“Every time we close 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?’ ” Bell told the magazine. “I say, ‘I would never take food from a stranger, would you?’ And my kids are like, ‘No!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m doing something right.’ “
But it’s a question about consent which has some on social media speaking out against her. “Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” the actress asks her daughters. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!”
Some tweeted that Bell was overreacting to a classic story, while others called her a hypocrite for voicing a character in the Disney movie Frozen while questioning another tale adapted by the studio. The actress responded to some of these messages on Thursday, writing that the outrage is “misplaced” and that she wants to teach “critical thinking” to her daughters and encourage them to ask questions.
Bell shared a similar message with Parents, saying, “I look at my child’s brain like a hungry stomach. I have to feed it every day. Even if I’m rushed, I have to feed their brain just like I feed their belly.”
As for the accusation of hypocrisy, Bell offered to send copies of Snow White and Frozen to one user, so they can see “how far the example set for women has come.” She also denied the suggestion that she is discouraging the practice of CPR, writing that she used the story as a “teaching moment” to encourage conversations about “responsibility and safety.”
Actress Keira Knightley also recently spoke out about the messages that such old-fashioned stories may send to girls. She told Ellen DeGeneres that she doesn’t allow her 3-year-old daughter to watch certain Disney movies, including Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, because of how they portray their main female characters.
“She waits around for a rich guy to rescue her,” Knightley said of Cinderella. “Don’t. Rescue yourself, obviously.”
However, she also shared that she supports later Disney movies such as Frozen and Moana, similar to Bell’s comment that the genre has improved in the example it sets for young female viewers.