Are Disney Princesses really that irredeemable? As a child did I even notice all the bad things adults are now saying they stand for?
There will always be room at the table for more diverse stories about women and girls but I see some value in the stories already told.
Snow White as a character is one that is easy to write off because her beauty is the main crux on which the entire plot centres itself on. If we look beyond that we can see some other traits. Snow White is kind to all she meets, animal and human alike. Her naivety does ultimately lead to her (temporary) death, which is a lesson in being too trusting. However, because she did take time to foster friendships she had a team to back her up when she did get into trouble. We all need a support network at times.
When she was without support, she ran by herself through a big dark forest, she may have screamed all the way through it, but she kept on going. It is a testament to her resilience that when she gets to the other side she apologises to the woodland creatures for frightening them, telling them she has had a rough day and that she will “get along somehow.” Snow White then consults with her woodland friends as to how she can make herself feel better. This arguably kills the interpretation that she does not want to bother anyone with her troubles.
It is true that Snow White is sweet and gentle, but she can give as good as she gets. In her first meeting with Grumpy, she correctly guesses his name by folding her arms and speaking in a mocking tone. Snow White is also hardworking and collaborative. She offers to pay her keep by cooking and cleaning for the dwarves, as is her skillset (I know some would prefer if she was slogging it down in the mine with the dwarves but have you seen the pie she made? Art). To do this she enlists the help of her woodland friends to split the work. She also does not let the dwarves off so lightly and refuses to feed them until they display some basic hygiene. One of the dwarves, Doc, teaches his housemates how to wash properly so that Snow White can focus on her task for the evening. The dwarves also contribute by providing some entertainment after dinner.
Finally we need to discuss the biggest turn off in these traditional princess stories, the Prince. I won’t lie, he’s a weirdo and it’s a weird set-up for “ever after.” I like to think that it is not the first time they met, Snow White was just startled when he jumped over the wall and snaked up to sing in her ear. I mean why else would she run away but then calm down and be down for the dude? The prince in this case really is just a handy little way to close off the story. I think I can forgive Snow White for being in love, it is something many can relate to. Also, the prince didn’t even get to be explored outside of fawning over Snow White. Can we get a meninist to tell us how useless Prince Charming is as a character?