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CHICAGO (WBBM) – As two box office movies tell an age-old story of Snow White — the fairy-tale character gets a new attitude — one that could send different messages to little girls.
In “Snow White and the Huntsman” opening this weekend, the title character herself wields a sword and trains in the art of war. She is no longer the damsel in distress waiting for a prince.
“There’s really been a change over time regarding how girls are expected to act, and what they’re expected to achieve,” said Rush University Medical Center Psychologist Dr. Hollie Sobel.
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She says while young women are portrayed as stronger and more independent, like in this spring’s other Snow White tale, “Mirror Mirror”, or the upcoming Pixar movie “Brave”, there is a line between independence and violence.
“While the damsel in distress is outdated, taking it too far to the other extreme is also a problems,” said Dr. Sobel. “So what we really want to teach girls is effective coping, not being too passive or aggressive, but rather, assertive to get your needs met.”
Dr. Sobel says parents should discuss being assertive with their daughters, without resorting to aggression when standing up for themselves.
Additionally, she says the modern characters are a reflection of reality.
“Michelle Obama has supported a press toward girls being more active in math and science industries, which have been male-dominated,” she said.