Rachel Zegler has the Internet divided over feminist Snow White 2.0

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulAug 14, 2023 | 12:46

Rachel Zegler has the Internet divided over feminist Snow White 2.0

The impending release of Disney's live-action Snow White adaptation, slated for 2024, has generated a flurry of opinions surrounding its lead star’s comments about her role in the film. Rachel Zegler, who takes on the titular character, has offered a fresh perspective on the iconic princess, sparking a heated debate on how the character's portrayal intersects with contemporary social values and feminist ideals.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Back in October 2022, Disney announced a live-action remake of the iconic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Set to be released in March 2024, the movie will present a modern take on the iconic princess set in the present day, with the West Side Story and Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes star cast as the titular Disney princess.

  • Remember the original 1937 animated Snow White? You know, the one where the prince's idea of courtship is basically stalking dressed up as true love's first kiss? Well, Zegler is here to shake the enchanted forest, asserting that the new rendition isn't riding the same pumpkin carriage.

Zegler's assertion that the new retelling will diverge from the original animated film has generated both praise and criticism. Her remarks highlight a deliberate shift away from the traditional narrative that heavily focused on Snow White's romantic love story with the prince.

“I was scared of the original version. I think I picked it up once and never watched it again. I am being so serious. I watched it once, and then I went on Disney World. It was called Snow White’s scary adventures. Doesn’t sound like something I would like. I was terrified of it, never revisited it again. I watched it for the first time when I was 16-17 years." 

The Zegler version

By distancing the character from the conventional "damsel in distress" trope, Zegler's version emphasises Snow White's aspirations as a leader, echoing her late father's teachings about courage, fairness, and authenticity. This approach resonates with audiences who seek stronger, multifaceted female protagonists who define their own destinies beyond the confines of romantic relationships.

  • Proponents of Zegler's stance are tossing metaphorical confetti in the air. They applaud her for banishing the archaic storyline where the princess's world spins solely around her Prince Charming.

Instead, Zegler's Snow White is trading in tiaras for leadership lessons. Taking her late father's sage advice to heart, she's striding towards a kingdom where authenticity and bravery reign. In a world where empowerment is the name of the game, this version of Snow White is geared up for a round of "Mirror, Mirror, Who's the Most Self-Actualised of Them All?"

  • By dismantling the narrative conventions of the past, Zegler offers a portrayal that better aligns with the evolving expectations and demands of contemporary audiences, promoting the idea that women's lives are multi-faceted and not solely defined by their romantic pursuits.

Mixed response

However, the divisive responses that Zegler's comments have elicited indicate a layer of contention. 

They worry that Zegler's comments might accidentally give off the vibe that wanting love or a more traditional path somehow makes you a frog in the princess pond. They're quick to remind everyone that feminism's mighty cape is woven with the threads of choice. Women should be free to pick the prince, the palace, or the pumpkin spice latte, without being banished to a tower of judgement.

  • Critics contend that feminism is about embracing diverse paths and choices, rather than implying that wanting love or family life is inherently regressive. This viewpoint seeks to highlight that true progress lies in the freedom to make choices, whether they align with societal expectations or not.

This divide also extends to discussions about the representation of Little People in the film.

  • Critics express concerns about how the remake will approach this aspect, emphasising the need for multi-dimensional portrayals that reflect the complexity of these characters. 
  • Advocates for inclusive representation call for authenticity in storytelling, urging filmmakers to engage with Little People as collaborators to ensure their experiences are accurately depicted on screen.

Amid these conversations, it's important to note that Zegler's comments, while provocative, may not encapsulate the full scope of the film's narrative. As is often the case with previews and early interviews, the complexity of a character's arc and the themes explored in the movie might not be fully revealed until the film is released.

Ultimately, the debate surrounding Zegler's comments illustrates the evolving nature of storytelling and its role in shaping cultural discourse. As audiences become more diverse and socially aware, storytellers are challenged to strike a balance between modern sensibilities and respecting the timeless essence of classic tales.

Disney's live-action Snow White is gearing up for a 2024 release.

Last updated: August 14, 2023 | 12:46
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