always someone to take care and provide for her.
The Snow Whites of 2012 are very different.
In Once Upon A time, Snow White is a huntsman, a highway robber and a swordsman.
The Queen has the huntsman take Snow out to the forest to kill her. Instead, he tells her to run and hide.
Snow White has no need for seven dwarfs. She lives in the forest by herself, builds her own shelter, and hunts for her food.
She meets Prince Charming after robbing him of his gold and jewels. They fall in love.
Prince Charming’s adoptive father has other plans. He will kill Charming if that’s what it takes to keep them apart.
Snow wields her sword and storms the castle to save her prince.
After much set back, Snow and Charming finally get together at the end of season one. For season two, they plan to fight side by side and take Snow’s castle back from the evil queen.
In Mirror Mirror, after her stepmother kills her father, the queen locks Snow White in her room for the next ten years.
Snow is innocent, knows nothing of the world, or how to take care of herself, although she is a bit rebellious. It’s that rebellion, and her beauty, that causes the queen to want her dead.
It’s the butler who takes Snow into the woods to kill her. He disobeys and tells her to run. But she doesn’t know what to do or how to take care of herself.
In this story, the dwarfs are a band of highway thieves. They capture Snow White and hang her upside down while they debate what to do with her. They keep her, of course, and teach her how to handle a sword and steal from the rich riding through their part of the forest.
Snow becomes resourceful enough to take care of herself. Well sort of.
She takes on Prince Charming in a sword fight. She doesn’t win.
But she does take what’s learned and with help from the prince and the dwarfs, she takes back her castle.
At the end of the movie, in disguise, the queen comes to Snow White’s wedding and presents her with a poisonous apple. Snow does not fall for the queen’s trick. She makes her eat it, thereby ending the queen and her magic.
In Snow White and the Huntsman, Snow White is locked in a cell until her 18th birthday. With the help of two fairies riding blue birds, she escapes.
The huntsman is hired to find and help bring her back to the queen to be killed, but he becomes her guardian and protector.
He tries to teach her how to use a short sword. “You let your enemy come close then slam the blade into their ribs, up to the hilt, and up into their heart.”
“I can never do that,” she says.
She is too gentle to kill that doesn’t mean she not tough.
They come to a bridge guarded by a people-eating troll. The troll tosses the huntsman around like a ragdoll. He tells Snow to run.
Instead, she stands and faces the troll, unafraid. They stare into each other’s eyes.
To the huntsman’s surprise, the troll settles and calmly walks away.
Thanks to the huntsman, Snow White never has to fend for herself. Nevertheless, she does become a warrior.
She puts on armor and rides ahead of her army to take back her castle and face the evil queen. For she is the only one who can kill her.
They meet and fight. It looks like the queen is winning. When the queen lends in for the kill, Snow slams her short sword in between the queen’s ribs, up to the hilt, and into her heart. And takes back her castle.
As she sits on her throne and her subjects stand to her honor, the huntsman comes from around the crowd and proudly looks down the aisle at Snow White. She smiles back at him.
Snow White is no longer a simple little girl that has the world handed to her on a silver platter. She has evolved into a woman capable of taking control of her life and getting what she wants.
She’s no longer a victim waiting for Prince Charming to rescue her. Snow and her prince are partners. They stand, with sword in hand, and battle together to conquer the obstacles in their lives. Only then do they live happily ever after.