6. Snow White
(Fan art by 679709. Headline art by Jenny Chung)
In elementary school, my best friend and I convinced her mom to pay for one of those tourist souvenir photos where you superimpose your face over the bodies of someone famous. We giddily picked the photograph of two super sexy swimsuit models…then had a huge argument over who could be the blond one. In the 1980s, it was not particularly controversial that a little Asian girl and a little Mexican girl desired so strongly to be blonde. White blondness was the only way to occupy adult feminine beauty and here it was, magically offered by the proto-photoshop powers of the Wax Museum souvenir shop in Buena Park! This was going to be a fight to the death! Wax Museum Power Make Up!
Mass media back then was much more “Mass” than it is today. There was no internet streaming Kpop idols, tumblrs full of Japanese fashion magazine scans, or endless fashion subcultures. Everyone just got tanned, blond, hairsprayed women like Christie Brinkley. In such a uniform media climate, Snow White was unfashionable with her creepy shrill voice, bobbed dark hair, doughy skin, crayola dress, and affected 1930’s femininity.
Shortly after I had lost the epic battle on who could be blond, a girl in our clique told us that Snow White was her favorite Disney Princess. Everyone laughed but I was fascinated. Someone who was the definitive OPPOSITE of blond, tanned, swimsuited hotness could be considered beautiful? I am forever thankful for that lunchtime conversation because that affirmation of pale skinned, dark haired, awkward shrill femininity was a boon to me a few years later (aka the dark days of puberty and teenage insecurity).
(Art by Nayoung Wooh)
My husband makes fun of me for having a very clear, consistent “type” but even now I tend towards dark haired beauties with beautiful, luminous skin.
This post feels like the one on Sakura – there is no real deep message to be found in Snow White (arguably), Disney version or otherwise. I am attached to this figure for very simple reasons: she offers an alternative model of feminine beauty that was important to me throughout adolescence.
People still argue that vanity is antithetical to contemporary female enlightenment. Well I have never reduced my self value to my looks or thought they were my sole pathway to financial stability (aka finding a man to marry) so, sorrynotsorry but I just want to feel pretty sometimes. Like Anne Shirley, I simply love beautiful things and am straight up vain despite my grandiose aspirations for something more meaningful in life. I am learning to be okay with these parts of myself.