For those who are not familiar with the story of Snow White, it’s story is just like your typical fairy tale. In a nutshell, Snow White is a beautiful girl who is forced to hide away from the woods because she was so beautiful. She was so pretty that the queen of the land herself was jealous of her beauty. She was so jealous of Snow White that it came to the point that she was willing to kill her just to be the most beautiful woman in the land. Snow White had an easy escape, the man whom the queen ordered to kill her had pitied her and let her run away as he disguised killing Snow White by delivering a heart of a pig instead of Snow White’s heart. In the woods, Snow White finds refuge in the home of the 7 dwarfs whom treated her like she was one of them. Unfortunately, the queen had means to find out if Snow White was really still alive. She had a magic mirror which gives her answers to all the questions she asks, and when she asked who the fairest one of all was, it was revealed that Snow White had survived and she was hiding in the woods for safety. The Queen, still jealous of the beauty of Snow White plans to kill her with a poisoned apple. Little did she know that the spell of the poisoned apple can be broken by the kiss of a prince which did happen and as all typical fairy tale goes, they lived happily ever after.
There are a lot of interpretations and feedbacks for this fairy tale. Ruth MacDonald says in “The Tale Retold: Feminist Fairy Tales,” three solutions to the lack of folk tales or fairy tales like these acceptable to feminists:
“One may present the tales, unaltered, with their traditional endings, and the devil take the consequences of the possible damage to a young girl’s career expectations; one may rewrite the tales, deemphasizing physical beauty and marriage, but thereby violating the objectivity of the folklore collector by imposing one’s own language and bias on the narrative; or one may write new tales, using folklore motifs with less conventional endings.” p. 18.
Her point of view as a feminist suggests that the image of a woman in the story of snow white should depict a more powerful role in respect to the image of a woman. Another point of view from “Feminism and Fairy Tales,” by Karen Rowe is that:
“To examine selected popular folktales from the perspective of modern feminism is to revisualize those paradigms which shape our romantic expectations and to illuminate psychic ambiguities which often confound contemporary women. Portrayals of adolescent waiting and dreaming, patterns of double enchantment, and romanticizations of marriage contribute to the potency of fairy tales. Yet, such alluring fantasies gloss the heroine’s inability to act self-assertively, total reliance on external rescues, willing bondage to father and prince, and her restriction to hearth and nursery. Although many readers discount obvious fantasy elements, they may still fall prey to more subtle paradigms through identification with the heroine. Thus, subconsciously women may transfer from fairy tales into real life cultural norms which exalt passivity, dependency, and self-sacrifice as a female’s cardinal virtues. In short, fairy tales perpetuate the patriarchal status quo by making female subordination seem a romantically desirable, indeed an inescapable fate.” p. 207.
To a certain extent, both of them are right, portraying Snow White in a weak role depicts how society views a woman and how a woman can place herself in society. Specially in fairytales, where the target audience are children, little girls are made to believe that they should always helplessly wait for their prince.
The illustration of the ad of Louis Vuitton bags shows the exact “girl power” that feminists Karen and Ruth are looking for. Since the modern day woman should be in charge of her life, the portrait of Snow White carrying her own bags, leading the pack of the 7 dwarfs, looking like she was in charge of her destiny is the exact same picture women these days would want to have.
Gone are the typical days where in girls lie down and wait for their prince to come to their rescue, while the childhood dream is still to find the prince, through time and experience, women have come to realize that finding the perfect prince is not as simple as it seems. Love is also depicted as bittersweet now-a-days. You can almost no longer depict love with out pain and sorrow. Maybe that is why the image of the path of Snow White with the 7 dwarfs seems to be so dark. It might also explain the weary expression on her face while on her journey. Although the picture does depict a dark aura, Snow White is still in a white flowery dress which might depict hope for women that despite the bittersweet journey, everyone is still looking for love and bliss with that prince. The only difference now is that instead of waiting for love to come, it wouldn’t hurt to be in search for in on your own.
In the advertisement of Loius Vuitton, the advertisement targets your empowered woman in search for her own happy fairytale ending. Through the style and the likes of the bag especially the color give vibrance that depicts the hopes and dreams of your modern day woman ready to grasp and look for that fairy tale ending no matter how hopeless the battle can seem to be. The expensive luggage depicts power and strength to your modern day woman capable of searching for both herself and her dreams. The luggage that Snow White carries is the expression of how successful women carry the trials of the real world in style in search for the cliché that we are all secretly dying to reach; that happily ever after that will apply in each of our lives.
Weedon., L.L. Grimm’s Fairy Tales London: Ernest Nister, 1898
MacDonald, Ruth. “The Tale Retold: Feminist Fairy Tales.” Childrens Literature
Association Quarterly 7.2 (1982): 18-20.
Rowe, Karen. “Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales” New York: Methuen. 1986