Re-articulating the Femme Fatale Archetype: Snow white and the Evil Queen

Proceedings of The 4th World Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2022



Re-articulating the Femme Fatale Archetype: Snow white and the Evil Queen

Hend Hamed Ezzeldin



In Disney’s 1937 movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the female is represented as a prototype of innocence, naivete, and gullibility. Offering her services of cooking and cleaning for the dwarfs, they accept to hide her in their house to keep her away from the eyes of the evil queen. Like any stereotypical female, she dreams of her prince charming who comes at the end of the tale to rescue her with his magical kiss, bringing her back to a life abundant with servitude and passivity. In Rupert Sanders’ ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ (2012), Snow White fights the evil queen, aided by both the natural world and the patriarchal society, to avenge for her father and claim her throne back. Whereas Disney’s movie does not provide us with ample details about the evil queen or even furnish the story with the necessary context behind the queen’s evil doings, the 2012 movie does. Clearly, the Disney movie puts clear boundaries between the concepts of good (Snow White) and evil (the queen) while the 2012 movie seems to be uncertain in drawing these lines. Like Snow White, Ravenna was a victim who lost her entire family and found retaliation the only response to a life of misery and loss. Ravenna is the villainous woman who marries men only to kill them and take everything they possess; she is the charming woman who enchants all men by her beauty and grace and thus fits the profile of the ‘femme fatale’. I propose, however, that the real femme fatale in the movie is not Ravenna, but Snow White herself, who plays the role of the evil queen’s alter ego, putting an end to Ravenna’s rebellion against the male-dominated society only to elicit another form of uprising where males and females are no longer at the ends of the spectrum, but collaborate to put an end to Ravenna’s evil.

keywords: femme fatale, Snow White, gender stereotyping, feminism.