Going from raunchy comedies like Kick-Ass and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising to family-friendly fairytale films, Chloë Grace Moretz lends her voice to Snow White in the upcoming animated adventure Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs. But this so-called “parody” of the classic Snow White tale is drawing all kinds of negative attention over a sexist, slut-shaming, and otherwise creepy marketing campaign.
Written and directed by Sung Ho Hong, Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs re-imagines the traditional dwarfs as princes shrunk by a curse. They need the red shoes of Snow White to break it. But the true “twist” of this tale is the slim princess transforms when she removes the titular footware, becoming a heavier, curvier woman. A reveal that sends these snooping princes into gasps of horror and repulsion. You know, for kids!
Here’s the clip that’s sparking outrage. Watch it before it’s pulled.
That’s a lot to process. Let’s give it a rundown. The two tiny princes are jettisoned out of a magic mirror, spit onto the ground of Snow White’s bedroom. “I think we’re in the right place,” one remarks to the other, looking upon a portrait of a tall, thin, young woman who wears bright red high heels. Then they hear someone at the door, so they scramble to hide, tucking themselves under a table. In walks the princess, who—not knowing two minuscule creeps are about—promptly undresses, seductively unzipping her dress, because kids’ movie.
Meanwhile, the pervy princes ogle from their Peeping Tom hiding spot, because kids’ movie.
Then she takes off her shoes, revealing to the shocked would-be thieves that she’s not really skinny after all!
Then she has the absolute nerve to kick back in her underwear, guzzle a beverage and burp! Who does she think she is?! A MAN!?!?!?!
Skip past the “Trash Nuts” short in the video above, and you’ll find another Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs bit of ick (4:20). In this teaser, a short prince sneaks up on a sleeping Snow White, and tries to dislodge her red shoes using a variety of tools, including a chainsaw.
And then this happens.
It’s funny because she’s a woman! But hey, don’t be upset with Moretz. She’s already issued an apology. Over the ad campaign. Because its Cannes marketing included this blatantly fat-shaming billboard:
This Chloe Moretz cartoon also seems, uh, questionable pic.twitter.com/93ieRc9JnQ— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) May 25, 2017
“What if Snow White was no longer beautiful” it asks, declaring that fat women are not beautiful. This billboard understandably earned the ire of plus-size model Tess Holiday, who called on Moretz to comment.
And she did, but her response leaves something to be desired.
I have now fully reviewed the mkting for Red Shoes, I am just as appalled and angry as everyone else, this wasn't approved by me or my team— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) May 31, 2017
The actual story is powerful for young women and resonated with me. I am sorry for the offense that was beyond my creative control https://t.co/HZP2ydPCAX— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) May 31, 2017
Moretz says she was “appalled” by the marketing, but insists Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs is “powerful for young women.” Which is deserving of a princess eye-roll.
Look, we at Pajiba tend to argue a person should see a film before judging its merit. Context matters and all that. To that end, producer Sujin Hwang explained in a statement, “Our film, a family comedy, carries a message designed to challenge social prejudices related to standards of physical beauty in society by emphasizing the importance of inner beauty.” So, it sounds like Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs is going the Shrek route, but minus the self-awareness and attempt at wit. Still, even if we cast the fat-shaming billboard as something that got woefully lost in translation (it is a South Korean film voiced with English-speaking stars), the clips and teaser still showcase troubling signs.
The clip and the IMDB logline posit it’s the dwarfs and not Snow White who are the center of this story. So rather than its protagonist, she’s an obstacle to the mission of some little, petty men. Or as the teaser suggests, her unconscious, defenseless body is a prop on which their aggression and frustration can be acted out for laughs. And listen to the music in the clip! We’re meant to be scandalized that Snow White’s not skinny. We’re meant to laugh at her body, and at her for burping and her daring to be scantily clad, alone (as far as she knows) in her room. What kind of message does that send to kids, whatever their size? This twisted fairy tale’s first clip actively encourages audiences to view its plus-sized female lead as repulsive, laughable, and even deceptive. What context could make this message any less repellent?
Moretz was right to apologize. But it seems she has either a lot more apologizing to do, or a lot more explaining. She’s actually read the script. And—even with these ads—she’s standing by the project. So right now it’s on her to convince us there’s more to Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs than this sexist shit show suggests. Our patience is short.