Well this certainly puts Disney in a different light, doesn’t it? Kazue Muta, a professor of gender studies and sociology at Osaka University, says that some Disney princes are nothing more than sex offenders. She says that the princes from Sleeping Beauty and Snow White portray “quasi-compulsive obscene sexual acts on an unconscious partner.” Hi-ho, indeed.
The Disney princes Muta mentions both kiss unconscious partners. Yes, in the watered-down fairy tales we’re familiar with, it’s to wake the princesses from curses or poison comas. But, according to Muta, it really just amounts to sexual assault on an unconscious person.
— 牟田和恵 (@peureka) December 11, 2017
The translation of her tweet reads, “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. You might think I’m ruining the fantasy of it all, but these stories are promoting sexual violence and I would like everyone to be aware of it.”
The fantasy of it all might be the problem. Just recently, a mom urged schools to drop Sleeping Beauty from their curriculum for portraying non-consensual acts of affection. Her argument is that the story sends a message that consent isn’t necessary.
Muta argues that by not looking at the fairy tales critically, we’re saying the behaviors exhibited in them are acceptable. In an article for the Women’s Action Network in response to the criticism she received for her tweet, Muta writes, “There were many critical replies that state ‘Because the princess and prince lived happily ever after in the end, there is a presumptive consent regarding the kiss, so there’s no problem. However, this understanding of it is actually dangerous. This kind of thinking fabricates the mindset of ‘the ends justify the means,’ and to what extent does this allow sexual violence to occur?”
No one is saying that these fairy tales should be banned (although the stories they were adapted from are REALLY messed up and honestly not for kids). But Muta raises a good point, especially given the news cycle and coverage of sexual harassment and assault. We can’t say it’s ok for Disney princes to kiss unconscious women, and then turn around and tell our sons and daughters that it’s wrong.
(Image: Facebook/Snow White)