A revamped version of Disneyland’s famed Snow White ride is drawing backlash for portraying the ‘true love’s kiss’ scene, which critics say undermines lessons about consent by portraying the Prince kissing Snow White while she is asleep.
The theme park in Anaheim, California reopened on Friday after shutting down for more than a year in the pandemic and featured a significant overhaul of the classic Snow White ride.
Previously focusing on the wicked Queen and known as ‘Snow White’s Scary Journey,’ the updated ride takes a more lighthearted approach to the tale, and features fresh animatronics and all-new scenes.
The ride now culminates in the ‘true love’s kiss’ scene, in which the Prince, believing Snow White to be dead, kisses her, breaking the Queen’s curse that had put her into a deep trance.
‘A kiss he gives to her without her consent, while she’s asleep, which cannot possibly be true love if only one person knows it’s happening,’ noted reviewers for SFGate.
‘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?’ the critics wrote.
‘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, especially given the company’s current emphasis on removing problematic scenes from rides like Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain,’ the review continued.
‘Why not re-imagine an ending in keeping with the spirit of the movie and Snow White’s place in the Disney canon, but that avoids this problem?’
Jungle Cruise, which launched in 1955 and remains closed for updates, is being revamped to remove ‘negative depictions’ of native peoples that depict them as savages or subservient, Disney confirmed earlier this year.
Disney said last June that its Splash Mountain ride was also being overhauled to remove its associations with black stereotypes in the 1946 film ‘Song of the South,’ on which it was based.
It is not the first time the Snow White kiss scene from the 1937 film has drawn concern over the message it sends to youngsters.
In 2018, Kazue Muta, a professor at Osaka University in Japan, argued the act of kissing a sleeping woman can be likened to sexual assault on an unconscious person.
The feminist academic, 61, went as far as to say that the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty ‘promote sexual violence’.
‘When you think rationally about ‘Snow White’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ that tell of a ‘princess being woken up by the kiss of a prince,’ they are describing sexual assault on an unconscious person,’ she tweeted.
Snow White was the first full-length animated Disney feature and remains one of the 10 highest domestically grossing U.S. films of all time, adjusted for inflation.
In the film, the evil Queen, jealous of Snow White’s beauty, creates a poisoned apple that will put whoever eats it into the ‘Sleeping Death’.
The spell can be broken by ‘love’s first kiss,’ but the Queen presumes Snow White will be pronounced dead and buried before any such kiss can be administered.
But the distraught seven dwarves are so upset about finding Snow White in the trance that they cannot bring themselves to bury her, and instead place her in a glass coffin in a clearing in the woods.
A year later, the Prince learns of Snow White’s fate and visits what he believes to be her uncorrupted body. He kisses her, awaking her from her trance, and they depart to live happily ever after in his castle.
Sid Philips is a father of two and a loving husband. He currently resides in Pennsylvania and has been a fan of Disney since his parents took him there in 1980! Sid has visited multiple Disney parks around the world and loves each one!
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