First Mindy Kaling came for The Little Mermaid stating it was "problematic", but in the same breath called Ursula the Sea Witch a "great character". Insert the eye roll here. Now Keira Knightly and Kristen Bell are coming for Cinderella and Snow White respectively. Oddly enough, all three of these women have been employed by Disney at one point or another, talk about biting the hand that feeds you, but I digress. Let's break down what each actress said.
Stop Trying to Ruin Classic Disney Princess Stories
"‘Cinderella,’ banned," Knightley said. "Because, you know, she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t! Rescue yourself, obviously."
Cinderella Does Not "Wait Around for a Rich Guy"
Knightley, who stars in Disney's soon to be released The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, statement is an odd one. Does she not remember the storyline of Disney's adaptation of Cinderella? At which point is Cinderella waiting around for a "rich guy to rescue her"? Cinderella lives with her evil step-mother and two evil step-sisters, she works hard and keeps her head down because her beloved father has passed away and they are the only family she has. She's made friends with the castle animals and because of her pureness is granted a visit by a Fairy Godmother.
Said Fairy Godmother gives Cinderella all she's ever dreamed of, a night on the town to see things she's been kept from seeing by her step-mother. This was not a mission to land a man. This was a mission to be free from the chores her so-called family continually piled on to her. She only catches the attention of the Prince because she is beautiful both on the inside and outside. However, it is clear that getting his attention was not on her agenda for the evening.
Cinderella is Actually "Saved" by Mice
If we are really splitting hairs here, Cinderella may have needed rescuing once her step-mother locked her in the tower to keep her from trying on the glass slipper the Prince brought to their castle but it is NOT the Prince who rescues Cinderella from this predicament. She is actually saved by her mice friends! It is Jaq and Gus who are able to get the key to unlock the tower to Cinderella. Then she is able to make her triumphant return downstairs to present the other glass slipper, since the one the Prince was carrying around just shattered.
"Every time we close Snow White I look at my girls and ask 'Don't you think it's weird that Snow White didn't ask the old witch why she needed to eat the apple? Or where she got the apple?' I say, 'I would never take food from a stranger, would you?' And my kids are like, 'No!' And I'm like, 'OK, I'm doing something right,'"
Who is Arguing Against Refusing Food From Strangers?
I'll take overreaching for $200, Alex. Kristen Bell, you know, the voice of Anna from Frozen, the character who blindly trusts a random stranger (who talks to his reindeer on the regular) to take her up a mountain? It seems she has taken issue with the main plot line of Snow White where she blindly trusts an old lady by accepting an apple and quite frankly, I don't think she needed to raise this issue at all.
It is pretty clear when you watch Snow White that taking anything from strangers is a bad idea, Snow is put on her death bed because of it. No one in the movie is trying to tell anyone that taking the apple from the stranger was a good idea yet Bell seems to be giving herself bonus parenting points because her children know not to take food from someone they don't know.
“‘Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?’” “Because you cannot kiss someone if they’re sleeping.”
Would We Rather Snow White Died?
"True love's kiss can break any curse". The alternative would be Snow White dies and there is no happy ending. Who wants that? Again, Bell's character in Frozen was ready to up and marry a guy she just met that night and when she was cursed he wouldn't grant her true love's kiss. He. Was. Going. To. Let. Her. Die. and we all felt really terrible during this reveal. So while it may be odd that the Prince has decided he is in love with Snow with very minimal interaction, there is such a thing as Suspension of Disbelief, where we can allow ourselves to believe something surreal and sacrifice realism in order to enjoy it. Snow White is a fairy tale meant for our enjoyment.
I understand wanting to teach our children important life lessons and yes, Bell is right; we do not kiss people we don't know, who are asleep because they cannot consent. I'm not arguing this point. What I don't agree with is this new trend of tearing down classic Disney fairy tales in order to bolster some sort of agenda. I was able to enjoy these fairy tales and characters as a child and I want my own children to enjoy them as well without being teased by kids who tell them all the reasons they are "problematic" or "anti-femminst" on the playground.