A few years ago, I saw a book titled something like, “Disney Princesses Who Save Themselves,” and it proceeded to tell us how little girls don’t need men to save them. At the time I didn’t really think it was a very big deal, but later I came to realize that Disney princesses are under attack by liberal feminists who hate men so vehemently, it’s alarming. In fact, a reader might go so far as to think feminists wished men didn’t exist at all. And to prove their point that the media is sexist towards women, Disney princesses became their object of criticism. Any girl portrayed as someone who is too weak to save herself and needs a man to do it for her, is obviously a victim of patriarchal brainwash.
Even though Disney Princesses are figments of imagination, I want to defend them for the sake of my little princess (who, by the way, is allowed to watch any Disney Princess she wants.)
Last night my sister and I popped in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We aren’t too old to watch princess movies, right? Considering it was written and produced in 1938 by a white male, you might be inclined to think that it’s a sexist story about a girl who is too innocent and naive to save herself. But actually, there are 9 lessons that Snow White subtly teaches girls that, in my opinion, isn’t taught in movies since Walt passed away. None of which insight chauvinism.
Feminist like to say that, “Snow White is just a story about a pretty girl who got a prince because she’s beautiful.” If that were true, the story would be unrelatable. But the reality is, if she was a chubby, homely little girl we still would have loved her because it’s her heart that’s beautiful. I also note that the queen didn’t have a significant other because no one wanted to be with a woman whose heart resembled an old hag.
So here we go.
9 Empowering Life Lessons From Snow White
- Obsession over outward beauty will turn you into a wicked witch, but inward beauty is eternal. The wicked queen obsessed over looks and power, killing those who rivaled her. She focused entirely on herself, but not on her heart, feelings, and morality. She died a hag, and we cheered. But Snow White died with a pure heart and we cared. The difference was, Snow White’s spirit. Teaching girls to care about WHO they are and HOW to treat others is an enduring beauty that can’t fade. What a powerful message in a world where eating disorders rule, makeup advertisements define our worth, body shaming is the norm, and outward beauty is worshiped.
2. Hysterics Are Not Attractive. Before 1938, women were portrayed to be “flappity floppy” and hysterical. If you read the historical fiction period dramas by Jane Austin, most women are presented as flighty girls who can’t control their emotions and faint at the sound of the slightest scare. Walt Disney put a scene into Snow White where she “gets frightened” and cries hysterically as she runs into the forest. She imagines every branch and rock is a monster trying to eat her. She finally collapses and starts to cry, and the woods melt into a calm and sun filled place, that wasn’t scary after all. When Snow White looks up, she apologizes to the forest animals and says, “I feel so ashamed of myself.” This is the first time in animation history that a girl is portrayed as learning to control her emotions. This message teaches little girls that even princesses get scared, and that’s okay. But if fear controls you it can warp your sense of reality.
- How To Find Fun In Work. I don’t care who you are or how old you are, someday you will find yourself with a big pile of work that you don’t want to do. Whether, you’re 25 and writing a grant for your office or 5 and cleaning up the giant mess of barbie clothes and plastic teapots in your room, everyone has to do jobs they don’t like. Someday my 5-year-old will be 25 and teaching her how to enjoy work now will affect her attitude as a 25-year-old. Attitude is powerful. Employers will hire you for your attitude even if you don’t have a full resume. Attitude can be a choice between depression and joy. Learning the art of making work fun is a life skill any girl needs in her arsenal. Snow White makes cleaning a filthy house fun by getting her friends to help and whistles a song while they work.
4. Always think good of other’s—even if their house is filthy. Snow White’s first thought was that she found a house of orphaned children. Judgmental thoughts didn’t cross her mind. Whoever lived there needed her help, and she jumped right in to do her part. I pray my princess has the gift of assuming good things before assuming the worst of others. How powerful is that? In an age when we demand other’s not to judge us, how many of us actually live by that rule?
5. A woman who offers to help others, even though she’s in the middle of her own storm, demonstrates great strength. Snow White offered to clean and care for what she thought were orphans, and then later dwarfs. I hope my princess can learn that we all go through storms, and one is not greater than another. But with a lot of faith, we can persevere onward and help others along the way. That’s not a self-proclaimed victim—that’s a strong and happy woman.
6. A Real Woman Is Not Entitled. My favorite thing about Snow White is that she is not entitled to the safety of the Dwarfs home. She’s the princess! She could have commanded them to house her, clean a spot for her, and demand that they feed her. Instead she paid her way by offering to keep their house and cook for them while she hid. Entitlement is not the same thing as empowerment. I want my baby princess to be empowered, but to do that, she needs to take responsibility for her actions. My princess will have movies like Snow White to teach her early about the art of being a helpful and thankful house guest.
7. Don’t Mope Around Waiting For A Prince To Save You. Snow White didn’t pine away for the Prince to come save her. She danced with the Dwarfs, sang songs, made friends, and enjoyed every day. I love that she isn’t depicted as a girl waiting to be saved, she’s a princess enjoying NOW in the present.
- Say Your Prayers To The One Who Can Help You. Before Snow White goes to bed, she says her prayers, even asking that Grumpy would like her in the days to come. This is another bit of evidence that she’s not depending on her prince alone to save her, but she’s actively finding ways on her own to cope. Teaching our children to have faith and give their troubles to the God who can fix them, is a powerful lesson they can take into adulthood.
- Only Accept A Love That Is Constant and True. After Snow White falls asleep, the screen changes to a written narrative that tell us that the Prince searched everywhere to find her. This isn’t a sexual or sensual love, it’s a pure love built on a consistently choosing the same person every single time. There is true and tested commitment, a desire to be with a person because of who they are, not what they look like. That is proved because when the prince falls in love with Snow White, is dressed like slave girl and is covered in rags and dirt. This kind of love is more powerful than death. Girls, you deserve to be loved by a man who is constant and true. A man who will fight and search for you. That’s not to say you are too weak to care for yourself! That’s ridiculous! But allowing a man to search for you and work for you is simply proof of his constant truth and loyalty. A man like that won’t hurt you, belittle you, or treat you less than you deserve. You deserve a Prince on a White Horse—so be a Princess worth searching for.