Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Snow White and the Wicked Queen: A Tale of Two Beauties
Since the fairy tale is well known, there won't be any spoilers here. The story begins with the good queen seeing rose in bloom in the middle of winter (sounds like the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe-but that's not part of the story...) and after pricking her finger on the thorns of the rose stem, the queen wishes for a daughter whose hair is black, skin white as snow and lips the color of the red rose.
In the movie, the child born to the queen is lovely indeed and the queen blesses her daughter saying, "you have a rare gift of beauty and it's in here (placing her hand upon the little girl's heart) don't ever lose it." That alone speaks much of the emanation of true beauty. As the little girl holds a wounded bird in her hand, this blessing is a sign of her future destiny to use her gift of beauty to heal and give life.
The good queen dies and the king, inconsolable, is lured into an attack by a dark army (oh the spiritual parallels of that!!) and discovers a "prisoner" of the army he defeats-- which is none other then a breathtakingly physically beautiful woman who in one day, allays the pain in the kings heart and wins his hand in marriage.
The whole thing is a set up though, by this broken and evil woman who has been wounded by her own gift of beauty and seeks revenge on men. This is very telling. The evil queen, Ravenna (played exceptionally well by the lovely Charlize Theron) has a flash back to a time of childhood where an army was invading her village and a woman put a spell upon her which would make her physical beauty powerful and would save her from the strife. However, the spell could be broken by authentic beauty.
So we see Ravenna, a powerful and beautiful woman who overthrows kingdoms and literally sucks the life out of the young and beautiful in an effort to grasp at her own survival.
Therein lies the dichotomy- Snow White has a beauty that heals and gives life. Ravenna has used her beauty to seek revenge, destroy and grasp. Ravenna has been wounded by her own beauty as we see in her resentment toward men whom she claims have used and ruined her-- so she ruins them in return.
I think this tells the tale of many women throughout generations. We as women with our gift of beauty from God- we are Our Father's daughters- haven't understood this gift. We emanate the grace of heaven and that authentic beauty comes from deep within and has the power to heal and give life, rest and refuge. When we are wounded in our beauty and femininity (sometimes this happens especially with women who also meet the "standard" of society's definition of beauty), we resent our beauty or are afraid of it or blame the sorrowful things have happened to us upon our gift of beauty.
The good news in all of this is that God is the giver of this gift and the restorer of this gift. He longs to see His daughters alive in their beauty and using their gift to help heal creation. Jesus comes to make all things new. With Him, nothing is lost and nothing a waste.
No red apple required...