The upcoming Snow White film has led to intense discussions, especially in the American media. It's about everything from gender and diversity to how much Disney should reinterpret the original saga to fit today's social climate.
"In the U.S., a lot of culture wars are about children and childhood. We see that every time Disney does literally anything," says Rebecca Rowe, a scholar of children's literature at Texas A&M University–Commerce, who specializes in Disney.
According to her, children's entertainment often leads to discussions about how we should talk about ethnicity and sexuality. Both about how we should "protect children" and how they should be educated. She is referring to Disney films, but also to the banning of books in American schools or discussions about changing Roald Dahl's books.
Criticism that Disney is too "woke"
Ahead of the new "Little Mermaid," the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel was debated.
"A lot of people were upset that a black woman was going to play Ariel, and we see similar reactions with the casting of Rachel Zegler as Snow White.
According to some, an increased diversity among the characters is positive, according to others, it changes the original too much.
Rebecca Rowe noted a similar debate in 2017 when Disney made a new "Beauty and the Beast." There, the character Lefou shows feelings for the antagonist Gaston, in a same-sex love scene.
"A lot of people thought the film was trying to be too 'woke' in making Lefou gay. Others said it didn't go far enough, that the changes felt superficial, and that Belle still gave up her life and dreams to be with the Beast.
"Childhood is under attack"
How the Snow White movie turns out remains to be seen. But Rebecca Rowe is sure that every new version Disney makes will spark debate.
"A lot of people have an emotional connection to the original. They feel like their childhood is being attacked when changes are made. This is one of the reasons why adaptations of children's media must be handled so carefully.
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What discussions are going on about Disney's new Snow White movie? Hear about the different 60-second rides in the video. Photo: Disney/AP