When examining Snow White in a feminist perspective, it is seemingly apparent that the protagonist represents the stereotypical standards of a female in a patriachial society. Snow White’s beauty, behaviour, and role as a woman ultimately suggests that women who conform to the ideal standards will live a secure and comfortable life.
A feminist perspective examines a variety of standards that women must adhere in order to feel accepted in society. Beauty is one standard that was continuously voiced in Snow White. It seems that maintaining a good appearance in a male-dominated society is a ‘life or death’ matter. The evil queen is in perpetual battle with Snow White to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Her attempts to kill Snow White numerous times shows the extent of how important it is to remain beautiful. As Snow White remained the most attractive woman, she was spared from a handful of near-death experiences, while she the queen herself was condemned to death.
Comparing the gender roles in Snow White illustrates the stark contrast between men and women in work situations. After Snow White escaped a close encounter with death, she met seven dwarfs who allowed her to seek refuge in their home as long as she cooked and cleaned for them. In return, the dwarfs woke up early and searched for gold in the mountains. In the story, Snow White is seen as a submissive housewife who is only allowed to work around the house, while the dwarfs portrayed the stereotypical role of breadwinners’ in the family. It is evident that without the dwarfs protection and financial support, Snow White would not have survived.
Lastly, observing the passive and compliant behaviour of Snow White stereotypically represents the way women should act towards men. At the end of the story, the prince had seen Snow White’s body in a coffin. Although she was dead, he wanted to take her back to his home. While his men carried the coffin to the castle, one had tripped on a branch and miraculously revived Snow White. The prince immediately proclaimed his love for her and ordered her to be his wife. Without any resistance, Snow White obediently said yes to the prince’s outrageous demands. In spite of not knowing what happens to Snow White after her marriage, it’s assumed that she lived a comfortable life in the castle. The story implies that women who possess a docile behaviour towards men will be granted a life with safety and comfort.
From a feminist perspecitve, it is clear that Snow White takes on many perverse stereotypes that women must conform to. By examining the protagonist as a whole, it is implied that women who follow the standards of beauty and good behavior will live a content life.