Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sonne and Snow White


     Let me say first that this song "Sonne" by Rammstein . . . completely different from what I expected.  First off, I didn't know what "Sonne" meant in English (I now know that it means "Sun").  Also, seeing Snow White and the dwarfs like that . . . well let's just say it was different from the Disney version *blushes*

    However, there were some similarities between the video and the Grimms' version of the story and the Disney version that I would like to point out.   One was the story in the video involved the primary characters in the traditional Snow White fairy tale:  The dwarfs and Snow White.  Also, like in the Grimm story and in the Disney version, the dwarfs were miners in the video.  The Snow White in the music video even wears the Disney Snow White costume so you can tell right away that it is Snow White.  She also goes into a "sleeping death" like in the stories we have read and the dwarfs build her a glass coffin and put it on top of a mountain and lay vigil to it.  Also, she wakes up like in the original versions, but not because of a kiss, but of an apple falling onto her coffin and shattering it.  The apple is also used as a motif in the video just as it is used in the Disney version and the Grimm Brothers' version.

     To me though, there were more differences than similarities in the video when one compares it to Disney and Grimm.  One was the way in which Snow White was portrayed.  In both the Disney and Grimms' versions of the story, Snow White is said to be a lovely, kind girl who is loved by everyone (expect her jealous stepmother of course) and when she meets the dwarfs, she treats them with respect and plays the role of mother for them.  She cooks and cleans and sews in order to stay with them.  In the video, Snow White is . . . well to put it frankly . . . a BITCH.  When she enters the house in the beginning of the video we get the feeling that she is a very commanding and active figure, different from the other versions of her we have seen.  The dwarfs actually serve her, mining diamonds for her.  When one of the dwarfs shows her the day's haul, instead of taking it and being kind and grateful like we would normally expect her to be, she instead punches that dwarf in the face, causing him to land on the table.  She then spanks one of the dwarfs as the others wait in line for their spanking.  Very different from the kisses she gives the dwarfs in the movie.  She is shown to be a sexual figure and very dominant.  Also, the dwarfs comb her hair for her and polish her apples while she looks on commandingly.  When the dwarfs embrace her, they look like servants embracing her out of fear rather than out of love.  She looks down at them like dirt and smiles wickedly as she caresses their heads with no love behind the touches.  She reminds one of the wicked queen, who surprisingly, is not featured at all in the video.  Also, she doesn't seem to play the traditional woman's role at all in the video.  In fact, I do not see one scene where she is cooking and cleaning for them.  In the video, she is in charge and woe to the dwarf or dwarves who anger her.

     Also, the dwarfs don't seem to like to mine for jewels in the music video as they do in the Disney version.  In the Disney version, they seem to like being underground and looking for gems (they even sing a merry song about how they love to dig, dig, dig).  They don't have soot covering them and they aren't sweating or at all looking uncomfortable.  All in all, an unrealistic portrayal of mining.  However, in the music video, there is a more realistic portrayal of mining.  The dwarfs are sweaty and tired and have soot on their bodies and faces.  They look unhappy and are using more advanced machines than pickaxes.  One gets the feeling that they would rather be doing anything than mining.  Also, the gems they find aren't as big or shiny as in the Disney film.

     Another difference is the fact that this video shows Snow White as a drug user.  When she sits down to dinner with the dwarfs, we see her snort up some gold-colored dust (probably meant to symbolize cocaine) and react to it like a drug addict would.  Snow White is not at all portrayed as a drug user in any of the stories we have read or seen.  In fact, drugs are not at all mentioned in the story.  Also, it is because of drugs that she dies.  She is laying naked in a soapy bath outside the dwarfs' house dead and when the dwarfs investigate, one of them finds an injection needle on a plate with some residue of dust (drugs) which implies that she died in the tub while taking an overdose of drugs.  In the stories, she "dies" because of a poison apple that the queen, who is disguised as a peasant woman, gives to her.  In the video she seems to die by her own hand while in the stories, she dies as the result of others (meaning she dies because of the apple from the queen who made the apple poisonious).

     Also, one notices that in the music video, there is no prince to save her from her "sleeping death" like in the traditional fairy tale.  In fact, as mentioned before, she wakes up because an apple falls onto her coffin, shattering it and exposing her body to the cold air.  She wakes up shocked to find herself wrapped up in silks and in a coffin while the dwarfs look at her, shocked that she is awake but making no attempt to embrace her like in the original stories.  Also, there is no implied happily ever after for one can assume that the pattern that is shown in the video will continue (meaning the dwarfs will keep mining diamonds for her and she will treat them cruelly).  This music video is very depressing and offers no sense of hope or redemption.  It portrays Snow White as the head of the household (a position not generally given to women in the original stories) and as a very sexual and treacherous creature (which is shown by her scanty costume and the way she treats the dwarfs).  In fact, one could say that this Snow White is the wicked queen.  It's as if it is the queen's personality in Snow White's body.

     Speaking of the queen, as mentioned before, she is not at all shown in the music video.  She isn't there to contrast the loveliness and purity of Snow White as she does in the Disney and Grimms' versions.  The main and only woman in the music video is Snow White.  Period.  She isn't at all like traditional stories portray her to be. 

     When comparing the music video to the stories, I find that surprisingly I kind of like the Grimms' version and the Disney version better.  This is because in those versions she is portrayed as very sweet and kind.  She is willing to serve others and is generous.  However, I don't like the fact that she is portrayed as a passive figure in those stories.  I find it anti-feminist.  When considering which I liked better though, I found myself in a conflict for on the one hand, I like how in the music video she was active and her own boss, but on the other hand, I hated how she treated the dwarfs like slaves and cared only for herself.  Similarly, in the traditional stories of Snow White, I liked how on the one hand, she was kind and thoughful, but on the other hand, I hated how passive and conforming she was to being a traditional woman.  So, I think I don't like either the stories or the music video because the stories portray Snow White as sweet but passive and the music video portrays Snow White as active, but a bitch.  I find that I could only like her if she was portrayed as sweet and active at the same time. 


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