An animated parody of Snow White, produced by South Korean film company Locus Corporation and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, caused quite a stir when its promotional poster debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.
The billboard depicts a tall, thin young woman standing next to a short, plus-sized version of herself, accompanied with the tagline: “What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?” ...Yeah. I’ll let that sink in.
It’s not great, but before jumping to conclusions, let’s consider the movie’s plot description.
Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs
The movie is about a collection of princes who get turned into dwarfs and must find a magical pair of red shoes to break the curse. The same shoes that, when worn, transform the short chubby girl featured in the poster into the svelte Disney-like supermodel standing beside her.
I suppose buried in all of that is a message of inner beauty and looking beyond appearances, but the implication that fat is equivalent to ugly is already there from the get-go. The precedent is set. If you’re overweight, you need to hide it from the rest of the world because it’s shameful, embarrassing, and ugly, however you want to slice it.
But let’s assume that the filmmakers had good intentions.
After all, this “trying to conform to societal standards to appear beautiful before undergoing a journey of self-discovery and learning that you were beautiful just the way you were all along” trope is nothing new.
But then there’s the trailer.
To sum it up, two dwarfs sneak into Snow White’s house and hide under a table while she undresses, and after removing her shoes, changes into the heavier version of herself.
Watch it for yourself, because it really is less than wonderful.
Snow White Parody Trailer
The trailer does anything but help the film’s case, and instead adds a whole new problem: Those lecherous dwarfs.
At no point does either try to shield his eyes, allow Snow White to maintain her modesty, or look away. Instead they stare, eyes wide, all but licking their chops at the sight of this young woman, unaware that these creeps are watching her undress. All for the sake of comedic effect, I can only assume.
And when Snow White takes off the shoes to reveal her true self, the dwarfs gasp and recoil in horror, disgusted. Violation of privacy and body-shaming all rolled into one tidy little package. The whole minute and forty seconds is disturbing, and jarringly creepy for a kids’ movie.
Let’s get back to that poster though, which is what started this whole mess. It was plus-size model Tess Holiday who alerted Chloë Grace Moretz, the voice behind Snow White, to the problematic billboard.
Moretz, for her part, had a passionate response, although I can’t help but wonder what made her agree to be in the film in the first place, and I’d be curious to hear her reaction to the trailer.
I have now fully reviewed the mkting for Red Shoes, I am just as appalled and angry as everyone else, this wasn't approved by me or my team— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) May 31, 2017
Pls know I have let the producers of the film know. I lent my voice to a beautiful script that I hope you will all see in its entirety https://t.co/IOIXYZTc3g— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) May 31, 2017
The actual story is powerful for young women and resonated with me. I am sorry for the offense that was beyond my creative control https://t.co/HZP2ydPCAX— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) May 31, 2017
A Problematic Plus Sized Princess
As for the company that produced the film, Locus Corporation of South Korea says that the movie is about “a Princess who doesn’t fit into the celebrity world of princesses—or their dress size.”
To be honest, I could get behind an idea like that, but once, just once, I would like to see an animated film starring a plus sized princess with a plot that does not revolve around the fact that she’s a plus sized princess. Princesses come in all shapes and sizes—and it’s more important that this be shown rather than told. Stop giving young viewers a reason to believe it would ever be otherwise.
In response to the backlash, Locus Corporation offered this apology: “Our film, a family comedy, carries a message designed to challenge social prejudices related to standards of physical beauty in society by emphasizing the importance of inner beauty. We appreciate and are grateful for the constructive criticism of those who brought this to our attention.”