When all the taco meat was refrigerated, the grease-stained plates loaded into the dishwasher, and the church volunteers departed, my husband peeked into our bedroom where I had been hiding out (er, I mean reading my Bible) for the duration of his adviser meeting. “Put some pants on, Erin. We’re going to the movies.”
It was a magic Monday night at the theater seeing Snow White and the Huntsman, a sort-of Braveheart-like retelling of the Brothers Grimm fable. I was hesitant to go, afraid it would be too dark. The Walt Disney version, after all, had me running off to a child psychologist who assured me the wicked queen wasn’t all that bad. I spent more than a few nights sleeping in the bathtub with my Micky Mouse comforter, safe from her clutches.
Charlize Theron was more haunting and beautiful as Queen Ravenna in the movie version released this week than I could have imagined. Not only is she kind of the anti-Christ, she’s the anti-Feminist. Man Hater. Youth Obsessed. Violent Oppressor. She is both “The Man” and “That Woman” all tarred together in one crazy crow outfit.
Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame plays Snow White; despite the critical flack she’s received from being a slinky sulk, I enjoy her pouty lips, big front teeth, and Tarte-stained cheeks. She, too, plays into a stereotypical feminine archetype as a virginal savior with a flush of acceptable moxy for modern women.
So why should feminists see Snow White and the Huntsman if it’s just dishing out more of the same sexist imagery we’ve come to critique? Three reasons:
1. Aren’t 90% of movies sexist? You may as well patronize one with women in lead roles. During the recent Miss USA pageant one of the contestants got flack for citing Pretty Woman as depicting women in a positive light; she tried. At least, the prostitute-playing Julia Roberts has gone on to be one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. Likewise, Theron and Stewart clearly stole the show (and my girl-crush affections) whereas I left the movie thinking that Hulk-like Huntsman was just ornamental eye candy. Don’t worry boys – it will be a long time before this is an insult to you.
2. Don’t you love action flicks just as much as the next guy? This is finally a film that is artsy in its cinematography whilst uncompromising in its gore. While action movies typically draw the boys in droves, the opening weekend box office results show that female viewers actually made for a slight majority of the audience, accounting for 53 percent of viewers. This type of gender balance is good news for studios who will have to re-consider how to satisfy the tastes of both men and women in future films.
3. Aren’t you tired of the guy gets the girl ending? Enough said.
While critics have been rough on the movie’s plot, I found it to be just the right amount of predictability (the mirror! the dwarfs! the apple!) and innovation (there’s a twist on the kiss!).
Snow White and the Huntsman is no feminist nightmare as long as you put your big-girl pants on to see it.