Feminism in Snow White

Snow White is a doll and all girls should be like her, says the feminist Anne Sexton in her poem on Snow White.  Arguably, this read is far more interesting than the original story because there is an abundance of sarcasm and modern- day language. Anne Sexton shows us her point of view by indicating that women are brought up believing that they are inferior to the opposite sex. She blames fairy tales for this. I blame fairy tales for this as well. Her thoughts are very radical, but are able to be interpreted fairly easy with her simple prose and verses.

“No matter what life you lead

the virgin is a lovely number”

If we read into the poem even more, it is apparent that Snow White is depicted as a virgin not once, not twice, but three times in this fairy tale. Coincidence? I think not. Three is a typical fairy tale number full of magic and rainbows.  There is an emphasis placed on being virginally pure in both portrayals of Snow White. What I find interesting is the fact that Sexton tells us the story of Snow White in the same way that the Grimm Brothers do, but what is so special about it?

In the Grimm tales, Snow White is not realistic at all. If she was a person in real life, she would be a cardboard cutout. What Sexton does is give the story more depth. She does so by giving similes to compare Snow White too so that she can seem like an actual being, even though she is a doll. Sexton also compares pride as poison. “Pride pumped in her like poison.” This idea that being vain will ultimately result in death is apparent in both versions of Snow White. What I find interesting is the fact that Sexton does not drag out the story in the way the Grimm Brothers do it. She finds different aspects of Snow White to mention and does so. Is there a recreation of how Snow White’s mother dies or how she is even a princess? No there is not. This is because that sort of information isn’t necessary in order for us to understand that Snow White is just another fairy tale that gives little girls false hopes for the impending future.

 

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