They’re staple bedtime stories in many households, but actors Kristen Bell and Keira Knightley have voiced their concerns over the portrayal of princesses in fairytales, not to mention in Disney films.
Bell, who herself voiced Princess Anna in Disney’s smash hit Frozen, criticised the plot of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, saying she uses it as a cautionary tale for her two daughters, Lincoln, five, and Delta, three.
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The 38-year-old explained, “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 that apple?’ I say, ‘I would never take food from a stranger, would you?’ And my kids are like, ‘No!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m doing something right.’
“Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” she added in an interview with Parents magazine. “Because you cannot kiss someone if they’re sleeping!”
Bell’s criticism of the classic fairytale sparked a backlash on social media, with some Twitter users accusing her of being a “hypocrite” for “cashing in” on Frozen.
It's cute that you guys are making jokes about something that I feel is very important. I'd be happy to send you copies and snow white and frozen, and you can see the differences. How far the example set for women has come. It might enlighten your point of view.
— Kristen Bell (@KristenBell) October 18, 2018
But the Forgetting Sarah Marshall star replied, “I’d be happy to send you copies and (sic) Snow White and Frozen, and you can see the differences. How far the example set for women has come.
“I find the outrage annoying. I’m a mom who wants my girls to possess critical thinking and asks a tonne of questions. So that’s what we do when we read books.”
Meanwhile, Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley has banned her daughter Edie, three, from watching Disney films whose portrayal of women she disagrees with – with Cinderella and Little Mermaid top of the list.
Speaking to American chat how host Ellen DeGeneres, the 33-year-old said, “Cinderella waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t! Rescue yourself. Obviously!
“The songs in the Little Mermaid are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello!”
The Knightley house is not an entirely Disney-free zone, though, with Finding Dory, Frozen and Moana all deemed “totally fine”.