Here’s why Disney is at the centre of a debate about Snow White and consent

Kate Plummer
Wednesday 05 May 2021 12:05
news

A debate is ongoing after a ride at Disneyland recreated a scene in which Prince Charming kisses Snow White ‘without consent’.

People on social media and broadcasters are weighing in with their opinions about the issue, with some seeing it as problematic and others believing that critics are overreacting.

But how has this issue, which is dominating conversation on social media, come about?

We’ve got the lowdown:

When did it start?

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A review of the ‘Snow White’s Enchanted Wish’ ride went viral, upon the California theme park reopening, suggesting that the animatronic scene should be removed.

The review was posted in American publication SFGATE, and soon attracted the attention of other media outlets.

What’s the issue?

The review objected to the plot of the fairytale, in which Prince Charming kisses the character to somehow neutralise the effects of poison she was given by a jealous queen, and wakes her from a coma.

It said: “Haven’t we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue? That teaching kids that kissing, when it hasn’t been established if both parties are willing to engage, is not OK? It’s hard to understand why the Disneyland of 2021 would choose to add a scene with such old fashioned ideas of what a man is allowed to do to a woman”.

The review added that the kiss should be removed like other “problematic scenes from rides like Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain”.

What have people said?

The review prompted a huge amount of discussion from commentators and the issue was raised again today when, speaking on Good Morning Britain, dating historian Nichi Hodgson and relationship therapist Emiliana Silvestri debated the film:

Hodgson said children watch the films “very young” and can be influenced by the plots.

Silvestri, however, said it was parents’ responsibilities to educate children about what they were watching and that Disney “shouldn’t have to” change the story because of the consent issue.

Sky News Australia host Alan Jones also took against it in a broadcast earlier this week, and said the character would not have been saved if she had not been kissed. He said the argument was “nutty”.

“In this make-believe, Snow White would have been left to die less the kiss of death been given without her consent,” he said.

Meanwhile, rentagob Piers Morgan had a take on the debate:

As did former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney:

Andrew Neil and actress Nicola Thorp also clashed on the issue on This Morning. Thorp said it was “part of rape culture” and Neil said there were other issues in the world that were more important, including coronavirus.

Is this the first time Disney has been at the centre of such a debate?

Earlier this year, Disney announced it was redesigning a ride to remove its “Trader Sam” character, a salesman of shrunken heads. Splash Mountain, meanwhile, was being overhauled to remove stereotypes.

Their response to this latest saga remains to be seen, but indy100 have asked them to comment.

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