Childishness, optimism, and naivety pepper the character of Princess Snow White. Her voice is high-pitched; she faces crises “with a smile and a song,” and repeatedly trusts the intentions of strangers. She also enforces unrealistic ideals of beauty with her pore-less skin, unnaturally red lips, and perfectly coifed raven hair. On the surface, Snow White seems hard to embrace as an empowering role-model or representation of women. However, a closer look at the film and this particular princess proves just the opposite. Not only is she a strong figure for women to uniquely emulate, but she’s a role-model for men and women alike.
As many are aware, I have a strong interest in feminism and promoting progress of thought regarding gender roles. I believe men and women can and should see themselves as unique, capable, and complete individuals. At the same time, I have a passion for the artistry and magic of Disney, specifically Disney Princesses. As I became more engrossed in feminist study during college, I saw a clear divide between my two loves. Disney Princesses are often seen as dangerous examples of female stereotypes and unrealistic beauty. I recently pondered the reasons I admire Disney Princesses and discovered it wasn’t for their physical beauty but for the strength of character they uniquely illustrate. I came to an important realization: society chooses what media images represent. That said, I’ve begun to re-watch each Disney Princess movie in order to rewrite what each character could represent in our culture. Instead of taking everything at face value, I think it’s important to plunge beneath the surface of all things. Let’s discover together what these timeless women truly show about man and womanhood!
I will revisit each Disney Princess movie in chronological order and post a new article shortly after viewing each one. Watch out for your favorite Princess (we all have one) to see what you can learn from her!