For a long time I’ve been seeing comments on Disney YouTube videos and other Disney-related sites saying that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a sexist film – mostly because Snow loves housekeeping. And I can see where that comes from: most women I know, including myself, would love to have someone else do all the cooking and cleaning for them. Pretty much all of us hate housework. But not Snow White. She loves housework – and she’s pretty too. So these things make her a sexist image created by men who’d like an attractive woman to keep house for them, right?
Well, let’s look at the time period in which Disney’s version of Snow White was created. Despite the Equal Rights Amendment and other women’s movements going on during the 1930s, some women were still taught that cooking and cleaning and looking after the children were their roles in life, just as they were in the nineteenth century. And those women who did work in factories or as typists or whatever were still expected to have a hot meal and a clean house ready for their husbands to come home to in the evening.
The women’s movements were pretty controversial issues too, and I don’t think Walt Disney ever really wanted to create controversy with his films. He just wanted to make people laugh. So that could be another reason why Snow loves housecleaning so much: she’s kind of a motherly figure to the dwarfs, and her interactions with them can be pretty funny too, like a real mother’s with her children.
So I don’t really regard Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as a sexist film. As long as it’s taken in context, this movie is really nothing more than a product of its time – and regardless, it’s still an enjoyable film for all ages.
Do you still think Snow White’s character is a product of sexism, or have I changed your mind? Let me know in the comments whether I’ve inspired you or bored you to death, and thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: Only the opinions expressed on this blog belong to me. All of the characters, settings, and other features of the Disney animated films, as well as any images thereof, are property of The Walt Disney Company, or any additional respective owners.
The image of Snow White featured here was created by the user “Mize-meow” on deviantART (http://browse.deviantart.com/art/Whistle-while-you-work-209685795), and does not belong to me.