By now, almost everyone knows about the new live-action remake of the 1937 classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" that is set to release in 2024. But from the cast list to the plot line, a lot has changed, leading to controversies on social media.
People have gone as far as to say that "Disney has run out of ideas," which is why the company is remaking old classics rather than producing new stories.
Actress Rachel Zegler, of Hispanic heritage, is cast to play the titular fictional maiden, which has caused a stir in the media because her ethnicity goes against the plot, character and title of the story. But I am not too concerned about her ethnicity as much as Zegler's blatant disrespect toward the old classic.
During many interviews, she talks about how she does not think Snow White is a strong female figure and that young women should not look up to her. Moreover, she also shared that this film would not feature a love interest, a true love's kiss would not save Snow White and she would not meet a handsome prince to fawn over. In fact, the movie will not have a guy at all.
"She's going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and that her late father told her that she could be if she were fearless, fair, brave and true," Zegler said in an interview.
This quote, to me, seems anti-feminist. Yes, it is true that women do not need to depend on a man to be their knight in shining armor, but some women may prefer a more traditional love story, and saying that these women are weak and unimportant is not empowering.
Other viewers of her interview defended the childhood character saying, "Snow White is still independent but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a love interest (or) be saved by a true love’s kiss?"
Just because an individual chooses to believe and fantasize about finding true love or sharing a true love's kiss does not mean they cannot be their own person. It is disappointing to see so many people, especially an actress who will be starring in a movie that essentially jump-started the brand of a "Disney Princess," looking down on people for dreaming.
Another way of taking the magic out of Disney was by removing the "seven dwarfs" from the movie and replacing them with "merry men" and "merry women." Public figures like actor Peter Dinklage have stated how remaking the original film would be moving backward in terms of representation for little people.
"It makes no sense to me," Dinklage said. "You're progressive in one way, and you're still making that f***ing backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together. What the f*** are you doing, man?"
To avoid reinforcing stereotypes, given how the dwarfs were described as having lived in a cave, Disney chose the title of magical creatures instead of addressing the actual problem. The problem was never that there were dwarfs in the story. The problem was that they were shown to have lived disgusting, unmanageable lives.
If Disney really wanted to be progressive, the background of the dwarfs is what should have changed, not the characters themselves. Furthermore, if the company really wanted to take the dwarfs out, it should have committed to its words.
Based on the clips and pictures I have seen, it seems that the film has cast little people in the roles originally referred to as the "seven dwarfs." What happened to avoiding stereotypes, Disney?
Overall, fans are outraged by Disney's "woke" agenda. They want the fantasy, magic and fictional nature of Disney to come back, and I could not agree more. Other movies, like the 2019 remake of "Aladdin," for example, were able to keep Disney magical and stick to the plot line without making the princess codependent on the male lead.
Jasmine (Naomi Scott) was portrayed as a human with feelings and wishes rather than a sex symbol. To me, the live-action version of Jasmine is woke. Calling many people's comfort character and/or favorite childhood princess weak and purposeless is not woke.
Pankhudi Parsad is a first-year in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in journalism and media studies and marketing. Her column runs on alternate Thursdays.
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