Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week 6: Snow White

"Sonne" by the German band Rammstein certainly provides a brand new and unconventional perspective on the traditional “Snow White” fairy tales. The music video opens with men working in a mine. In the traditional Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, it is dwarves who work in the mine- not men. This is already a significant difference in the tale as men pose more of a sexual threat or presence to the story. Although men are used instead of dwarves in the music video, Snow White is still depicted as being much larger than they are, which is similar to the book. But in the video, she appears to be a giant in comparison to the men. Another very large difference between the music video and the traditional tale is Snow White’s rated-R behavior. In the Brothers Grimm version, Snow White is a very demure and naïve female character who is easily tricked and volunteers to do household chores- the epitome of a female stereotype or representation of stereotypical feminine gender roles. However, in the music video by Rammstein, Snow White is very naughty. She is depicted with overt sexuality as she wears a cleavage-bearing dress, sexy high stockings, and spanks the dwarves. Also, in Rammstein’s version, the men appear to sexually worship her as they excitedly wait in line to be spanked and present offerings of gold to her, which is much different than the platonic admiration the dwarves in the traditional tale show for Snow White. In addition to her sexuality, Rammstein’s Snow White has a nasty drug habit. She snorts and shoots the gold that the men bring her, and eventually overdoses on it and it puts her into a long slumber. In the traditional Snow White, this is done by eating a poisoned apple.

In both versions, however, there are some similarities. In both versions, the men and dwarves are depicted as working in the mines. Additionally, the color scheme of Snow White is the same in both versions- Snow White is white as snow, black as ebony, and red as blood. Furthermore, in both versions, Snow White goes into a deep sleep and is then placed into a glass coffin high atop a mountain by the men and dwarves. However, in the traditional tale Snow White is awoken by a prince, and in Rammstein’s version she is awoken by an apple falling onto and shattering her glass coffin- an ironic twist on the traditional tale, where the apple is the object that puts her to sleep. A final and huge difference in the two tales is that in Rammstein’s version, there is no evil queen who is trying to kill Snow White due to her jealous rage.

Personally, I like the traditional version of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm better than Rammstein’s version. Maybe this is because it is the version I heard as I was growing up, and I have already developed a fondness and appreciation for it. I also like the fact that the Brothers Grimm version is more innocent and suited for children (even with the presence of the evil queen) in comparison to Rammstein’s version which is overtly and intentionally infused with adult content. Although I like the Brothers Grimm version better, I still greatly appreciate the creativity and new perspective shown in the music video “Sonne” by Rammstein.  

The Classic Fairy Tales edited by Maria Tatar: New York & London, 1999
Rammstein. (2001). Sonne [Web]. Retrieved from
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