I have a piece in my hometown paper today, about the connections between fairytales and romantic comedies:
As adults, viewers relate to and understand romantic comedies because of the foundations laid by fairytales. When it comes to shaping our ideas about love and romance, rom-coms simply pick up where fairytales left off. These early lessons shape us, and stick with us: if you’ve heard Cinderella as a child, you’re far more likely to ”get” Pretty Woman as an adult.
As for Snow White, the trope of the jealous older woman who makes life hell for the beautiful young heroine shows up again and again. Think about the beloved modern classic Working Girl: Sigourney Weaver is the evil Queen with a corner office instead of a castle, and Melanie Griffith is Snow White in a suit jacket. Or what about Monster-in-Law, the 2005 Jennifer Lopez vehicle that casts feminist icon Jane Fonda as the passive-aggressive, meddling modern-day monarch?
At the end of Snow White, the Queen gets her comeuppance, and Snow White lands the man (well, ”lands” is a generous interpretation: she lies there comatose until he comes along and kisses her back to consciousness). Despite this happy heterosexual ending, though, the core lesson of the Snow White narrative is actually one about relationships between women.