By Open Book
You may have recognized the number of fairy tale movies being produced in Hollywood this year. Two films centered on Snow White and another on Sleeping Beauty. Yet, there is a tradition in literature where the female antagonist is the powerful, sexual, wicked older woman. Really? What a way to marginalize women. All these films cast “older” Oscar winning actresses as the evil stepmother. So far we have Mirror, Mirror evil stepmother played by Julia Roberts, Snow White and the Huntsman with wicked, Charlize Theron and finishing up the evil older women crew is Angelina Jolie in Maleficent due out March 2014. Looking at the media today young girls and women might get the impression women over the age of 30 are evil and jealous of young girls? Why should society support films that put women at odds with one another and play on their insecurities?
Here’s some startling information regarding women’s portrayal in Hollywood. According to an article on Our Bodies Ourselves states;
- “Most of the women we see in the media are young and white. Hollywood movies rarely feature women over forty, and the older women we do see represented in the media, from movie stars to news anchors and even politicians, look much younger, thanks to plastic surgery. As a result, those of us who choose to age naturally, without the aid of plastic surgery, are sometimes seen as “letting ourselves go.” 
Many women and young girls are being sold their only value are their physical attributes. Women are not being encouraged to promote their intelligence. Here is some more information regarding how advertising is used to feed our insecurities.
- “The average American sees three thousand ads per day. Almost all commercial media aimed at women are supported by advertising revenue from the fashion, beauty, diet, and food industries, and their survival depends on their ability to please their sponsors. Magazine editors, in a fierce competition for readers, know that to make a sale, they need only play on our doubts or create new ones, making us think we have “problems” that don’t really exist (“What’s He Really Thinking When He Sees You Naked?”). Every part of the female body is picked apart and scrutinized, with most articles telling us outright which products we should buy to fix–or at least camouflage–our numerous “flaws.” 
The studios like Walt Disney and Universal who are producing these fairy-tale films. What are they communicating to young girls and women today? According to an article by Kristy Logan entitled The Problem with Fairy Tales, states,
- “The myth of prince as savior makes Snow White a story of heterosexual male dominance: women need men, and without them will attempt to destroy one another. It also teaches women that they should not worry about being educated, intelligent or amusing; all they have to do is be pretty and wait.”
The words “fairy tale” translate as perfect for many. Young girls and women already have a false image of themselves in the media. Women are encouraged to compete instead of work together. How do fairy tales empower women?
 Jean Kilbourne, Deadly Persuasion: Why Women and Girls Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising (New York: The Free Press, 1999), 27, 58.