Charlize is as versatile an actress as ever. But somehow here her aura has mellowed – was having a child why – since her sultrier looks in Aeon Flux. Kristine is in her element in her portrayal of angst, contained fear, and leadership of the modern Snow White.
You can actually have many angles to a story although the time in which these are presented matter. I don’t think this new persona of Snow While would’ve clicked in, say, my grandparents’ time. But I think whatever the period, there are some basic things in the story worth expounding:
1. Beauty is an obsession which will not get outdated, varying in degree, woman to woman or transgender female to transgender female. In fact, some men now have caught the fever. The EDSA posters of Ai-Ai and Jinky are stunning evidence of what technology can achieve on women. On the plus side of this, poorer women are given a boost knowing that they can look like them given the money; that ugly in the face of Belo and Calayan is becoming something like the Beetle – it’s being phased out. Meanwhile, stores are filled with a vast array of beautifying products within reach of the common female’s budget: whitening for every body part ingested or topical, enhancers of every kind and for every body part, clothing “flattering” for every body shape and size, everything. You can get exhilarated and dizzy from it all and once I stopped in the middle of a vast store and realized my goodness what’s all these stuff for? I look at the cashiers – all females by the way – with their face color and enhancement and I think do they really need this done to them? Can’t being fresh faced, neat, pleasant and efficient the marks of beautiful (instead of being dolled up on the face yet unpleasant and inefficient) in their line of work? What’s cashiering got to do with full make up? But beauty especially when you have it naturally and don’t flaunt it like Snow White can also be a target which brings me to my second point.
2. Queen bees in the human colony exist. I remember a colleague emailing the rest in the technical team about sharing our views on gender equality – it was her expertise and position – to stimulate open discussion of the subject (which would also help her gauge the emotional level of people in the office regarding it). Gender equality is not really the most popular topic in the workplace. It sets off age-old unpleasant sparks between men and women which in the workplace both would rather not talk about. But since I’m a stickler for what’s fair I started the discussion (which wasn’t actually reacted to by the others except me gaining instant friendship points from men colleagues which wasn’t the intention). My argument was that the notion of men as the perpetrators of gender inequality is not all of the picture because women are too. The sisterhood, I wrote, is not that air tight as was being presented. There are bitches and there are bitches. And they’re all found within the sisterhood. I concluded that if sisters were to lay down their competitive spirit against the other and truly unite, gender inequality for women should’ve been long eliminated. I mean, women are a demographic force already, they outnumber the men by a considerable margin. But we’ve not banded as tightly to fight for our issues. In fact, we’ve fought each other on common issues (which is why within the feminist movement, there are several factions). So within ourselves – women – the case for equality is lost. The flip side of women’s nurturing side was allowed to roam openly and gobble up its own kind. So yes queen bees.
3. There’s always someone willing to be at the beck and call of queen bees – the drones (female or male). The evilness of Snow White stepmother doesn’t get to them. Nor what they are asked to do affect them. Not that they are without feelings because their state of mind and emotion is as skewed as their queen. They have their own reason and agenda for why they continue on with the relationship and that is what drives them to serve her.
Or, you can view the evil stepmother and Snow White as the two sides of the same person and what transpires between the two is the internal struggle between bitchiness and goodness.