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Kristen Bell isn’t here for Snow White and its dangerous line on consent

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Kayleigh Dray
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“You cannot kiss someone if they’re sleeping,” says Kristen Bell.

Kristen Bell may be an official Disney princess (she voices Anna in Frozen, for those who aren’t aware), but that doesn’t mean The Good Place star is a fan of her fellow princesses.

Indeed, shortly after Keira Knightley stated that she has banned Cinderella from her household, Bell has voiced concerns about Snow White, insisting the story undermines everything she teaches her daughters about stranger danger.

“Every time we [finish] Snow White, I look at my girls and ask, ‘Don’t you think it’s weird that Snow White didn’t ask the old witch why she needed to eat the apple? Or where she got that apple?’” she told Parents magazine.

“I say, ‘I would never take food from a stranger, would you?’ And my kids are like, ‘No!’ And I’m like, ‘OK, I’m doing something right.’”

More worrying than this, though, is what Bell perceives as the fairy-tale’s dangerous message on consent. Because, let’s face it, Prince Charming’s kiss may have reviving powers – but it is administered while Snow White is unconscious, which makes his behaviour presumptuous at best, predatory at worst.

“Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” Bell recalls telling her children. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!”

Cinderella and Snow White aren’t the only Disney princesses to come under fire of late: Belle – of Beauty & The Beast fame – has also become a point of contention for many, with some citing Stockholm Syndrome as the true source of her affections for the Beast.

Indeed, one teacher even attempted to take the discussion further, producing a lesson plan that encouraged students to see the 1991 film as promoting domestic violence.

“The Beast does not attack Belle but the threat of physical violence is present,” it read. “The movie says if a woman is pretty and sweet natured she can change an abusive man into a kind and gentle man.

“In other words, it is the woman’s fault if her man abuses her. And of course, the beast turns into a handsome prince because ugly people cannot be happy.”

The plan went on to explain that Belle’s “only asset is her sexuality” – and added that she sets a very bad example to children, feeding into Disney’s ‘sexist’ narrative that “young women are naturally happy homemakers” who spend their lives waiting for a man to come along and “give them life”.

In short, Disney fairy-tales are something of a minefield in a post-MeToo world. Perhaps it’s worth checking out our definitive feminist ranking of every single Disney princess before you settle down to watch your next ‘happy ever after’ tale.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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