|Snow White, the PC version***
by James Finn Garner
|Once there was a young princess who was not at all unpleasant to look at and had a temperament that many
found to be more pleasant than most other people's. Her nickname was Snow White, indicative of the
discriminatory notions of associating pleasant or attractive qualities with light, and unpleasant or unattractive
qualities with darkness. Thus, at an early age, Snow White was an unwitting if fortunate target for this type of
When Snow White was quite young, her mother was suddenly stricken ill, grew more advanced in nonhealth,
and finally was rendered nonviable. Her father, the king, grieved for what can be considered a healthy period of
time, then asked another woman to be his queen. Snow White did her best to please her new mother-of-step,
but a cold distance remained between them.
The queen's prized possession was a magic mirror that would answer truthfully any question asked it. Now,
years of social conditioning in a male hierarchical dictatorship had left the queen very insecure about her own
self worth. Physical beauty was the one standard she cared about now, and she defined herself solely in regard
to her personal appearance. So every morning the queen would ask her mirror:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who's the fairest one of all?"
Her mirror would answer:
"For all it's worth, O my queen,
Your beauty is the fairest to be seen."
That dialogue went on regularly until once when the queen was having a bad hair day and was desperately in need
of support, she asked the usual question and the mirror answered:
"Alas, if worth be based on beauty,
Snow White has surpassed you, cutie."
At this the queen flew into a rage. The chance to work with Snow White to form a strong bond of sisterhood had
long passed. Instead, the queen indulged in an adopted masculine power trip and ordered the royal woodsperson
to take Snow White into the forest and kill her. And, possibly to impress the males in the royal court, she
barbarously ordered that the girl's heart be cut out and brought back to her.
The woodsperson sadly agreed to these orders, and led the girl, who was now actually a young wommon, into the
middle of the forest. But his connections to the earth and seasons had made him a kind soul, and he couldn't bear
to harm the girl. He told Snow White of the oppressive and unsisterly order of the queen and told her to run as
deeply as she could into the forest.
The frightened Snow White did as she was told. The woodsperson, fearing the queen's wrath but unwilling to take
another life merely to indulge her vanity, went into town and had the candy maker concoct a heart of red marzipan.
When he presented this to the queen, she hungrily devoured the heart in a sickening display of pseudo-
Meanwhile, Snow White ran deep into the woods. Just when she thought she had fled as far as she could from
civilization and its unhealthy influences, she stumbled upon a cottage. Inside she saw seven tiny beds, set in a row
and all unmade. She also saw seven sets of dishes piled high in the sink and seven Barcaloungers in front of
seven remote-controlled TVs. She surmised that the cottage belonged to either seven little men or one sloppy
numerologist. The beds looked so inviting that the tired youngster curled up on one and immediately fell asleep.
When she awoke several hours later, she saw the faces of seven bearded, vertically challenged men
surrounding the bed. She sat up with a start and gasped. One of the men said, "You see that? Just like a
flighty woman: resting peacefully one minute, up and screaming the next."
"I agree," said another. "She'll disrupt our strong bond of brotherhood and create competition among us for
her affections. I say we throw her in the river in a sack full of rocks."
"I agree we should get rid of her," said a third, "but why degrade the ecology? Let's just feed her to a bear or
something and let her become part of the food chain."
"Sound thinking, brother."
When Snow White finally regained her senses, she begged, "Please, please don't kill me. I meant no harm by sleeping
on your bed. I thought no one would ever notice."
"Ah, you see?" said one of the mend. "Female preoccupations are already surfacing. She's complaining that we don't
make our beds."
"Kill her! Kill her!"
"Please no!" she cried. "I have traveled so deep into these woods because my mother-of-step, the queen, ordered me
"See that? Internecine female vindictiveness!"
"Don't try and play the victim with us, kid!"
"QUIET!" boomed one of the men, who had flaming red hair and a nonhuman animal skin on his head. Snow White
quickly realized that he was their leader and that her fate rested in his hands. "Explain yourself. What's your name, and
why have you really come here?"
"My name is Snow White," she began, "and I've already told you: My mother-of-step, the queen, ordered a
woodsperson to take me in the forest and kill me, but he took pity and told me to run away into the woods as far as I
"Just like a woman," grumbled one of the men under his breath. "get a man to do her dirty work."
The leader held up his hands for silence. He said, "Well, Snow White, if that's your story, I guess we'll have to believe
Snow White was beginning to resent her treatment but tried not to let it show. "And who
are you guys anyway?"
"We are known as the Seven Towering Giants," said the leader. Snow White's
suppression of a giggle did not go unnoticed. The leader continued, "We are towering
in spirit and so are giants among the men of the forest. We used to earn our living by
digging in our mines, but we decided that such a rape of the planet was immoral and
short-sighted (besides, the bottom fell out of the metals market). So now we are
dedicated stewards of the earth and live here in harmony with nature. To make ends
meet, we also conduct retreats for men who need to get in touch with their primitive
"So what does that involve," asked Snow White, "aside from drinking milk straight from
"Your sarcasm is ill-advised," warned the leader of the Seven Towering Giants. "My
fellow giants want to get rid of your corrupting feminine presence, and I might not be
able to stop them, understand? My men, we must speak our hearts openly and honestly. Let us adjourn to the sweat lodge!"
The seven little men scampered out the front door, whooping and stripping off their clothes. Snow White didn't know what to do
while waiting. For fear of stepping on anything that might be scurrying about amid the debris on the floor, she stayed on the bed,
although she did manage to make it without ever stepping off.
Snow White heard drumming and shouts, and, soon after, the Seven Towering Giants came back into the cottage. They didn't
smell as bad as she thought they would, and thankfully they all wore loincloths.
"Agggh! Look what she's done to my bed! I want her out of here! I want to change my vote!"
"Calm down, brother," said the leader. "Don't you see? This is just what we were talking about: contrasts. We can better measure
our progress as true men if there is a female around for comparison."
The men grumbled among themselves about the wisdom of this decision. But Snow White had had enough. "I resent being kept
around like an object, just a yardstick for your egos and penises!"
"Fair enough," the leader said. "You're free to make your way back through the woods. Give our regards to the queen."
"Well, I guess I can stay until I figure out a new plan," she said.
"Very well," said the leader, "but we have a few ground rules. No dusting. No straightening up. And no rinsing out
underwear in the sink."
"And no peeking in the sweat lodge."
"And stay away from our drums."
Meanwhile, back at the castle, the queen rejoiced at the thought that her rival in beauty had been eliminated. She
puttered around her boudoir reading Glamour and Elle, and indulged herself with three whole pieces of chocolate
without purging. Later, she confidently strolled up to her magic mirror and asked her same, sad question:
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
"Who's the fairest one of all?"
The mirror replied,
"Your weight is perfect for your shape and height,
But for sheer OOOOMPH!, you can't beat Snow White."
At this news the queen clenched her fists and screamed at the top of her lungs. For years, her insecurities had been
eating away at her until now they turned her into someone who was morally out of the mainstream. With
cunning and malice, she began to devise a plan to ensure the nonviability of her daughter-of-step.
A few days later, Snow White, to be sure she didn't touch or rearrange anything, was meditating on the floor in
the middle of the cottage. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Snow White opened the door to find a
chronologically gifted woman with a basket in her hand. By the look of her clothes, she was apparently
unfettered by the confines of regular employment.
"Help a woman of unreliable income, dearie," she said, "and buy one of my apples."
Snow White thought for a moment. In protest against agribusiness conglomerates, she had a personal rule
against buying food from middlepersons. But her heart went out to the economically marginalized woman so
she said yes. What Snow White didn't know was that this was really the queen in disguise and that the apple
had been chemically and genetically altered so that whoever bit it would fall asleep forever.
When Snow White handed over the money for the apple, you would have expected the queen to be gleeful that
her plan for revenge was working. Instead, as she looked at Snow White's fine complexion and slim, taut body,
she felt alternating waves of envy and self-revulsion. Finally she burst into tears.
"Why, whatever is the matter?" asked Snow White.
"You're so young and beautiful," sobbed the disguised queen, "and I'm horrible to look at and getting worse."
"You shouldn't say that. After all, beauty comes from inside a person."
"I've been telling myself that for years," said the queen, "and I still don't believe it. How do you stay in such
"Well, I meditate, work out in step aerobics three hours a day, and eat only half-portions of anything placed in
front of me. Would you like me to show you?"
"Oh, yes, yes, please," said the queen. So they started out with 30 minutes of simple hatha yoga meditation,
then worked out on the step for another hour. As they relaxed afterward, Snow White cut her apple in half and
gave a piece to the queen. Without thinking, the queen bit into it, and both of them fell into a deep sleep.
Later that day, the Seven Towering Giants returned from a retreat in the woods, elaborately decked out in animal skins, feathers, and
mud. With them was a prince from a nearby kingdom, who had come on this male retreat to find a cure for his impotence (or, as he
preferred to call it, his involuntary suspension from phallocentric activity.) They were all laughing and high-fiving until they saw the
bodies and stopped short.
"What has happened?" asked the prince.
"Apparently our house guest and this other woman got into some sort of catfight and killed each other," surmised one giant.
"If they thought that by doing this, they could make us slaves to our weaker emotions, they're wrong," fumed another.
"Well, as long as we have to dispose of them, let's practice one of those Viking funerals we've read about."
"You know," said the prince, "this might sound a little sick, but I trust you guys. I find that younger one attractive. Extremely attractive.
Would you fellows mind ... um ... waiting outside while I ...?"
"Stop right there!" said the leader of the giants. "Those half-eaten apple pieces, that filthy costume -- this has all the earmarks of
some sort of magic spell! They're not really dead at all."
"Whew," sighed the prince, "that makes me feel better. So, could you guys take five and let me ...?"
"Hold it, Prince," said the leader. "Does Snow White make you feel like a man again?"
"She certainly does. Now, could you guys ... ?"
"Don't touch her! You'll break the spell." The leader thought for a minute and said, "My brothers, I see certain economic possibilities
arising from this. If we kept Snow White around here in this state, we could advertise our retreats as impotency therapy."
The giants nodded in agreement with this idea, but the prince interrupted. "But what about me? I've already paid for my retreat.
Why don't I get to, um, take the cure?"
"No dice. Prince," said the leader. "You can look but don't touch. Otherwise you'll break the spell. Tell you what, though. You can
have the other one if you want."
"I don't want to sound classist," said the prince, but she's really not high enough caliber for me."
"That's pretty big talk from a man shooting blanks," said one of the giants, and everybody but the prince laughed.
The leader said, "Come on, brothers, let's life these two off the floor and decide how we can best display them." It took three giants
for each female, but they managed to get both bodies aloft. As soon as they did, however, the pieces of poisoned apple fell from
the mouths of Snow White and the queen, and they awoke from the spell.
"What do you think you're doing? Put us down!" they shouted. The giants were so startled they almost dropped the womyn to the floor.
"That was the most sickening thing I have ever heard!" shouted the queen. "Offering us around like pieces of property!"
"And you," said Snow White to the prince, "trying to make it with a girl in a coma! Yuck!"
"Hey don't blame me," said the prince. "It's a medical condition."
The leader of the giants said, "Don't start tossing blame around. You both broke into our property in the first place. I can call the police!"
"Don't try it, Napoleon," said the queen. "This forest is property of the crown. You are the ones who are trespassing!"
This rejoinder caused quite a stir, but not as big a commotion as when the queen warned: "And another thing. While we were immobile and you all blathered on in your sexist
way, I had a personal awakening. From now on, I am going to dedicate my life to healing the rift between womyn's souls and their bodies. I am going to teach womyn to accept
their natural body images and become whole again. Snow White and I are going to build a womyn's spa and conference center on this very spot, where we can hold retreats,
caucuses, and ovariums for the sisters of the world."
There was much shouting and name-calling, but the queen eventually had her way. Before the Seven Towering Giants could be evicted from their home, though, they packed
up their sweat lodge and moved deeper into the woods. The prince stayed on at the spa as a cute but harmless tennis pro. And Snow White and the queen became good
friends and earned worldwide fame for their contributions to sisterhood. The giants were never heard from again, save for little muddy footprints that were sometimes found in
the morning outside the windows of the spa's locker room.
|***Material (text) copyright
James Finn Garner. All