Disneyland, which finally reopened last Friday, has revamped its famed “Snow White” ride to include the climactic moment from the classic 1937 film in which the Prince awakens the sleeping princess with a kiss, and some women are slamming the moment, snapping, “Haven’t we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue?”
The ride, formerly known as “Snow White’s Scary Journey,” had featured scenes from the movie, some of them in the dark, including a dungeon scene, and culminated in the Evil Queen, who had poisoned Snow White before the prince ultimately awakened her, screaming as she fell to her death.
In the film, the evil Queen says as she prepares the poisoned apple and speaks to a raven:
Dip the apple in the brew. Let the Sleeping Death seep through. Look! On the skin. The symbol of what lies within. Now, turn red to tempt Snow White. To make her hunger for a bite. Have a bite? It’s not for you. It’s for Snow White. When she breaks the tender peel to taste the tender apple in my hand, her breath will still, her blood congeal. Then I’ll be fairest in the land! But wait! There may be an antidote! Nothing must be overlooked. Oh, here it is! Love’s first kiss. Bah! No fear of that. The dwarfs will think she’s dead. She’ll be buried alive! Buried Alive! Thirsty? Have a drink.
After the Queen poisons Snow White, the dwarfs bury her in a glass coffin, but then the Prince finds her and awakens her with a kiss.
But after Disneyland revamped the Snow White ride to culminate in “love’s first kiss,” Katie Dowd, the managing editor for SFGATE, a website launched by the San Francisco Chronicle in 1994, joined Julie Tremaine, a contributing editor for SFGATE covering Disneyland, to bemoan the idea that Snow White had been awakened with a kiss. They wrote:
The new grand finale of Snow White’s Enchanted Wish is the moment when the Prince finds Snow White asleep under the Evil Queen’s spell and gives her “true love’s kiss” to release her from the enchantment. A kiss he gives to her without her consent, while she’s asleep, which cannot possibly be true love if only one person knows it’s happening.
Haven’t we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue? That teaching kids that kissing, when it hasn’t been established if both parties are willing to engage, is not OK? It’s hard to understand why the Disneyland of 2021 would choose to add a scene with such old fashioned ideas of what a man is allowed to do to a woman, especially given the company’s current emphasis on removing problematic scenes from rides like Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain. Why not re-imagine an ending in keeping with the spirit of the movie and Snow White’s place in the Disney canon, but that avoids this problem?
In 2018, a professor at Osaka University in Japan, Kazue Muta, attacked not only Disney’s “Snow White” but also Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty,” tweeting, as Twitter translated, “The fairy tales of Snow White and Sleeping Princess, ‘The princess woke up from a long sleep with a prince’s kiss,’ are also quasi-obscene crimes of sexually acting against an unconscious partner, if you think calmly. I think there is a reaction that ‘I don’t have such a dream,’ but on the contrary, I would like you to realize that such a fairy tale allows sexual violence.”
“Snow White was the first full-length animated Disney feature, and remains one of the 10 highest domestically grossing U.S. films of all time, adjusted for inflation,” The Daily Mail noted.
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