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Social Constructs In Snow White

Decent Essays
Jessica Van Hoose
03/07/2017
Social Constructs in Snow White
In the movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), I will argue that gender and heteronormativity are socially constructed by its characters and that it ultimately sends a strong message to its viewers about what is acceptable in regards to gender roles and norms in society. In this classic Disney princess movie, the beautiful young lady, Snow White, takes refuge in the forest in a house occupied by seven dwarfs in order to hide from her stepmother, the evil Queen. The Queen is jealous of Snow White because she wants to be "the fairest in the land," but Snow White's beauty had far surpassed her own. The dwarfs come to love Snow White, who cleans their house and cooks their meals
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In supporting gender roles and in socializing gender, the movie demonstrates three different themes relating to what it means to be a proper girl/woman: A woman’s physical appearance is valued more than her intellect, women are helpless and need to be protected, and women are domestic and only suitable for house-work. The movie supports these ideas clearly throughout the film. One example of gender construction is shown in the movie’s portrayal of Snow White’s character as the kind of woman that stays home and takes care of the house while the men go out to work. When Snow White is initially “rescued” by the dwarfs, they make an agreement to protect her so long as she does all the cooking and cleaning for them. By agreeing to this, she becomes the image of the perfect house wife; the perfect woman. This was a more typical gender construction at the time, when women were expected to be responsible for everything in the kitchen while the man, or dwarfs in this case, are the protectors and will always be right in the end. In the movie, the dwarfs warn her not to let anyone in the house while they are gone, but she disobeys them.…show more content…
This, in turn, sends a strong message to men and women about their expected roles in society. The movie assumes stereotypical roles of women and consciously presents the notions that women are to be obedient and must be protected or there will be consequences, that beauty is the most important part of being best woman you can be, and that heterosexual love is the only true love there is. I believe that these messages about gender and sexuality influence women negatively and teach them that they cannot be independent or find happiness on their own. I believe that it’s because of movies like these that our women already have such low expectations for themselves before they even reach adulthood, and why people are still having such a hard time accepting homosexuality in society
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